July 20, 2004
  • Playa Grande sold to Kohler?
  • Cultural landmark for Puerto Plata
  • JetBlue announces reduced fares to DR
  • New hotel in Bavaro and the Hotel Hispaniola
  • Five Dominicans nominated to Latin Grammy Awards
Playa Grande sold to Kohler?
The Central Bank is reporting the sale of the Playa Grande touristic complex to Playa Grande Holding for US$43 million. No details were given as to who the principals of Playa Grande Holding are, however. In April of this year, the Central Bank had stated it had sold Playa Grande to the Kohler Co. for US$43 million, but company CEO Herbert Kohler said that announcement was premature. Playa Grande is located on the North Coast, approximately an hour’s drive from the Puerto Plata International Airport. See http://www.bancentral.gov.do/playagrande-e.html
Previously, the Central Bank sought to obtain US$85 million for Playa Grande, a price which included the masterpiece and last golf course built by Robert Trent Jones. Playa Grande has been up for sale for the past seven years.
For Playa Grande, and the area of Cabrera, also on the North Coast, it brings to market a major US luxury golf project developer. As reported, the deal is advantageous for the purchaser. It calls for US$10-million cash payment at the time of signing the contract, US$10 million once the original titles are delivered without any pending debts, and US$4 million upon the delivery of the permits to build. The remaining US$19 million will be financed for seven years, including a two-year grace period, when only interest payments will be made, and five years to pay the capital and interest. The contract establishes that the Central Bank could provide the financing, if the permits to begin construction do not arrive in the timeframe established in the terms of the deal.
As reported in the Listin Diario, Playa Grande Holding and its associates are proposing the development of a five-star hotel and residential community, as well as a second 18-hole golf course and a refurbishment of the 18-hole course that is already there.
Cultural landmark for Puerto Plata
The Ministry of Culture is now in charge of La Chocolatera, the early 20th century chocolate factory of Puerto Plata. The large structure of the former factory is slated to become a cultural center for the city. The regional director of the Ministry of Culture in Puerto Plata, Oscar Hungria, said the decision was based on the declarations included in Decree 373-01 that declares Puerto Plata a cultural touristic destination. Decree 374-01, also issued on 19 March 2001 on occasion of the celebration of a government council in Puerto Plata, orders that the Chocolatera be made part of the Ministry of Culture for the installation of a Centro Cultural del Atlantico. The visual artists of Puerto Plata have already held events within the abandoned factory plant. Hungria, in an interview for El Caribe, said the dream is that the Chocolatera become for Puerto Plata what the Guggenheim Museum has become for the city of Bilbao, Spain.
JetBlue announces reduced fares to DR
JetBlue Airways has just announced a fare sale on tickets to Santo Domingo. The airline is offering Caribbean service from New York starting at just US$69 for a one-way ticket, from JFK to Santiago and Santo Domingo. Fares from the DR start at US$78, with the inclusion of the value-added tax. With all taxes and charges, the fares add up to US$260. The restrictions require a 14-day advance purchase made through http://www.jetblue.com
For more information, see:
New hotel in Bavaro and the Hotel Hispaniola
Bowing to the pressure being exerted in the Dominican Republic and in Spain by Greenpeace Spain, Spanish businessman Juan Jose Hidalgo announced he would desist from his plan to build a resort on National Park of the East property. Hidalgo had sought to develop his hotel after receiving an authorization to do so by President Hipolito Mejia. The concession, however, was in violation of the law and met with vociferous opposition from local environmental, touristic and civic groups that enlisted the support of foreign embassies and international environment organizations. President Mejia modified the bill to make it more palatable to the opposing factions, but Congress approved the bill with so many errors contained in its text that President Mejia had to revise it anew and return it to Congress where it is now pending approval and continues to meet with strong local and international resistance.
Hidalgo announced he would instead build a complex in Bavaro on the East Coast.
He confirmed his acquisition of the Hotel Hispaniola, which had previously been purchased by Public Works Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado.
Hidalgo is also the chief executive of Air Europa, which benefited travelers in the DR by offering discounted fares on travel to Spain.
These would be Hidalgo’s first venture into the hotel industry.
Five Dominicans nominated to Latin Grammy Awards
The 5th Annual Latin Grammy Awards will include nominations for five Dominican artists. The awards recognize the best of those recordings released from 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004. Those Dominican artists in the Latin Grammy running are: Johnny Ventura (Best Merengue Album: “Sin Desperdicio”), Alex Bueno (Best Merengue Album: “20 Anos Despues”), Frank Reyes (Best Contemporary Tropical Album: “Cuando Se Quiere Se Puede”), Andy Andy (Best Contemporary Tropical Album: “Necesito un Amor”) and Mickey Taveras (Best Contemporary Tropical Album: “Sigo Siendo Romantico”). George Lopez was chosen to MC the event that will take place on 1 September at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, and will be broadcast by CBS television from 8-10 pm.

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