ETF News

Paulson & Co hedge fund ups Puerto Rico real estate bet

Aug 15 (Reuters) - U.S. hedge fund Paulson & Co is upping its bet in Puerto Rico real estate with the purchase of an office building in San Juan’s financial district from American International Group Inc .

The 326,000 square-foot building is the latest real estate purchase for the $23 billion hedge fund on the Caribbean island where Paulson & Co is betting on an economic turnaround.

Many hedge funds have been buying Puerto Rico debt recently, taking advantage of heavily distressed prices. Paulson & Co is unusual because it is focusing on real estate in Puerto Rico while others are focusing on the island’s debt.

Hedge fund managers and emerging market investors are making regular visits to Puerto Rico. John Paulson said at a conference in Puerto Rico in April that the island is a new tax haven for the very wealthy and called it the “Singapore of the Caribbean.”

“We remain optimistic about the future of the San Juan real estate market including the office, residential and hotel sectors,” said Michael Barr, senior real estate partner at Paulson & Co, in a statement on Friday.

Paulson & Co has also acquired the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, the Condado Vanderbilt, La Concha Renaissance Hotel and Tower, as well as land for future development.

Paulson & Co did not say how much it paid for the building, known as American International Plaza and located the Hato Rey area of San Juan. Tenants include AIG, UBS, KPMG , Oracle Corp, Charles Schwab Corp and local law firms O’Neill & Borges and Goldman Antonetti and Cordova. (Reporting by Edward Krudy in New York; editing by Matthew Lewis)