Real estate and tourism in Dominican Republic

Castillo y Castillo

Castillo y Castillo has a prominent tourism practice and recognised standing in the real estate market. Práxedes Castillo Báez has longstanding experience in financing operations, transactions and foreign investment, and leads the practice together with senior associate Maria Portes, who is regularly sought by foreign clients for assistance in obtaining permits for tourism projects. Sebastián Jiménez is another name to note; he is often involved in real estate transactions across a range of sectors, including retail, aviation and tourism.

Practice head(s):

Maria Portes; Práxedes Castillo Báez 

Key clients

Riu Hotels Group

Sol Melia Hotels Group

Iberostar Hotels Group

Tyche Group

Piñero Group

AmResorts

Hard Rock Hotel

Centro Cuesta Nacional

Mac Hotels Group

Best Hotels Group

Work highlights

  • Assisted Evelop Airlines before the Civil Aviation Board in the renewal of its Air Operator Permit.
  • Representing Iberostate in the development of its first real estate project of premium villas and condos in Playa Bávaro, Dominican Republic.
  • Assisted British Airways before the Civil Aviation Board in the renewal of its Air Operator Permit.

DMK Abogados

DMK Abogados has a strong focus on the tourism industry, and provides cross-practice advice in a broad range of matters, spanning from transactions to government negotiations and tax incentives. During 2020 and 2021, active areas for the team included tax compliance, disputes, regulation and franchising, among other areas. The group also stood out for acting as lead counsel to Corporación Aeroportuaria del Este on the public-private matter regarding the construction project of the Bavaro International Airport; practice head Enrique De Marchena Kaluche leads on this. In addition to her tourism focus, Patricia Guzmán is recognised for her activity in environmental and administrative law.

Practice head(s):

Enrique De Marchena Kaluche; Patricia Guzmán

Key clients

Corporación Aeroportuaria del Este

Grupo Posadas

Tenedora las Terrenas

Punta Cana Group

Popular Bank

Esmiralda

Senator Hotels and Resort

Sol Meliá International

NSLH-1

Los Corales Development

Work highlights

  • Representing Corporación Aeroportuaria del Este in an administrative appeal against the construction project of the Bavaro International Airport, promoted by ABRISA Group.
  • Providing advice to Tenedora Las Terrenas on re-obtaining tourism tax incentives that in the past it obtained to develop the project Las Terrenas Golf Course, as well as renewing all permits, including environmental permits.
  • Assisting Popular Bank in a matter related to La Estancia Golf Resort tourism project, obtaining all the permits and the renewal of an environmental licence.

Guzmán Ariza

Guzmán Ariza has one of the most recognised real estate departments in the Dominican Republic. It covers day-to-day matters and operations, permits and licences, in addition to project financing and acquisition deals for hotel chains. As a key differentiator, the team's expertise also encompasses projects regarding condominiums, luxury second homes and agricultural properties. Fabio Guzmán Ariza is a highly regarded real estate lawyer with longstanding experience in this area. Alfredo Guzmán Saladín is the head of the firm’s Bávaro-Punta Cana and La Romana offices; he has extensive experience in assisting multinational clients with transactions in the hospitality and tourism sectors. Julio Brea Guzmán also receives praise; he focuses on condominium transactions and litigation. Associate Achelis Santana is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Fabio Guzmán Ariza; Alfredo Guzmán Saladín; Julio Brea Guzmán; Rubén García

Testimonials

‘The personal treatment of Alfredo Guzman and Achelis Santana makes the client feel secure.’

‘One can count on any of their lawyers to be able to advise you on all the issues you handle with them. A firm that supports and sustains the client at all times.’

‘Achelis Santana is extremely careful with all the follow-ups. Guzman Ariza’s team works like a great machine: fast, efficient, impeccable.’

‘Julio Brea stands out.’

Key clients

Club Mediterranée

Meliá Hotels International

Anex Tours

12Tree Finance

Noval

Sunwing Travel Group

Viva Wyndham Resorts

Sosúa Ocean Village

Tierra del Sol Beach Hotel and Casino

Elof Hansson

Ani Villas

Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort

Dream City

Acun Medya

Athelia Blue Finance

Villas Infinity

Knauf GIPS

Blue Jack Tar

Dama Hoteles

Nader Enterprises

Work highlights

  • Acted as outside general counsel to Club Med on all its legal matters in the Dominican Republic, including real estate transactions, government permits, corporate matters, and other areas.
  • Acting as counsel for Meliá’s Dominican subsidiaries since 2005.
  • Assisting Anex Tours in the acquisition of a 370-acre property in the Macao-Punta Cana area for $41m.

ECIJA DVMS

In the real estate space, ECIJA DVMS is best known for assisting high-end hotel clients with their acquisition and construction projects. Another significant focus for the practice is the sports industry; here, the firm stands out for advising sport teams with the acquisition of real estate and construction projects. Gabriel Dejarden focuses on the hospitality, baseball and financial services sectors, and Polibio Valenzuela combines his real estate expertise with experience acting in the tourism sector, including handling construction financing and construction agreements; the duo co-head the department. Christian Molina, who additionally covers trusts, affordable housing and public infrastructure, is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Gabriel Dejarden; Polibio Valenzuela

Testimonials

‘Very fast response and availability, experience and competence. ECIJA lawyers are fast and reliable with respect to what is asked of them.’

Key clients

Limburg Investment

CCI Puesto de Bolsa

Capital Crédito e Inversiones CCI

Apple Leisure Group

Texas Rangers

Atlanta Braves

Qualita Constructora

Fundación Fuente de Amor

Work highlights

  • Assisting Limburg Investment with the building of a new high-end hotel in downtown Santo Domingo, including taking all steps necessary to remedy the real estate issues affecting its land.
  • Assisting Capital Credito e Inversiones CCI in negotiating with Terra RD Partners and Constructora Aybar regarding the development of a residential, commercial and office project.
  • Providing counsel to Texas Rangers with all due diligence and title insurance aspects, and the drafting and negotiation necessary to complete the purchase of the land where the team is operating a new baseball academy.

Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernández

Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernández is appreciated in the market for providing cross-practice advice and a full-service offering to clients in the real estate and tourism sectors. Key additional areas of expertise include tax, environmental, social security and labour law, among others. The firm often represents large tourism groups and real estate investment firms in complex tourism projects, restructurings of real estate holdings, and concessions. Jaime Senior is an active member of the team, who focuses on M&A, negotiation of commercial agreements, and tourism investments. Mary Fernández and Marisol Vicens are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Mary Fernández; Marisol Vicens; Jaime Senior

Testimonials

‘The attention to detail of each case and in the service are excellent. The quality of the response and the professional point of view make them stand out in the market.’

‘Mary Fernandez is a senior partner of the firm who worked well, thoughtfully and seamlessly with her litigation colleagues.’

‘Jaime Senior is professionally very competent, always responds attentively to any questions and manages to create a very constructive relationship of trust with the client.’

Key clients

Tropicalia

One World Surgery

Parque Zona Franca Las Americas

Grupo Punta Cana

Grupo Campollo

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Consorcio Azucarero Central

Third Point

Discovery Land Group

Asociacion Dominicana de Empresas Turisticas Inmobiliarias

Playa Nueva Romana

Work highlights

  • Assisting Playa Grande Holdings in the drafting of all of the contracts, permits and other legal requirements for the development of the Playa Grande Golf Resort.
  • Acting as counsel to Inversiones Cuatro Estaciones, as borrower, in a multilateral credit facility for the construction and development of a Four Seasons Resort in the Dominican Republic.
  • Acting as counsel to Grupo Punta Cana in regulatory aspects related to property rights, coastal resources, public domain areas, real estate regulations, environmental regulations and other related matters.

OMG

OMG stands out in the area of real estate and tourism, where it assists clients in a wide variety of projects. In particular, the team has a notable track record in mixed-use tourist real estate developments, resort properties and timeshare and fractional ownership agreements, among others. The lawyers also have knowledge of demarcation procedures, regulation and condominium development, as well as construction, licences and permits, which testifies to the group's dedication to this sector. Practice head Laura Troncoso's experience takes in hotel operations, real estate, zoning and finance, while Juan Alcalde focuses on cross-border commercial and financial transactions.

Practice head(s):

Laura Troncoso

Testimonials

‘It is a productive team; always ready; very capable and with diverse knowledge.’

Key clients

Park Adventure Group

Terra RD Partners

Melia Hotel International

Andares del Mirador Trust

Murales Trust

Hotchkiss Limited

Luis Abinader

Traza.Do

LAFE Development Company

Macao Beach Real Estate

HES Group

Work highlights

  • Working as project manager in the Park Adventure Group’s new project regarding the building and operation of the Korala theme park and hotel.
  • Acting as lead counsel in regard to all strategic and legal related components in the development and execution of the mixed-use project by Murales Trust.
  • Advising Meliá Hotel International on reorganising and relocating its main time share units to the Dominican Republic.

Pellerano & Herrera

Pellerano & Herrera stands out for its highly international client base. It represents investors, lenders and underwriters in real estate finance transactions, while also counselling clients in the tourism sector. These include airlines – which the team is able to assist leveraging its aviation practice, led by Vitelio Mejía Ortiz – booking companies and cruise lines, among others. Ricardo Pellerano, who acts as managing partner and co-head of the firm's Chinese desk, is often involved in complex transactions in the banking, real estate and tourism sectors. Caroline Bonó heads up the tourism industry group and regularly advises real estate developers and clients in the tourism sector entering the Dominican Republic. Special counsel Ramón Luciano leads the real estate practice, focusing on mortgage financing, contracts and regulations affecting real estate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Bonó; Ricardo Pellerano; Ramón Luciano

Key clients

Uber

Expedia

Carnival Cruise Corporation

Amber Dune

Booking.com

NH Hotels

Nesthler poletto Sotheby’s international

InDriver

Interjet

Landesbank Baden-Württemberg

Work highlights

  • Provided legal assistance to the German financial institution Landesbank Baden-Württemberg on a €7.8m real estate financing to Laboratorios LAM.
  • Provides day-to-day legal assistance to Carnival Cruise Corporation in regulatory, corporate, labour and environmental matters, in relation to Amber Cove port’s operations in Puerto Plata.
  • Provides legal assistance to the Mexican airline Interjet in the establishment of operations in the Dominican Republic.

Pellerano Nadal

Pellerano Nadal's real estate and environmental practice groups often act for clients in the tourism sector. The team has significant experience in real estate transactions, while also covering renegotiations of rental contracts, disputes and environmental due diligence. Land use is one of practice head Luis Rafael Pellerano's key specialisms, and he is also known for handling projects involving hotels, retail centres, office buildings and mixed-use developments. Development, investment, leasing, financing and asset management are among his areas of expertise. Gustavo Mena, Urania Paulino and Belkys Génesis Rodríguez are also names to note.

Practice head(s):

Luis Rafael Pellerano

Testimonials

‘The firm really understands business needs. The lawyers are very available and responsive. They are very helpful problem solvers during challenging times.’

‘Luis Rafael Pellerano is someone you really trust and you can turn to for support during challenging times. He is an exceptional lawyer.’

‘Urania Paulino works hard to learn about new industries and to develop important contacts in the Dominican Republic. Belkys Génesis Rodriguez provides counsel on many topics and is a subject-matter expert on issues relating to consumer protection.’

Key clients

JetBlue Airways Corporation

Belfond Enterprise

Unicomer Group

Cosentino Group

Barrick Gold Corporation

Goldquest Mining Corporation

Kinnox

Dentons United Kingdom

CHT Energy

Work highlights

  • Advising JetBlue with the management of the Covid-19 crisis, which severely impacted the aviation industry.
  • Assisting Barrick Gold with the expansion of the Pueblo Viejo Mine.
  • Advising Belfond Enterprises in all procedures before government entities regarding the concession of a mining exploration and exploitation licence, and other matters.

Russin, Vecchi & Heredia Bonetti

Russin, Vecchi & Heredia Bonetti has a notable track record acting in a wide variety of non-contentious real estate matters, spanning from sales and purchases, financing, development projects to trusts, due diligence and tax matters. Real estate litigation also features in the team's workload; in particular, the team's caseload includes eviction disputes, fraud investigations, inheritance matters and foreclosures. In the tourism space, the firm focuses on tax incentives under the Tourism Incentives Law of the Dominican Republic. Román Medina Diplan and Luis Heredia Valenzuela jointly head the practice.

Practice head(s):

Roman Medina Diplan; Luis Heredia Valenzuela

Testimonials

‘They have up-to-date and accurate information on the market, and have extensive knowledge.’

‘Availability, extensive knowledge of various fields, quality of service.’

‘Able to work with clients with multiple languages; very responsive and attentive; aware of clients’ needs and attention to making sure they are updated on progress of the case.’

Key clients

Tenedora Amanda

Delivery Hero

Almacenes Sema

ICAS Ingenieros Constructores & Asociados

BAS Corporation

Recio & Co.

Rising Bay Investments

Nizao Capital 4 Enterprises

Soventix Caribbean

Work highlights

  • Assting Mr. Bodeguitas and Tenedora Amanda in a real estate operation involving land for the development of an ambitious self-storage project.
  • Assisting Delivery Hero in the implementation of a new project involving premises not open to the public for sale and dispatch of warehouse/supermarket products.
  • Advising Rising Bay Investments on the acquisition of a mall located in the tourist area of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs' team stands out for its involvement in significant real estate and hospitality transactions in the Dominican Republic. Its recent highlights included advising on transactions for the development of retail outlets and the development of high-end resort and condominium projects. Thanks to its Latin American desks and extensive network, the firm is able to handle an international and multinational workload. American, Latin American and European investors are among the group's key clients and feature prominently in managing partner Alejandro Peña-Prieto's practice. Rhina Martinez Brea is a standout lawyer in this area.

Practice head(s):

Alejandro Peña-Prieto; Rhina Martinez Brea

Key clients

DR Development Group

Earthbound Holdings

Implementos & Maquinarias

Parque Industrial y Zona Franca Santo Domingo

Gol Linhas Aéreas

Frontier Airlines

Banco Popular Dominicano

Work highlights

  • Representing Earthbound Holdings at the Supreme Court in a complex commercial claim seeking damages, involving the alleged breach of an assignment of rights over a lease.
  • Acting as legal counsel for DR Development Group and Zejtun Investments in the purchase of several real estate properties for the development of a Ritz Carlton Reserve, property of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.
  • Advised Implementos y Maquinarias on all legal aspects related to the transfer of rights of a property located in Ciudad Modelo.

Jiménez Peña

At Jiménez Peña, the real estate and tourism team is led jointly by founding partner Luis Julio Jiménez and Vilma Veras, who often co-lead on matters involving foreign investment in Dominican tourism; hotel remodelling and refurbishment; and the set-up of free zones. The group's client base notably includes operators in the hospitality and tourism industries, as well as aviation companies and real estate investment funds. Jiménez is an expert in administrative law, economic regulation, project finance and government relations, and Veras specialises in corporate and commercial work.

Practice head(s):

Luis Julio Jimenez; Vilma Veras

Testimonials

‘Experienced, responsive, well respected in government and industry circles, good English language skills, good collaboration between RE-tourism and litigation teams.’

Key clients

AIC

La Estancia Golf Resort

Grupo Punta Cana

Hola Tours & Travel

Sirenis Hotels

CCS Holding Group

Portblue Hotels

Celuisma

Marriott International

Work highlights

  • Advised Marriot International on management agreements for major hotel projects in different locations in the Dominican Republic.
  • Advised Sirenis Hotels on all corporate, tax and real estate aspects involved in the $90m remodelling and refurbishment of two of its hotels.
  • Assisted Grupo Punta Cana with the setting up of an export free zone around the Punta Cana International Airport for the operation of a logistic hub to provide goods and services related to the operation of the airport.

ONTIER Dominican Republic

ONTIER Dominican Republic specialises in assisting local and international operators in the tourism industry, with an emphasis on hotel chains and foreign investors. Leasing contracts, due diligence, licensing and permits are among the team’s main areas of focus. Real estate acquisitions, construction and tax matters also feature in its workload. Gina Hernández Vólquez jointly leads the practice alongside managing partner José Alburquerque Prieto. Laura Polanco Coste focuses on related tax matters, real estate M&A and the financing of projects and operations.

Practice head(s):

José Alburquerque Prieto; Gina Hernández Vólquez; Laura Polanco Coste

Testimonials

‘Very pleasant and professional experience. Very good direction, decentralisation. Knowledge of the real estate market, suitable contacts and agility in the processes.’

‘Available and close to the client, they are understanding and transparent, with detailed follow-up.’

Key clients

Compañía Dominicana de Hipermercados

GSM Investissements

Operadora Georges

Hotel Catalonia Bávaro Resort

Hotelbeds Dominicana

Bamyr

Inversiones Playa Cabeza de Toro

Inversiones Azul del Este Dominicana

Surgex

Arriol International Corporation

Arce Dominicana

Fundación Dominicana Universitaria Pedro Henríquez Ureña

Banco de Sabadell

Inmobiliaria Caribisla

Elias Cornelio & Asociados

Inmobiliaria Jaypa

World 2 Fly

Work highlights

  • Assisted Inversiones Azul del Este Dominicana in project management, including in the feasibility analysis of the design of the tourist project Catalonia Cabeza de Toro before the Ministry of Tourism.
  • Advised Inversiones Azul del Este Dominicana on a due diligence process and on the negotiation for the closure of this client’s first urban project in the country.
  • Advised Compañía Dominicana de Hipermercados on the leasing contracts of commercial premises for the exploitation of its real estate properties located in the country.

Pereyra & Asociados

Pereyra & Asociados assists commercial brokers, real estate developers, investors and lenders in a wide spectrum of real estate matters, including drafting and negotiating transactions, permits and licences, tax incentives, as well as project financing and environmental feasibility studies. The team, led by Luis Miguel Pereyra, recently stood out for assisting a foreign bank in a tourism project on the island, which included elements of corporate real estate - Emma Mejía Batlle's specialism - M&A, mortgage issues, leases, labour matters and dispute resolution. Gregorio García focuses on real estate and tourism-related litigation. Estate planning for private clients is also covered by the firm.

Practice head(s):

Luis Miguel Pereyra

Santroni Parsons

In real estate and tourism, Santroni Parsons' main focus is in assisting hotels and resorts with the development of tourism and property projects, permits, feasibility studies and tax exemptions. The team, which is co-led by highly regarded partners Romina Santroni and Guily Shemer (who was promoted to the partnership in August 2021), leverages its strength in environmental law to act in projects involving sustainable development, urban law, land planning and compliance.

Practice head(s):

Romina Santroni; Guily Shemer

Testimonials

‘Great experience in different fields, with great specialisation in the tourism and real estate sector. They have great contacts throughout the country, and when starting a project they become 100% involved and become part of the team, working together with total commitment towards the established objective.’

‘Romina Santroni has vast experience in this sector and has a great team, also headed by Guily Shemer.’

‘Tightly-knit younger boutique firm. Romina Santroni is a partner of impressive legal authority, with the correct governmental connections. Guily Shemer is an  associate with the energy and commitment to efficiently deliver detailed legal analyses of all matters in hand.’

Key clients

Moon Palace Resorts

Amanera Resort

Real Hotel Intercontinental Santo Domingo

Hotel Casas del XVI

Iberostar Hotels

Hacienda Samana Bay

Hotel Quality Santo Domingo

Sanctuary Cap Cana

Hotel AC Santiago

Eco del Mar

Inversiones inmobiliarias de la Republica Dominicana

Baobinio Asuncion Inmobiliaria

Hotelera Real del Atlantico

Murales

Fideicomiso Andares del Mirador

Anamuya

Courtyard by Marriott Santo Domingo

Constructora Vista Azul

Work highlights

  • Acting as key legal and environmental advisor for Moon Palace Punta Cana in all aspects related to the development of a touristic project in the Dominican Republic, an 18-floor luxury all-inclusive hotel.
  • Advising the Playa Grande Project in aspects related to real estate transactions, environment (compliance, permits and plans), sustainability strategies, governmental relations, land use and regulatory matters.
  • Assisting Hotel Casas del XVI with environment matters, the implementation of the environmental management programme, compliance reports, taxes, permits, training and environmental audits.