Santo Domingo’s Sans Souci Tourist Port is ready for its January 2009 inauguration. The first phase, the Don Diego port has been remodeled and a new terminal was built on the eastern side. The port project also includes the dredging of the Ozama River in order to accommodate the large cruise ships that call at Santo Domingo. Sans Souci Port Executive Director Luis Molina told Listin Diario that when the Don Diego port operation began in 2006, they received 40,000 cruise ship passengers in that first year. The 2007-2008 season has ended with more than twice that number, 82,000. He forecast that the 2008-2009 season would bring 125,000 passengers. Work on the port continues and the plans are for capacity to receive 9,000 cruise ship passengers per day.
The next phase involves the relocation of the Navy Base in order to prepare the way for high rises, a project that will change the Santo Domingo skyline, with 2,500 units planned. The master plan consists of mixed residential and commercial use, starting by mid-2010. “We want to develop Sans Souci as an entertainment venue within Santo Domingo,” he said. A large open commercial plaza will host restaurants, and a 1,000-seat amphitheater is also planned. “The idea is to create a walkable part of the city. Avenida Espana will border the project, becoming a well-lit boulevard with kiosks.