Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused multimillion-dollar losses in the entertainment sector and canceled events, concert, activity and theater venues in Puerto Rico have begun to fill the agenda and plan positive outlook for its operations next year.
Since Governor Wanda Vázquez issued the first executive order in mid-March to combat the spread of the virus, activities have been banned at the Puerto Rico Convention Center (CC) in Miramar, the Fine Arts Center in Santurce and the José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum. (Choliseo) in Hato Rey. Additionally, the T-Mobile District has been postponed.
After seven months of inactivity, the government has granted these places a conditional exemption which allows the gradual opening of facilities and face-to-face activities at 25% of their capacity.
Noelia García, director of the Convention District Authority – which includes CC, Choliseo, Casino Antiguo, Bahía Urbana and T-Mobile District – told THE WEEKLY JOURNAL there has been movement in the so-called Golden Triangle and that she is confident that from 2021 they will start to see a recovery.
“Puerto Rico has done very well in the first four months of the pandemic. The early closure has helped us project ourselves as an effective destination internationally. This has stuck in the minds of our customers and there has a lot of interest from the international market for our Cancellations were worth millions, but they will be redistributed for the next calendar year, “said García.
Although the waiver allows them to start operating the facilities by the end of October, García stressed that shows or massive activities are not on the agenda until next year.
“We understand that it is neither profitable nor profitable to produce an event at 25% capacity. We expect that from January next year our outlook will be more accurate,” she said. declared.
The manager explained that for the rest of the year, they will be hosting business meetings, trainings and trade shows for business owners and retailers. “The maintenance of these facilities is very expensive, with very high fixed costs. They are profitable when activated to operate at 100% capacity. We want to first boost safety and confidence before reactivating them completely,” she added.
García added that the implementation of a second opening phase for face-to-face events would take place in 2021, but it will be conditional on the trend of COVID-19 infection. On that date, if approved, they will be able to operate with a capacity reduced to 50%.
T-Mobile District will open
Federico Stubbe, Jr., president of PRISA Group—developers of the T-Mobile District—told your correspondent that the most modern entertainment venue in the Caribbean could open its doors by the end of this year. It was originally scheduled to open last March.
The T-Mobile district was built for $175 million and will feature multiple amenities, including a 177-room Aloft hotel, eight VIP Caribbean Cinemas with a seating capacity of 850, the Coca-Cola Music Hall with a capacity of 4,000 seats. capacity, an urban zipline, TV studios, restaurants and nightclubs, among others
“The Music Hall and Cinema will not open until the rest of the year, but we plan to open the other components by the end of the year. This is an important project for Puerto Rico and we want optimize its release. We want this to symbolize our economic recovery and we need to make sure that when it is done, the message will spread in international markets,” Stubbe said.
The main highlight of the venue will be the central plaza, which will feature a horizontal 4k monitor – the largest in the hemisphere – and advanced lighting, technology and security.
The ABC’s agenda is packed
Meanwhile, Jetppeht Pérez de Corcho, general manager of CBA, explained that they are already planning several musical events and ballet performances for December and that they are in talks with several event producers who could strengthen their Christmas offer. .
“We have millions of dollars in losses. It started with the earthquakes, then with the pandemic. From January to June, we lost over $2 million, and that’s not counting the second quarter losses. “In these times, we live, operate with limits is better than nothing. We need the wheel to start turning,” he asserted.
Opportunities amid crises
According to García, “crises, although unfortunate, present a series of opportunities that must be seized”. In the case of the Convention District, the closure of the facility allowed the Authority to make capital improvements for $20 million.
“During this time with the pandemic, with our doors closed, we have been able to complete the projects we have been working on for four years. When the pandemic ends and we are allowed to open, we will have a renovated product to offer our customers” , the official said.
When it reopens, the Choliseo will have renovated bar areas, new spaces to strengthen the food and beverage segment and a new technological infrastructure that will allow visitors to place their orders from their seats. During this time, the CC will finish renovating its rooms with a tech vision.