Caribbean Capital Markets Outlook 2024

Caribbean Capital

Caribbean Capital Markets 2024 

By Adam Greenfader, Chair of AG&T and Amanda Staerker, Luxury Development Specialist. 

AG&T recently brought together a group of leading capital experts to discuss the Caribbean capital markets outlook for 2024. The conversation was a closed door session with the names of the participants withheld in order to insure confidentiality. Some of the companies in attendance include CBRE Capital Markets Group, Sion Capital, Greystone, Glide Capital, Regions Bank , Crowdstreet, Citigroup, Ocean Bank, GG Capital Group, Driftwood Capital, Harbour Capital Partners, EnCapital, Ranger Alternative Management, Optimum Bank, and Mullen Capital. 

The U.S. Federal Reserve in 2023 embarked on one of the most aggressive tightening of monetary policies in recent history. The goal was to curtail aggregate demand. The policy was highly successful as growth slowed more than half from 4.9% in Q3 to 2.1% in Q4. While this deceleration in growth should dampen inflation, the consensus about the effects of the tight U.S. monetary policy on the Caribbean in 2024 was mixed.

The good news is that new construction deals are still getting done in the Caribbean. The bad news, is that the cost of capital is going-up. During the conversation, several recent term sheets were discussed, with the group agreeing that a typical hotel construction loan in 2024 might have an 11.5% interest rate with a 55% loan to cost. 

As rates are going up, Caribbean financial institutions also seem to be seeking stronger sponsors and guarantees. The group felt that working with known sponsors was a top priority. In other words, developers that have experience in the Caribbean region with the specific product type. More importantly, there was ample talk about creating multiple layers of capital protection. This includes full recourse loans (i.e., personal guarantees) as well robust completion guarantees and bonds. One participant was quoted as saying, “we are looking for every single type of guarantee possible today.”

Lenders seem to only want to underwrite the original cash basis of the land today and not give the sponsor any credit for the increased value.

On the hospitality side, one participant mentioned that they like to see condo-hotel projects because pre-sales can mitigate risk. In addition to demonstrating market acceptance, condo-hotel presales reduce the overall total capital requirements. The discussed presale requirements varied from 35%-65% of the total project.

As lenders seek to mitigate risk, Caribbean capital sources are taking smaller bites of the proverbial capital stack. On the debt side, hotel deals are getting done by bifurcating or dividing the loan into parts. It is common in today’s market for banks to be syndicating their loans or splitting them up with other financial institutions. One of the participants mentioned that they recently closed a 200-million dollar hospitality construction loan by dividing the loan into two parts: capital for the hotel and a separate debt instrument for the condo-hotel uses.

While there is a general slowdown of construction lending in general, mission driven developments still are attractive. Mission driven developments can be defined as projects or locations that have unique stories to tell. Below are the four of the top mission driven locations: 

1. Mexico, the group discussed how “Near-Shoring” is driving massive investment in industrial facilities from international companies such as Tesla that want to be closer to the U.S. This includes significant involvement from the Chinese. One of the participants stated, “there is 10x the amount of capital for every opportunity in Northern Mexico today”.

2. Guayana, mentioned as “the fastest growing economy in whole word”, the rush to build hospitality is palpable. Lack of supply is so limited in the capital of Georgetown for example, that older assets like the Marriott is getting ADRs upwards of $450 per night. There was caution, however, if with new supply that rates would hold into the future.

3. Costa Rica continues to provide amazing lifestyle offerings with its “blue economy” however while there is much interest to finance projects in this location, identifying truly “shovel ready projects” seemed to be a top of mind concern for some of the participants.

4. Puerto Rico was highlighted by many as being the “safest and most lucrative hospitality market in the Caribbean today.” There was a general agreement that the U.S. island of Puerto Rico currently has very low supply of inventory (tourism GDP is at 6.75%) as well some very lucrative tax incentives under act 74. “In Puerto Rico, you get a 40% tax credit that you can sell, there is no other place in the Caribbean that gives you that kind of IRR boost”, quoted a major hotel investor.

During normal times, the Caribbean region is generally a challenge. The region is highly regulated and has a low risk tolerance from traditional lending. Today, the fear caused by the 2023 bank failures and new capital regulations under the Basel III agreements, should force traditional banks to hold more cash reserves. It was suggested that there is approximately 1 trillion dollars of U.S. commercial paper that will be coming due in the next 12-24 months. There was concern from the group that if interest rates remain at current levels, many borrowers will have to make-up their interest reserves with new equity. One banker in the group, who recently underwrote their entire portfolio stated, “I am not sure how many projects will be able to come to the table with more money.” There is hope, however, for the Fed’s recent announcement of three rates cuts in 2024. 

So, while many financial institutions have put their pencils down, other groups are proceeding cautiously today in the Caribbean. There is a consensus that there will be new opportunities in the future for private capital, family offices, private debt funds, and fintech to fill the 2024 Caribbean capital stack.

AG&T is a real estate development and consulting company based in Miami, Florida with a track record that spans over 52 real estate projects in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Central America, and the United States. Core services include Hospitality Development, Investment Sales, Strategic Planning, and Capital Advisory (Equity | Debt).

Real Estate Podcast

Sint Maarten Navigates Past The Storms


Navigating Past the Storms: Sint Maarten Resilience Amidst Hurricanes and the Covid-19 Crisis


The Hurricanes of 2017

In September of 2017, Sint Maarten was slammed with a category five (5) hurricane. The hurricanes caused billions of dollars’ worth of property damage and lost-lives. The Hurricane had a devastating impact on Sint Maarten’s economy.  By 2018, tourism plummeted to -56% from the previous year.  According to The United Nations (UN), the estimated damage was $10 Billion.  It took more than two-years of rebuilding and recovery efforts for Sint Maarten’s economy to start-up again.

The COVID19 Pandemic

Just about the time,  Sint Maarten was starting to recover from the hurricanes The COVID19 Pandemic brought an almost 100% shut down to Sint Maarten’s economy. According to the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, an estimated 75% of hotels were forced to close in the wake of the crisis, leading to an immense loss of revenue. The economy contracted by an estimated -17.9% in 2020, with major impacts on fiscal revenues. There also was a significant increase in the cost of living due to the rise in prices for food, housing, energy, and healthcare. This abrupt halt in tourism activities left many businesses, including restaurants, tour operators, and local artisans, struggling to survive.

Unemployment and Migration:

With the closure of hotels and the cessation of cruise ship operations, the repercussions reverberated throughout the labor market. The lack of employment opportunities compelled thousands of individuals to leave the islands in search of alternative means to support themselves and their families.

Government Response and Support:

The Sint Maarten Government swiftly recognized the urgency of the situation and implemented various measures to mitigate the economic impact. Stimulus packages were rolled out to provide financial relief to affected individuals and businesses. These packages included wage subsidy programs, grants, and low-interest loans aimed at preventing further job losses and stimulating economic activity.

Road to Recovery:

Despite the immense challenges faced by Sint Maarten, today there are strong signs of resilience and recovery. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Sint Maarten projects a strong tourism recovery in 2023 with an expectation of  5% growth.  Economic activity is anticipated to recover to pre-hurricane/pandemic levels with a 1.4 Billion GDP in 2023 and per capita GDP of $32,000 USD.  


The Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) continues with its ongoing reconstruction and is expected to be complete by 2024.  According to Tourism Analytics, total airport arrivals were 416,209 people or almost 65% of 2019 levels.

Cruise Ships

A new record for cruise ship daily arrivals was set for St Maarten on January 17, 2023 with 30,349 people. Projections for 2023 are for 1.1 MM passengers and back to stabilized levels of 1.5MM for 2024.


According to data by the Saint Martin Hospitality & Trade Association, as of December 2022, there are approximately 2,231 hotel and time share units on the island.  Hotel occupancy has been steadily increasing with record occupancy of 71% in 2022 and ADR’s at peak or above peak levels.


There appears to be a positive shift post COVID19 in terms of the seasonality of Caribbean travel. The summer season, which is normally the low season, has seen a significant increase in occupancy in 2021 and 2022. This occupancy increase has been primarily from family travel seeking destinations more affordable and closer to home (US/Canada).   

Length of Stay

The length of stay has increased post COVID19 as travelers continue to blend leisure with business – “bleisure”.  


Sint Maarten’s resilience in the face of the 2017 hurricanes and the Covid-19 pandemic is a testament to its people and determination. Despite the devastating impact of these crises, the island has made significant strides in rebuilding its economy. With government support and stimulus packages, Sint Maarten has seen a strong rebound in tourism, reflected in increased hotel occupancy and the resumption of cruise ship activities. Projections for 2023 indicate a robust recovery, with anticipated growth in tourism, a recovering GDP, and positive trends in seasonality and length of stay. Sint Maarten’s ability to adapt and rebuild offers hope for a prosperous future and a testament to the resilience of the Caribbean region as a whole.

If you are interested in learning more about the Caribbean, join us at this years’ CHRIS conference in Coral Gables, Florida from May 22-25, 2023.

AG&T is a real estate development and consulting company founded in 1998 with headquarters in Miami, Florida. Our  track record spans over 55 real estate development projects in Puerto Rico, Sint Maarten, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Dominican Republic, and various other Caribbean islands.


18 Billion For The Next Great Construction Boom



San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Last week The Puerto Rico Builders Association held its 70th year conference in San Juan Puerto Rico. The historic event was inaugurated with a conversation on Financing the Next Great Economic Construction Boom.  The panel included Michael McDonald, Executive Vice President and Group Director at Firstbank, Luis Alemañy President and CEO at the Economic Development Bank of Puerto Rico, and Eric Delgado Business Banking Relationship Manager at Acrecent Financial Corporation and Adam Greenfader, Managing Partner at AG&T.

It was clear from the conference panelists, that after more than fifteen years of stagnate growth, Puerto Rico appears ready to build back better. Billions of dollars of FEMA and CDBG-DR funds are being allocated in what will be the largest government funding program in US history.  While much of the Federal funds will be used to subsidize projects, the group was in agreement that there is a huge need for private investment and capital to bridge the financing gapMichael McDonald, Executive Vice President and Group Director at Firstbank, made the historic announcement that the bank is opening up its construction division. Several members from the newly formed team were present in the packed room including Carlos Navarro and Mei Li Tsai Rivera. “There is no better indicator of an economy that is ready to grow that when a bank reopens its construction division”, quoted Alfredo Martínez-Álvarez, Jr., Chairman of the Puerto Rico Builders Association.

Equally promising, Luis Alemañy President and CEO at the Economic Development Bank of Puerto Rico, was asked about the much awaited CDBG-DR funding. Mr. Alemañy explained that the Economic Development Bank of Puerto Rico has already started allocating over $225 Million dollars to small entrepreneurs. The group was especially receptive to the fact that the grants are being disbursed in $50,000 tranches and does not require repayment.

Since 2008, Puerto Rico has gone from twelve financial institutions to less than four. Eric Delgado Business Banking Relationship Manager at Acrecent Financial Corporation, sees a new role for niche lenders filling that gap in Puerto Rico.  He specifically discussed how Acrecent can play a role in funding new construction projects. “We are able to get to funding much faster than traditional banks and also have the capacity for higher loan to coast ratios.  Both Firstbank and Acrecent mentioned that capital is seeking anywhere from 25%-35% of project equity.

“As Puerto Rico gets ready to build thousands of much needed homes, critical infrastructure and other key projects, it will be up to both private and public institutions to step up and provide the much needed capital and leadership”, quoted Adam Greenfader of AG&T.  All of the panelist were in agreement that the island in the next few years is ready for strong growth. They specifically mentioned that in addition to the more than 8 billion dollars of Federal Grants, Puerto Rico has one of the most robust tax incentives and credit programs in the world. The hospitality incentive with a 40% tax credit was specifically highlighted as a very strong component of any capital stack today.

Helping to plan a better future for the island, The Puerto Rico Builders Association will be holding its annual conference on September 20 and 21, 2022.  Speaking and sponsorship opportunities are available and you may contact AG&T at


AG&T is a real estate development and consulting company founded in 1998 with headquarters in Miami, Florida. Our  track record spans over 55 real estate development projects in Puerto Rico, Sint Maarten, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Dominican Republic, and various other Caribbean islands.


Travel and Tourism and the COVID19 Pandemic

Headshot of Brad Dean

The Covid 19 pandemic has brought worldwide tourism to a standstill. In this ULI Caribbean Conversation, we speak with Brad Dean, CEO of Puerto Rico’s Destination Marketing Organization (DMO).  Brad shares some insights about what some of the top private and public minds in the industry are thinking, planning, and prepping for travel 2.0.

” I think this down time gives the travel and tourism industry our George Bailey moment. “We have all seen that without travel it’s pretty ugly….there is a lot greater value to travel than most of us ever lifts spirits, it connects people, it leads to progress, exclaimed Brad Dean.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

AG&T is a real estate development and consulting company founded in 1998 with headquarters in Miami, Florida. Our  track record spans over 55 real estate development projects in Puerto Rico, Sint Maarten, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Dominican Republic, and various other Caribbean islands.

Puerto Rico Still Staggering From Impact of 2017 Storms


Puerto Rico Still Staggering From  2017 Storms

Adam Greenfader, managing principal, AG&T, said hurricanes Maria and Irma destroyed or damaged a large share of Puerto Rico’s housing and commercial structures, spurred insurance insolvency and changed the market for coverage. Greenfader spoke with AM BestTV at the RMS Exceedance 2019 conference, held in Miami.



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Micro Apartments: Redefining Functionality

As the idea of developing micro units becomes more prevalent, we must rethink how to functionally furnish them within a limited amount of space. The size of a micro units is typically less than 350 square feet and just like any other unit, the kitchen and bathroom are permanently fixed. Due to the smaller size you can’t fit a standard, bed, couch, dining table set or even store your other belongs efficiently. So, if developers want to sell or lease micro units they must provide potential consumers with hassle free furniture and storage solutions.

Resource Furniture (, a distribution company specializing in functional multipurpose furniture for small spaces, is committed to raising the bar when it comes to furniture functionality, quality and sustainability. Their furniture ranges from murphy style beds that transform into desk and seating area that can be used for everyday task.

Advances in technology are also assisting with the way we can furnish micro units. Powered by modular robotics, Ori ( is a modular system that includes a full or queen-sized bed, closet space, a desk and much more, developed by a start up from MIT’s Media Lab and designer Yves Behar. With the simple touch or voice command, this system seamlessly allows you to adapt the space in your unit for any activity. The Ori system can be installed in both existing and new buildings and can be assembled on site and can be plugged into a conventional electrical outlet.

Besides the attractiveness of space conservation, incorporating hassle free modular or transforming furniture will allow developers to charge consumers a higher premium for furnishing the unit. Both parties benefit and the consumer will be satisfied knowing that they can live comfortably and efficiently in a smaller unit…and might never have to “make the bed.”

Modular Housing: a viable solution to increasing costs

As construction cost continue to increase, we must find more affordable solutions. One Solution may be modular construction. What is modular construction? Modular construction is a process in which a building is constructed off-site, under controlled plant conditions, using the same materials and designing to the same codes and standards as conventionally built facilities. It has been proved that building units offsite reduced the construction time in half.

Constructing units offsite allow for more quality control and more flexible when it comes to design. While the units are being prepared off-site, the building structure is also being simultaneously built. So once the units are complete, they can be transported and inserted directly into the structure. This also can be a solution to unexpected natural weather conditions which can extremely delay construction. Remember time is money. This faster a building is constructed, they faster you can satisfy your investors and lease up space.

According to the Modular Building Institute (, building modular is Greener, Faster, and Smarter. Due to the factor-controlled process, waste is greatly reduced, and air quality is improved.  Modular buildings can be disassembled, and the modules relocated or refurbished for new use, reducing the demand for raw materials and minimizing the amount of energy expended to create a building to meet the new need. Structurally, modular buildings are generally stronger because each module is engineered to independently withstand the rigors of transportation and craning onto foundations, which creates more resiliency than on-site building construction. Not only is modular construction budget friendly it is also environmental friendly.

Assuming that the standard opportunity cost is 10% annually, and using industry standards for loans, modular construction will cut the construction time in half and save around 15% of the total development cost.   

For more information about modular construction in the Caribbean contact us at AG&T


Hydroponic Parking Garages

Hydroponic Garagesi


Hydroponic Parking Garages

Hydroponic Parking Garages, what are those? If you are familiar with hydroponic farming, you would understand that it is a technique used to grow any plant without using soil…. but this time it is in a public parking garage.

With the possibility of a driverless future, places where we store our cars, such as parking garages, will soon cease to serve a purpose. Also, with more people moving into urban cores there is more of a demand for access to fresh produce for consumption. This is a great opportunity to turn existing parking garages into urban farms. Imagine garage to table – fresh produce within an urban environment. Does this mean we can improve the access to fresh food for economically and agricultural disadvantaged communities?

As we move into a more advanced future, we must rethink how we efficiently develop and use our resources. With limited developable space and agricultural zoning restrictions, hydroponic parking garages may be one very good solution. Instead of spending thousands of dollars demolishing existing parking garages, why not repurpose them and give them new life; literally. Since hydroponic technology eliminates the need for soil, urban cores can benefit from having fresh produce in close proximity, reducing cost and the amount of time it takes to reach consumers. Food can be the sold to restaurants or at a farmer’s market, given to a local soup kitchen or church, the possibilities are endless. Hydroponic parking garages could possibly increase values of surrounding developments and provide a new revenue stream for the owner.

Idea: Rather Than spend millions of dollars to totally reposition a parking garage, building hydroponic farms in the vacant garages will create a much more affordable and immediate source of revenues for the building owner. If one were to plant basil and lettuce and sell wholesale to local stores the farm will provide around a 90% yield annually on the $115k starting cost.


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