F&R Management Services LLC has been working in Puerto Rico’s construction industry since 2015. The company presents and negotiates construction management contracts, oversees design reviews, coordinates construction drawing, acquires permits, conducts project feasibility analysis, administrates development and sales for group-owned projects, as well as provides construction supervision. The company’s development manager, Vanessa de Mari, AIA, MCM, said: “We work on construction project management, which mostly involves investors from the United States who have come to Puerto Rico to develop residential and hotel projects.
We are the liaison among the contractor, architect and owner. We are the ingredient that unites the puzzle to be able to develop the project.” Although the company was recently founded, de Mari has been working in the construction industry for 22 years, while others in the company have been in the market for nearly 30 years. “When investors came to Puerto Rico from other places after the approval of Acts 20 and 22, we realized it was necessary to provide those services because the development of construction projects in Puerto Rico is very different than in the United States,” de Mari noted.
“When I started in the industry, it was completely different from what we had just before Hurricane Maria struck. When we started our development, there was a dramatic boom, but then the economy deteriorated until the catastrophe hit the island,” the executive narrated. “María’s catastrophe is seen as an opportunity to manage well the federal funds that are supposed to arrive and could work as a startup for Puerto Rico’s economic development.
We have a lot of work in the pre-development phase, people preparing for when those funds are available to start building,” de Mari stressed. “We see that the system is a bit slow; that worries us a bit, but we understand that if the government manages it well and effectively distributes it, we can end up with a better Puerto Rico than we had long before Hurricane Maria,” she added. According to de Mari, changes in the industry are based on all the efforts that come from outside and locally to develop projects that are much more resilient. “We would like to see more formal construction and eliminate the informal types that were uncovered when the hurricanes struck—all the informal construction that exists on the island—which were damages that resulted from a lack of construction under code.
Meanwhile, it has been observed that the projects that were formally developed under the building codes survived and almost no damage occurred.” Among the projects F&R has worked on are ESJ Hotel in Carolina’s Isla Verde community, Renaissance Square, on the former grounds of Las Gladiolas public housing site in San Juan’s Hato Rey district, as well as Bayshore Villas in Old San Juan’s Puerta de Tierra community. F&R Management Services is also working on the new Puerto Rico Film Studio—with mitigation of old structures for asbestos, lead removal and demolition—which will be constructed behind the Convention Center in San Juan’s Isla Grande community.
Source: Caribbean Business – Thursday, February 28, 2019 (p.25)