At Castillo y Castillo, senior associate and practice co-head Maria Portes has overseen Spanish hotel chain Best Hotels Group’s US$297m project, including land purchase, construction and licensing, and also works on land sales and title deeds for other clients. Permits is another area of Portes’ experience; as well as handling permits for hotels, she advised Finnair Airlines on the renewal of its air operator permit. Fellow co-head Práxedes J. Castillo Báez covers real estate outside of hotel developments, such as the purchase of four properties for an automobile client. Banking and finance partner Sebastián Jiménez covers sale and leaseback transactions.
Real estate and tourism in Dominican Republic
Castillo y Castillo
Maria Portes; Praxedes J. Castillo Báez
‘The relationship is cordial and very empathetic, they care about our needs and are efficient and diligent in meeting our needs for advice.’
‘Excellent professionals on whom we rely for decision making. They are always available.’
‘Castillo & Castillo is always looking to think outside the box to legally protect clients’ interests but at the same time ensure prompt closing of transactions. The team collaborates with other professionals in the particular field of interest so the clients always have the most current and accurate information. This wealth of knowledge allows for a greater understanding of the risk/return profile of opportunities. The firm is continually innovating its legal approach and strengthening its execution team.’
Soluciones Gas Natural
Empresas Distribuidoras de Electricidad (EDE): Edenorte Dominicana; Edesur Dominicana; Empresa Distribuidora de Electricidad del Este
Riu Hotels Group
Sol Melia Hotels Group
Iberostar Hotels Group
Tyche Group (Majestic Hotels)
Centro Cuesta Nacional
Best Hotels Group
- Representing Best Hotels in connection with a new real estate development project in Cabeza de Toro, Punta Cana, comprised of three luxury hotels.
- Representing Suntrust Enterprises in connection with a real estate development project comprised of 92 luxury apartment condominiums.
- Representing real estate company Treasure Beach on the sale of a 50,000 sqm piece of land to expand its hotel rooms.
Enrique De Marchena Kaluche has led the team at DMK Abogados on an airport construction dispute, representing the owner of the Punta Cana airport in an administrative appeal against the Bavaro International Airport project. As well as day-to-day advice on permits and licences, the firm assists hotels with litigation over property, reputational and labour disputes, aided by dispute resolution partner Iván García Elsevyf. Patricia Guzmán counts Marriott as a regular client, for whom she has negotiated franchising agreements and concession contracts and provided due diligence. The firm often advises clients on tourism incentive tax exemptions and regulations, as well as gaining approval from the Tourism Promotion Council for a golf resort project.
Enrique De Marchena Kaluche; Patricia Guzmán Parra
Corporación Aeroportuaria Del Este
SenatorHotels and Resort
Fideicomiso Vista Golf
Sol Meliá International
Punta Cana Group
NSLH-1, S.R.L. – NSLH-26, S.R.L.
Hard Rock Hotel
- Continues to represent Corporacion Aeroportuaria del Este in an administrative appeal against the construction project of the Bavaro International Airport, promoted by ABRISA Group, alleging a series of irregularities and defects in the approval process and non-compliance with legal requirements.
Fabio Guzmán Ariza heads the real estate department at Guzmán Ariza, where Alfredo Guzmán Saladín handles a variety of matters, aided by close involvement of of counsel Giselle Pérez Reyes and senior counsel Marianne Olivares. Guzmán Saladín’s work includes acting for long-term client Club Med and a real estate developer on their land and property acquisitions – including construction permits, operating licences and tax exemptions – as well as handling service contract negotiations and leasing and commercialisation agreements for Meliá Hotels International, and environmental and corporate work. Julio Brea Guzmán regularly acts for tourism clients in construction disputes; he represented Sosúa Ocean Village and Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort in adjudication and litigation respectively against building companies. Rubén García and César Calderón oversaw the development of a gated community, including corporate and land purchase advice, while associate Achelis Santana works on real estate and corporate law.
Fabio J Guzmán Ariza; Alfredo Guzmán Saladín; Julio Brea Guzmán; Rubén J. García; César Calderón
‘Attention to detail and particularity of customer management.’
‘Guzman Ariza is a firm at the forefront of legal developments in the Dominican Republic; its partners participate in discussions prior to legislation that involve the main investment issues in the country (real estate, corporate and tourism). The team is prepared to provide assistance and prepare strategies for foreign investment in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean.’
‘Elvis Roque and Julio Brea are both proactive, willing to provide assistance at any time or day, excellent legal strategists who have respect for clients’ decisions.’
Meliá Hotels International
Sunwing Travel Group (Nexus Tours, Royalton)
Viva Wyndham Resorts
Sosúa Ocean Village
Tierra del Sol Beach Hotel and Casino
Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort
Althelia Blue Finance
Blue Jack Tar
Grupo Roble/Real Hotel & Resorts/Grupo Poma, Real Estate Developer
Hotels Association of Cap Cana
- Currently assisting Club Med in obtaining and renewing all operating licences for the hotel, restaurant and tourist activities, as well as negotiating with the government for the extension of several kilometres of the main highway that connects all these new developments with the rest of the city of Bavaro/Punta Cana.
- Recently assisted Melia Hotels in the amendment and renewal of a commercialisation agreement with one of their main tour operator partners (Manatí), which involved all of Melia’s properties and set complex fixed and variable rates based on sales goals.
- Currently collaborating with Norton Rose Fulbright LLP’s London office in representing Althelia Sustainable Ocean Fund project in the Dominican Republic, which intends to provide financing of US$20m for the development and management of the Arrecifes del Sureste Marine Sanctuary, the second largest natural reserve in the country, covering an area of 7,862.59 sq km.
ECIJA DVMS‘ Gabriel Dejarden and associate Deydania Comas are experienced in advising Major League Baseball clients on real estate in the Dominican Republic, with the pair acting for the Texas Rangers in its purchase of land for a baseball academy, including due diligence, title insurance, negotiation of purchase and contracting agreements and permits. Polibio Valenzuela advises finance and investment institutions on financing real estate projects, such as negotiating for Capital Crédito e Inversiones regarding a mixed-use development. Christian Molina oversaw the purchase of three properties for a construction client, involving the incorporation of condominium regimes.
Gabriel Dejarden; Polibio Valenzuela
Limburg Investment (Real Estate Holding for RCD Hotels)
Capital Crédito e Inversiones
Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernández
Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernández has handled the development of the Playa Grande Golf Resort, with the ‘attentive’ and ‘realistic’ Jaime Senior taking on purchase, sale and construction agreements, contracts and permits. Marisol Vicens oversees acquisitions of plots for development, notably for a plastics manufacturer, while Mary Fernández covers easement disputes and due diligence on land. Free trade zones are an area of experience, with Sarah De León negotiating leases for buildings in an industrial free trade zone park for a cigar factory.
Mary Fernández; Marisol Vicens; Sarah De León; Jaime Senior
‘The professional and human integration between the different professional specialties of lawyers, and their interaction with clients, means that they can resolve the issues submitted to their consultation with confidence and competence.’
‘Jaime Senior and Francisco Alvarez have an analytical capacity with a strategic approach to the issues that goes beyond the purely legal vision and enriches the wider analysis of the matter in question.’
‘Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernández Law Firm adapts fantastically to the client’s needs and particular situation. They are attentive to our specific questions, responsive, and extremely knowledgeable. They are also well connected to the greater Dominican community and able to seek out additional resources as needed.’
‘The individual I have worked with in this specific area is Cesar Ledesma. He is attentive and able to explain complex issues in a way I can understand. His attention to detail and the process of establishing land title are exceptional. I am grateful for his support.’
‘The experience to date with Jaime Senior leading two conditional purchase-sale real estate transactions and contribution to a real estate development trust has been unbeatable. His disposition and availability in the different moments of the negotiation and preparation of documents have left us with peace of mind when navigating complex conversations with many internal and external stakeholders.’
‘Jaime Senior has helped us handle the negotiations in a timely manner in each of the stages, always aiming to protecting our interests without sacrificing the viability of the transactions. His expertise in Dominican and American law has served as a bridge to facilitate communication with international counterparts and their legal teams. He is always on top of and attentive to the dynamics and needs of internal and external stakeholders.’
‘They are usually very practical when it comes to dealing with issues and proposing solutions. They give the client security in the advice provided.’
‘Jaime Senior not only has a sense of legal practice but also of business, so he tends to be very realistic in his recommendations. He is skilled not only in local business, but with the US market too.’
Tropicalia (Cisneros Group)
One World Surgery
Parque Zona Franca Las Americas
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Consorcio Azucarero Central, S. A.
Third Point LLC and Discovery Land Group Inc.
Asociacion Dominicana de Empresas Turisticas Inmobiliarias
Playa Nueva Romana (Grupo Piñero)
- 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.
- Assisting Induspalma, a major producer of palm oil, in the reorganisation of its land holdings in the Dominican Republic. The company owns approximately 112 different parcels of land, spanning almost 100m sq m.
- Advising Tabacalera de Garcia SAS, one of the largest handmade cigar factories in the world, on its deal with Operadora Zona Franca La Romana, part of Central Romana group, to carry out improvements and transformations of existing buildings and an industrial complex located at the industrial free trade zone park of La Romana (Parque Zona Franca La Romana) in a built-to-suit-lease format.
Structuring trusts for real estate project developments is a key part of OMG‘s work, as well as designing corporate structures for purchase and ownership of projects, led by corporate specialist Esperanza Cabral and often aided by associate Mairení Silvestre. Silvestre and fellow associate Patricia Losada assisted Park Adventure Group with the building and operation of a sustainable theme park and hotel, including permits, financing and corporate structures, and zoning specialist Losada also advised an NGO on architectural and engineering interventions in cities. The team also cover restructuring of time shares for Meliá Hotel International and condominium regulations. Former practice head Laura Troncoso left the firm to become general counsel for Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club.
Meliá Hotel International
Andares del Mirador Trust
Park Adventure Group
Macao Beach Real Estate
Lafe Development Company
- OMG is acting as lead counsel regarding all strategic and legal related components in the development and execution of a mixed-use project
- OMG is working as project manager in the client’s new venture, the building and operation of the Korala theme park and hotel, an immersive sustainable resort situated along the RioMunoz, in Puerto Plata, on 40 acres of land.
- OMG is assisting and advising Talbot Limited in the design and execution of the legal strategy for the application of condominium laws regarding the designed master plan of the project.
Pellerano & Herrera
Aviation is a key area for Pellerano & Herrera and practice co-head Ricardo Pellerano, with Vitelio Mejía Ortiz covering permits and authorisations for Interjet, as well as corporate and financial advice for tourism resorts, and Alessandra Di Carlo working on property financing and acquisitions. Day-to-day advice for clients in the tourism sector is also covered; Di Carlo and Mejia Ortiz advise Amhsa Marina Hotels & Resorts on operational matters as well as defending the client against IP and negligence lawsuits. Carolina Leon oversaw service agreements for the restart of Carnival Cruise Corporation’s operations, including tour operator and lease agreements, as well as counting Expedia, for whom she provides day-to-day assistance, as a client. Practice co-head Ramón Luciano advised on land demarcation issues for both a tourist resort and Avon, as well as real estate matters for individuals such as recovery of real estate in a will dispute, and property sales for foreign investors. Tourism industry partner Caroline Bonó left the firm to join Pellerano Nadal.
Ricardo Pellerano; Ramon Luciano
‘They adapted to the rapid response rate that our company requires and supported us in the negotiations of an operation that was not easy.’
‘What I value most about this office is the ease of access and contact in the most complicated moments of the operation.’
DR Cruise Port LTD
Amhsa Marina Hotels & Resorts
Magic Magnum Ventures (RE/MAX RD)
NH Hotel Group
- Assisting Carnival Cruise Corporation with a comprehensive revision of all service agreements for the restart of operations of the Amber Cove cruise port in Puerto Plata, following the Covid lockdown.
- Advising Interject on the setup of commercial operations in the Dominican Republic and commencing regular commercial flights between Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
- Assisting the Mexican conglomerate Grupo Vidanta with the land demarcation process for US$10m real estate property earmarked for the development of a new hotel.
Boosted by the hire of Caroline Bonó from Pellerano & Herrera, the team at Pellerano Nadal advises clients from the transport sector on corporate, labour and regulatory issues. Luis Rafael Pellerano provides ongoing assistance to airline JetBlue, including regulatory and PR advice during the pandemic, and has helped a client bidding to take on the concession of Manzanillo Port. The firm also oversees project financing in the tourism sector and acquisitions of real estate assets in other sectors.
Luis Rafael Pellerano
Jetblue Airways Corporation
MK Inc of the Palm Beaches
Compañía de Energía de San Pedro de Macorís – ENERGAS
Barrick Gold Corporation
- Provides JetBlue with ongoing legal assistance in all corporate, regulatory, transactional, labour, litigation and other issues specific to the tourism and aviation sector.
- Continued assisting Barrick Gold with the expansion of the Pueblo Viejo Mine.
Russin, Vecchi & Heredia Bonetti
Led by Román Medina Diplán, the team at Russin, Vecchi & Heredia Bonetti focuses on advice for individual investors on their purchases and sales of property and land, occasionally in tourist areas; work includes due diligence, title research, contracts and tax incentives. The firm also covers condominium rules, demarcation of land and litigation. José Maldonado Stark handles real estate issues for energy clients, such as advising BAS Corporation on a long-term lease, easements and due diligence on land prior to project development. Luis Heredia Valenzuela provides oversight on transactional and contentious matters.
Roman Medina Diplan
‘We have a very good working relationship and the fact they speak English is a very big help.’
‘The team was able to answer all our questions and was very prompt in their responses. They were bilingual, which was necessary for us.’
‘We always heard from them quickly. We even had communications at night and on the weekend, which was a pleasant surprise.’
Green Polymer, S.R.L.
Kathryn Ann Holden & Allison Gray
Keith Edward John Morris
Almacenes Sema, S.A.
Sophia D’Angelo & Jonathan Hughes
Squire Patton Boggs
Squire Patton Boggs‘ work in the aviation industry covers regulatory and corporate advice for multiple airlines, including AraJet, Gol Linhas Aéreas and Frontier Airline, as well as assistance to Banco Popular Dominicano in financing an airport operator. Alejandro Peña-Prieto and Rhina Martínez Brea head the practice, with Martínez Brea overseeing the purchase of properties for the development of a Ritz Carlton Reserve. Lease agreements are another area of expertise, particularly for manufacturing clients but also for other sectors, such as the firm’s representation in the Supreme Court of Earthbound Holdings, an agricultural client, regarding an alleged breach of an assignment of rights over a lease.
Alejandro Peña-Prieto; Rhina Martínez Brea
‘The team at Squire DR is outstanding. The firm benefits from excellent team collaboration. This team has everything: good personnel, diversity, technology and resources.’
‘Our lawyer Awilda Alcantara Bourdier is very strong in all aspects of law. She is extremely knowledgeable and very thorough when analysing matters. She does all the necessary research before giving her advice on how to proceed. She has very good ethics. She is a very fair lawyer; she ensures that both parties are taken care of. She excels at communication, being fluent in both Spanish and English; and also has a full understanding of both cultures. I have appreciated her advice during two years and will always treasure her kindness.’
‘Maria Pia Garcia is very knowledgeable and very organised. She excels at the fine details and follows up with all matters.’
Dominican Wings (AraJet)
DR Development Group
Parque Industrial & Zona Franca Santo Domingo
Banco Popular Dominicano
Earthbound Holdings I
Gol Linhas Aéreas
- Assisted Dominican Wings (AraJet) in the restructuring of its capital investment and obtainment of permits to operate as a Dominican airline.
- Acts 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.
Ulises Cabrera counts the Asociación Popular de Ahorros y Préstamo (APAP) as a key client, advising the bank frequently on foreclosure litigation against debtors. The firm represents clients in lawsuits against the Dominican state, defending APAP in a title fraud matter and suing on behalf of land owner SONULI regarding compensation for land affected by road building. The team has also advised SONULI on title and demarcation issues, two areas of which the firm has much experience. Name partner Ulises Cabrera leads and ‘excellent’ senior associate Jeanny Aristy Santana assists in the majority of the firm’s matters, which are often for private clients; Cabrera co-led with Leslie Cabrera on an individual’s sale of lands amounting to 150m sq m. Freddy Zarzuela advises on housing projects, with experience in foreclosure cases.
Ulises Cabrera; Leslie Cabrera; Freddy Zarzuela; Jeanny Aristy Santana
‘The team has a specialist real estate practice, reflecting extensive knowledge and experience in different cases successfully handled for the company.’
‘The constant follow-up of the files and the agility of the administrative and judicial procedures carried out make its legal services stand out in the market.’
‘Definitely a benchmark in terms of real estate law and tourism, due to the experience, knowledge and capacity of the team.’
‘Jeanny Aristy is a young professional, with an extraordinary capacity for analysis and depth, a good strategist, available when needed, and approachable; Alexis Santil is dedicated to his clients; Luis Calderón is a professional with vast experience; and Monica Villafaña, partner: an excellent professional, intelligent, capable, organized and kind.’
‘The evolution and the excellent results to date of the Ulises Cabrera firm’s real estate area is remarkable, and it is a transformation that encompasses structure, logistics, and team management; always providing an excellent professional service, marked with the particular seal of the firm, something that always stands out: familiarity. They make up a committed team, well-prepared, and at the same time willing to maintain necessary customer service.’
‘They are exceptional people, who provide a quality service accompanied by friendly treatment, a timely service, and an impeccable response. The provision is one of the characteristics that distinguish the real estate team, always being receptive to the requirements raised. Jeanny Aristy: excellent professional and human being, with leadership capacity, highlighting her preparation, organisation in the performance of her functions. Luis Alcantara: excellent professional, always willing to provide a quality service. Alexis Santil: excellent professional, friendly treatment, and notable commitment.’
‘The knowledge, didactic capacity and professional behavior of Dr Zarzuela is a highly valued combination of attributes.’
‘The service and economic value are unbeatable. The response time is excellent and the quality of the lawyers in the areas that I have received help is very good. I have worked with José Jerez and Jeanny Aristy, both excellent.’
Asociación Popular de Ahorros y Préstamos, S.A. (APAP)
Plasticos del Caribe
Lissette Rey Vilchez
Ruddyard Montas Baziil
Patricia de Hostos
- Assisting Uniplaza Properties in a lawsuit seeking to void its ownership regarding a commercial property.
- Providing legal and strategic actions for Rudyard Montas Bazil to prevent the client losing property after a signature was forged and a bank attempted the foreclosure of the property based on the forged document.
- Assisting Lissette Rey Vilchez in monetizing her real estate assets that amount approximately 152,837,015 sq m.
Alburquerque Abogados – Consultores
José Manuel Alburquerque Prieto and Gina Hernández Vólquez co-lead the majority of Alburquerque Abogados – Consultores‘ real estate work, with GSM Investissements Dominicana as a key client; the pair advised on its US$403m tourism project, including hotel operation licences, tax exemptions, and negotiated with authorities including the Ministry of Tourism over matters such as a land access agreement and land use non-objection certificate. Laura Polanco Coste co-leads on advice to individuals on their property purchases, as well as acting for a financial institution in its acquisition of a property. Other work includes loan advice for a hotel, due diligence prior to sale of a tourist resort and division of properties due to the split of a corporate group.
José Manuel Alburquerque Prieto; Laura Polanco Coste; Gina Hernández Vólquez
‘Confidence, service, availability and knowledge of the sector.’
‘Unbeatable competence and attitude. reliable and honest.’
‘Service is 100% effective and on time, with an unparalleled human quality.’
‘They are very available and organized. You don’t have to chase to get a response. Answers are always complete and well argued.’
‘Good technology – filing and handling of information, files, follow-ups. Good knowledge of subjects, sectors, particularities of our business, etc…’
Catalonia Hotels and Resorts
Caliente Club & Resorts
John Alfonso López
Laurus Master Fund
- Provided legal counsel to GSM Investissements Dominican on all aspects related to the development, construction, and establishment of a US$403m project in Macao, including comprehensive advice on project management, obtaining permits, negotiating the operator contract, negotiating with local authorities for the partial use of land to access the beach by the local community for work and leisure, and lastly obtaining a license permit from the Ministry of Tourism.
- Advised Grupo Nolan regarding the drafting of promissory sale agreements for US$105,000, exchange of revisions to the promissory and definitive sale agreements, meetings, and document compilation, drafting of documents relating to the cancellation of existing indebtedness against J&H Engineers, drafting of payment receipts, document compilation, updating of definitive sale agreements and joint assistance and follow-up for the cancellation of existing mortgages surrounding the properties.
- Assisted Teófilo Cruz in the process of purchasing and transferring property, performing all the due diligence, and drafting the sales contracts for US$97,500 between the entity Grupo Puntacana and the client.
Luis Julio Jimenez and Vilma Veras oversee real estate work at Jiménez Peña, acting predominantly for hotels such as Marriott International. The team has provided ongoing advice to Sirenis Hotels on tourism tax exemption benefits, lease agreements, contracts for land acquisition and renegotiation of mortgage terms. Veras also assisted an investment fund with acquisition of real estate and a construction company with due diligence. The firm works on corporate structures and development trusts, as well as handling the setup of an export free zone near to Punta Cana International Airport for Grupo Punta Cana.
Luis Julio Jimenez; Vilma Veras
‘Fantastic team with great internal chemistry, very good communicators with an excellent understanding of the legal, financial, and business environment; very good government and business connections; client-responsive, relentless, results-oriented, problem solvers; very ethical, transparent, reasonable billings, and cost-conscious. Very effective in foreclosures.’
La Estancia Golf Resort
Grupo Punta Cana
Hola Tours & Travel
CCS Holding Group
- 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 a US$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 logistics hub to provide all goods and services related to the operation of the airport.
Pereyra & Asociados
Pereyra & Asociados advises lenders, private clients and companies from sectors such as telecoms, manufacturing and food and beverage on real estate matters, with an emphasis on dispute resolution but also including leasing, financing and acquisitions. Luis Miguel Pereyra has experience in real estate finance, litigation and foreclosure of property, with Emma Mejía Batlle assisting in sale/purchase transactions, permits and advice for individuals, and Gregorio García often provides support.
Luis Miguel Pereyra; Emma Mejía Batlle
‘The team is very responsive.’
‘Luis Miguel Pereyra has been a good partner and has supported our business in very challenging transactions.’
Environmental specialist Santroni Parsons focuses on environmental and regulatory advice for tourism clients regarding their developments. Led by Romina Santroni and Guily Shemer, who became partner in 2021, the team advises hotels and tourism projects, such as Moon Palace Punta Cana and Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club; this frequently involves permits, tax exemptions and regulatory compliance, but also includes sustainability, audits and labour law. Of counsel Patricia Bengoa was hired from Banco Popular in 2021; as director of the real estate department, she worked on the constitution of a trust for a real estate project development.
Romina Santroni; Guily Shemer; Patricia Bengoa
‘Provides a regulatory updates newsletter at no cost to customers.’
‘Experts in environmental issues.’
Moon Palace Resorts
Real Hotel Intercontinental Santo Domingo
Hotel Casas del XVI
Iberostar Hotels – Hotel Mercedes
Hacienda Samaná Bay
Hotel Quality Santo Domingo
Sanctuary Cap Cana
Hotel Ac Santiago
Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club
Tropics Golf Suites
- Acted as the key legal and environmental adviser for all aspects related to the development of Moon Palace Punta Cana, anticipated as one of the most emblematic and iconic tourist projects in the Dominican Republic, as it will be the first 18-floor luxury all-inclusive hotel in Punta Cana.
- Advised Costa Blanca, a real estate project in development stage located in the region of Boca Chica, on development permits, the handling of complex environment matters, tax exemptions, land use issues and daily corporate matters, as well as counsel and constitution of a trust.
- Advised the Murales Project, which aims to help enhance and improve the Malecón as one of the best tourist attractions in the city.