Caribbean Development Bank Supports Local Government


The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has agreed to provide capacity-building support for local government in the Caribbean.


Managing shrinking resources

The bank has recognised the need to develop the capacity in local government to manage limited shrinking resources, particularly in light of economic set-backs and resultant strain on finance and service delivery due to national responses to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

CLGF Caribbean will function as project and workshop facilitator for this CDB initiative which is designed along the concept of public financial management. 

Inclusive plannng and financial management

This project aims to build capacity at the local level in improved and inclusive municipal planning and financial management, consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Capacity building for professionals responsible for municipal finances will enable municipal councils to better support more effective service delivery in the context of key national and local priorities, as well as relevant governance concepts. Seven (7) of CDB’s Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) with active municipalities will be targeted, namely: The Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.


Developmental local government

The two-year project will involve consultations between the CDB and the Local Government sector in the seven countries. Owing to border closures, these consultations will be hosted virtually to discuss developmental local government at the ministry and municipal levels. Guided by the development priorities identified in the virtual consultations, the CDB will provide a week of training (next year) for each country to enhance the capacity of local government personnel in municipal planning, budgeting, and financial management. The CDB will also engage professional services to assist with the development of business plans for municipalities who need this support. 

CLGF Regional Programme Manager for the Caribbean, Ms Sandra Singh said: “This is an exciting and very welcome opportunity and we look forward to working closely with the Caribbean Development Bank.”

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Latin GRAMMY-Winning Singer/Songwriter Ricardo Montaner on His Motivation, His Mission and His Music

ricardo mon

Ricardo Montaner is one of the best-selling Latin singer/songwriters of all time. A versatile musician and preeminent romantic balladeer, Montaner has composed and edited over 300 hundred songs, released over 24 studio albums, sold over 65 million records worldwide, broken attendance records at arenas all over the globe, and boasts one of the most recognizable voices in the Spanish-speaking world. He was born in Argentina but moved to Venezuela as a small child, where he first got his start singing in a church music group. From there, music became his driving passion, a calling that has taken him to a level of artistic renown few can match.

Over the course of his illustrious career, Montaner has sent numerous singles to the top of the charts, including perennial favorites like “Me Va a Extrañar,” “Dejame Llorar,” “La Gloria de Dios,” “La Cima Del Cielo,” “Castillo Azul,” “Quisiera,” “Vasito de Agua” and many more. His song “Tan Enamorados” occupied the No.1 spot of Billboard ’s Hot Latin Songs chart for 47 weeks. In October 2011, the magazine cited him as one of the ten most outstanding Latin American artists in the last 25 years. Montaner continues to evolve as an artist, innovating with new styles and collaborating with contemporary hitmakers like Tainy, Farruko, and J Balvin. Along the way, Montaner’s picked up several prestigious accolades, including a Latin GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

Beyond his music, Montaner has always put an emphasis on giving back. A tireless advocate for children, Montaner’s philanthropic efforts have earned him Billboard’s Hope Award, a Global Ambassadorship for the Special Olympics, and the soon to be announced title of Ambassador for Peace on behalf of Peace Tech Lab, an international award-winning organization established by the United States Institute of Peace, dedicated to raising awareness about the need to use technology for social good.

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Broadcast Music caught up with this celebrated music creator to learn how he’s made it all work.


Since first starting your career in the 1980s, you’ve become one of the best-selling Latin artists of all time. How has your creative process evolved over the years?

I feel that the creative process mutates from the personal growth of the individual. We cannot forget that those of us who write develop stories based on our experiences. Therefore, I believe that it is a matter of evolution and with each year that passes, creativity gives you new elements with which to write a song.


After 24 albums, you’ve managed to stay current — what has been your secret?

There is no secret formula for staying relevant. I try to adapt to what is musically current without losing the legitimacy of my poetry. But, at the same time, those same life experiences that I spoke about earlier have a lot to do with keeping you aware of what’s happening — how things feel, how couples live, what they live for, how their relationships change according to what’s happening in the world.

Along with writing most of your own songs, you’ve collaborated with some incredible songwriters. What, in your experience, is the key to a successful collaboration?

I think a successful collaboration happens when you shake your egos off on the doormat. When you get the opportunity to write with someone, the secret for something wonderful to result from it is to check your ego at the door. You pick it back up when you leave the place. That’s the best way I can answer that question.


You have won countless accolades, including the Lifetime Achievement award at the Latin GRAMMY Awards in 2016. What accomplishment in your career are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the respect… of my fans, my colleagues, whom I respect with all my heart and conscience. There is no more beautiful prize for any human being than the respect of others.


You have managed to use your fame as a music creator as a powerful platform for your philanthropy via your two foundations, Hijos Del Sol and Ventana de Los Cielos, endeavors that earned you Billboard’s Spirit of Hope Award in 2010. How important to you is the concept of giving back?

We were designed to serve. When God brought us into the world, He brought us with the idea of ​​living in brotherhood and serving one another. In my family, we take this very seriously and, in many cases, it translates through our foundations. But it also translates into the personal satisfaction that comes from knowing that you have brought a smile to someone or that you have brought relief to someone. For me, philanthropy is like an immense title, but service is a title that I regard with greater pride and satisfaction.


Speak a little bit about your involvement with Peace Tech Lab? How did you get involved with that?

Peace Tech Lab is a non-profit organization whose mission is the construction of peace. Throughout my experience as a spokesperson and ambassador of different organizations such as UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Special Olympics, to name a few, one of my greatest satisfactions has been knowing that any advocacy work that one does echoes and manifests itself with an impact. Peace Tech Lab seeks that: to impact people’s lives around the world. I am very proud and happy to know there are results every time we run a campaign.


What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

I think Hispanic Heritage is nothing more than a reminder celebration of where we come from, of our dignified presence, and our achievements in this country.

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Multi Listing Services Could Help Estate Agents Achieve 12% Higher Sold Prices


One feature of the soon to launch OpenBrix property portal is their MLS function, or Multiple Listing Service, and it’s a benefit that Adam Pigott and his team are unashamedly pushing. 

Why? Well simply because it works to help all parties in the property market – not just the seller or the buyer or the agent – but all of them.


What is a Multi Listing Service?

An MLS is a database or network established by estate agents to re details on current property stock listed for sale or let. It essentially allows member estate agents to see what stock other estate agents have on their books with the wider goal of connecting buyers and sellers.

It has become the norm in the US and Canada and allows agents to offer properties that fit a buyer’s requirements that they may have otherwise been unable to do, with the agents involved choosing how to split the commission of the sale when working together.


Why should UK agents adopt an MLS platform? 

OpenBrix has researched MLS data for the Canadian property market, a market that’s similar in many respects to the UK, to ascertain whether agents that use and promote the MLS actually achieve higher prices for their clients. The answer is that they do – by 12%.

OpenBrix says that Canada residential real estate is a market worth $361billion USD in sales (2019). About half the size of the UK but nonetheless the 8th largest in the world (UK $745bn USD).

In July this year, data suggests that the average Canadian house sold at a value of $571,471 CAD. Whereas those that sold via the Canadian MLS system achieved $640,800 CAD – a difference of 12.1%. This analysis was across a sample size of 42,000 transactions.

If this were translated to the UK market it would suggest that agents could achieve £28,591 more for their sellers than the average UK house price of £235,673 (HM Land Reg). And if agents wanted to look at this purely selfishly, that could equate to earning almost £430 more per sale in fees at a typical 1.5%.


As validation of this, leading Canadian real-estate broker Irene Kaushansky of Kaushansky Brown in Toronto offers us this exclusive comment: 

“Having not lived in a real estate world without MLS I personally cannot imagine doing business without it. We have over 58,000 realtors in our Toronto Board but whether it’s that or 5000, or even 500, no matter how connected you are, there is no other way to know all agents and buyers. The more exposure there is for a property, the more buyers have an opportunity to see it and the greater the potential sale price for our sellers.”

“I’ll give you a very current example and it’s only because it happened this week.  A property was listed at $1.439m and after one week we had 47 private showing appointments.  On offer day, we received 5 offers. Here’s the thing – the top price from one local agent was $1.6m but the final sale price we achieved was actually $1.675m from one of two agents from outside the area that I didn’t even know. While this is just one example to illustrate the above, it gives you an idea of the power of MLS exposure in dollar terms.”


Adam Pigott, CEO of OpenBrix in an untypically brief comment on the matter ads “Using our MLS system on the OpenBrix portal could make agents and their clients more money. The data proves it and it’s plain for agents to see once they start to be open to the power of this concept. Don’t be left behind.”

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Decentralization, Decarbonization, Digitalization and The Emergence of New Business Models Will Shape the Global Power Sector

solar power

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Growth Opportunities from Decarbonization in the Global Power Market, 2019-2030, reveals that the 2020s will be crucial for all the participants in the power industry as the transition toward renewable energy is expected to increase, while coal takes a downturn in most developed markets.

Falling costs and renewable-friendly energy policies adopted by several countries in the six major geographies—North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, China, and India—are prominent reasons why solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind capacity additions are expected to soar this decade. An estimated $3.40 trillion will be invested in renewable energy during the next decade, including $2.72 trillion in wind and solar. By 2030, 54.1% of installed capacity will be renewable (including hydropower), and 37.9% will be a combination of solar and wind.

“Decentralization, decarbonization, and digitalization are the three key pillars of the global energy transition,” said Vasanth Krishnan, Senior Research Analyst, Industrial Practice, Frost & Sullivan. “The power sector will witness strong growth in decentralization during the decade, with annual global investment increasing from $53.14 billion in 2019 to $92.54 billion in 2030. Pressure will continue to build for further decarbonization within the power system as the rate of adoption of digital technologies increases in both existing and future plants to boost operational performance.”

Krishnan added: “The surge in need for flexibility is the most significant trend observed across developed markets. System operators are coming under increasing pressure to manage the system with uncertain renewable output, declining coal output, and demand-side variability. As a result, technologies and solutions such as battery energy storage systems (BESS), gas engines, demand-side response (DSR), and virtual power plants (VPP) are witnessing unprecedented adoption rates amongst utilities, solution providers, and end consumers.”

Conventional power plant operators will require extreme physical and digital agility to compete with alternative power sources and stay profitable in the longer term. In this regard, digital solutions will enable conventional thermal power plants to increase operational efficiency and asset utilization to meet the present and future needs of a smart power grid. Growth opportunities for market participants will vary considerably, depending on the region:

  • North America: High energy costs drive strong market growth for energy service and performance contracting, which will more than double its size during the decade to be worth $19.14 billion in 2030.
  • Latin America: Population and GDP growth, coupled with increasing electrification and industrialization, are forecast to drive electricity demand by 3.15% per annum to 2030.
  • Europe: By 2030, $12.91 billion is expected to be invested annually in battery energy storage. Total installed capacity is expected to go up from 2.91 GW in 2019 to 70.02 GW by 2030.
  • India: Renewable energy will account for 72.04% of capacity additions in India during the next decade. Competitive solar PV and wind project costs will be key to future investment.
  • China: Adoption of energy storage will accelerate rapidly in China. The country accounts for 62% of global battery storage production capacity and is investing to boost capacity further. This will benefit the energy storage sector, as it should enable battery prices to decline.
  • Middle East: Bolstered by Saudi Arabia’s shift in energy policy, the solar power market in the Middle East will witness a surge in activity levels in the 2020s. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and Iran are expected to be major markets for solar PV.

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Puerto Rico Reopening Beaches on Saturday Amid Drop in Coronavirus Cases

puerto rico

Puerto Rico is reopening beaches, casinos, gyms and movie theaters Saturday for three weeks, following a drop in new coronavirus cases.

Gov. Wanda Vázquez said the changes on the U.S. territory will be in effect until October 2.

People are still required to wear masks and maintain a safe social distance, especially at the beach.

The 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew for bars and nightclubs will remain in effect.

Vázquez said she will lift a 24-hour lockdown on Sundays and allow restaurants to increase their capacity from 25% to 50%.

Many business owners are praising the reopening, while some health experts warn if cases spike after the reopening, tighter restrictions will go into effect.

So far, Puerto Rico has reported more than 36,000 coronavirus infections and more than 500 deaths. 

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Medical Cannabis Sector Set to Benefit from US Presidential Election


Nawan Butt, Portfolio Manager of The Medical Cannabis and Wellness UCITS ETF (CBDX) says the second half of 2020 is looking positive for the Cannabis market as it is set to benefit from major catalysts on a macro and company specific level.

On a macro basis, he expects Cannabis to be a key talking point in the US Presidential election in November, and through the Democrats, it predicts greater long-term support for either or both of the SAFE and STATES Acts, which will help strengthen medical cannabis businesses in the US. (1)

In addition to this, he says multiple companies continue to commercialise their medical cannabis and CBD wellness strategies as key markets and research projects come online.

Nawan Butt, Portfolio Manager of CBDX, The Medical Cannabis and Wellness UCITS ETF said: “Under current regulations it is difficult to measure the appetite for cannabis investments in the United States. Due to their inability to invest in cannabis, US investors have found the next best associated growth vertical to capitalise on this opportunity.

 “Ancillary businesses have seen massive demand as a high growth sector of the economy. Despite the current climate we have seen large equity capital financings close for ancillary plays including Industrial Innovative Properties Ltd (IIPR – a leading cannabis greenhouse REIT) and GrowGeneration (GRWG – cannabis hydroponics supplier). Both these financings were completed in excess of their original size, and anecdotally were 5x and 3x oversubscribed respectively. These anecdotes speak to the pent-up demand for growth stocks which is currently unavailable to many investors.” Said Butt, of  CBDX, Medical Cannabis ETF  

Commenting on the performance of the Cannabis market in 2020, he said the first six months show a great test of resilience for nascent industries in high growth verticals such as cannabis.  The sector as a whole experienced a similar fate to other high-growth vertical but has come to outperform broader market indices such as the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100[1].

The underlying problem caused by the pandemic is the disruption of business as many industries experiences a stop in earnings with mandated shutdowns. Falling under the umbrella of medical services, most of the cannabis sector remained unaffected and continues with jobs and earnings growth.

However, within underlying sub-sectors, he stresses a differentiation of performance. Ancillary services combined for the strongest performance as companies with arms-length businesses to cannabis experience excess demand from investors in anticipation of progressive cannabis legislations in the US.

Pharmaceutical cannabinoids found a boost under the umbrella of healthcare and maintained strong upsides in valuation as the healthcare sector works overtime in an attempt to heal the world.

Butt further added: “There are few public companies operating in the CBD wellness space and their immediate shedding of excesses in response to business slowdown has stabilised valuations. Second quarter earnings results will provide us with a better idea of their earnings growth in times of duress, especially in retail.”

Lastly, is the medical cannabis sub-sector which experienced difficulty operating in a capital-intensive industry with profitability still a promise of tomorrow? The silver lining here is the rationalisation of industry participants which will consolidate future sales on the basis of more reliable infrastructure.

The Medical Cannabis and Wellness UCITS ETF, is a UCITS compliant Medical cannabis ETF listed on the LSE, XETRA and SIX. The fund tracks a rules-based Medical Cannabis and Wellness Equity Index from Solactive, consisting of publicly listed companies conducting legal business activities across nine thematic sub-sectors in the medical cannabis, hemp and CBD industries.

The Medical cannabis ETF, CBDX, seeks to provide targeted exposure to the rapidly expanding legal medical cannabis industry that is set for further growth as more countries legalise cannabis for medical use. When you trade ETFs, your capital is at risk.

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The Future of Meat in Canada is Shifting to Plant-Based Products

beyond meat

By Lisa Kramer, University of Toronto.

The plant-based foods sector is also starting to sizzle. Consumers are increasingly following the advice of the new Canada Food Guide, which highlights the nutritional benefits of protein sources like nuts, beans, legumes, pulses and tofu in place of meat, eggs, fish and dairy products. And these eating habits are expected to stick, with a recent report anticipating that up to 60 per cent of “meat” may come from non-animal sources by the year 2040.

Consistent with these shifts in consumer preferences, plant-based meat company Beyond Meat recently saw its stock price surge almost 40 per cent, after its first performance report as a publicly traded company revealed far better-than-expected sales.

This is the same company that also enjoyed one of the hottest initial public offerings of the year, rising more than 150 per cent on its first day of trading earlier this year. Overall, the stock’s price is up about 400 per cent since its debut.


Restaurants, grocers offer plant-based foods

Adapting to shifting consumer preferences, several Canadian restaurant chains have introduced plant-based items to their traditionally meat-laden menus. When A&W Canada launched the Beyond Meat Burger last fall, restaurants across the country sold out within days and took months to restock sufficient supplies to ensure a smooth relaunch.

Tim Hortons now sells vegan breakfast sausagesQuesada introduced tacos made with veggie meat and Earl’s has launched its own Beyond Burger as well as a new vegan menu.

Canadian grocery stores are also catering to consumers’ predilection for plant-based meats. Last month, mainstream supermarkets across the country began carrying the Beyond Burger, with some opting to place the product not in the health food aisles but instead in the butcher section alongside steaks and ribs.

With many consumers avoiding animal-sourced protein, “the opportunity emerges to shift focus to developing and producing alternate types of food,” says

And some retailers have additionally developed their own in-house varieties of plant-based foods, including the President’s Choice selection of veggie burgers, chicken-less fingers and beef-free crumble. Furthermore, shoppers now face an embarrassment of riches in the dairy section, with anyone seeking to avoid cow’s milk enjoying a choice of beverages made from soy, almond, coconut and oat.

These developments are indicative of a sea change in the market for vegan foods, with demand coming not just from vegetarians. Meat eaters, too, are drawn by the lower health risks associated with non-animal sourced proteins, a desire to reduce the environmental impact of their food choices and concerns about animal welfare.


A backlash

But some industry groups are attempting to push back against the plant-based food movement. In January, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency received a complaint about non-dairy products “being labelled as ‘cheese’ when they are allegedly not.”

Likewise, the Quebec Cattle Producers Federation recently expressed concern that calling veggie burgers “plant-based meat” is misleading to consumers, noting that the regulatory definition of meat is “the carcass of a food animal, the blood of a food animal, or a product or by-product of its carcass.” Yum?

But studies support the view that consumers are not the least bit confused by the use of monikers such as “milk” or “meat” in reference to plant-based foods. This makes sense, given the products’ labels tend to feature prominent information about their origins. And so prudent producers and retailers are preparing for the future by catering to consumer preferences for these foods rather than fixating on the past.

An important lesson emerges from another industry that faced a major shift in consumer demand. When digital photography was emerging as a new technology, a then-leader of the photography sector, Kodak, faced a difficult choice.

he company could cannibalize its own camera film sales to become an early leader in the digital space, which would be painful but potentially lucrative. Or it could try to postpone the inevitable and cling to a fading technology. Kodak chose the latter path, and the competition ate their lunch.

Now tech companies like Panasonic, Sony and Samsung stand alongside Canon and Nikon to dominate the world of digital photography, leaving Kodak a mere shadow of its former self.

Forward-looking meat-producing companies must reframe their thinking to recognize that they are in the protein production business. With many consumers avoiding animal-sourced protein, the opportunity emerges to shift focus to developing and producing alternate types of food.


Adapting to the future

The federal government stands ready to facilitate such changes, recently introducing more than $150 million in funding for the Proteins Industry Canada “supercluster,” aiming to encourage farmers and entrepreneurs in the Prairies to use new technology to increase the value of Canadian crops such as canola, wheat and pulses.

Another reason such a shift makes sense is the fact that raising animals as food is expensive. To produce a pound of animal-based protein requires many more pounds of crops and litres of water than are needed to produce a pound of plant-based protein.

With a surge in demand for commodities like peas, which are a key ingredient in products like the Beyond Burger, savvy Canadian farmers and producers are pivoting to adapt. Industry giant Maple Leaf Foods, for one, recently announced an investment of US$310 million to expand their plant-based offerings.

With all of these changes, investors in companies that are in the business of producing plant-based food stand to be winners, as does anyone who aims to enjoy the taste and texture of meat without the downsides of conventional meat.

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‘One vaccine isn’t enough’: Mexico aims for its own coronavirus fix


Mexico is working to produce its own COVID-19 vaccines and could have one ready by next spring, according to a researcher coordinating local efforts amid a global race to tame a disease that has infected over 26.75 million people worldwide.

Esther Orozco, coordinator of the scientific group that represents Mexico at the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, said research based on a virus that transmits the avian Newcastle disease is the most viable candidate to produce the first vaccine in Mexico.

Orozco said the vaccine, developed by the private firm Laboratorio Avimex with researchers from Mexico’s main public university, UNAM, and the Mexican Social Security Institute, is ready to start the first phase of testing with humans.

“They are advanced,” Orozco told Reuters in an interview. “I think it’s going to be ready by spring or the start of summer.”

She said the Avimex vaccine trials will begin with “dozens of humans.” A second stage will see “hundreds of patients” before thousands of volunteers take part in final Phase 3 studies.

Avimex, normally dedicated to the manufacture of vaccines and pharmaceutical products for animals, did not respond to a request for comment.

Mexico has launched a global effort to build diplomatic and commercial alliances to ensure it receives the approximately 200 million vaccine doses it estimates it will need for a disease that has infected more than 623,000 people and killed at least 66,851 in Latin America’s second-largest economy.

Mexico will take part in clinical trials of Italian and Russian vaccines, and has also struck a deal to produce pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca Plc’s (AZN.L) vaccine.


In addition, it is looking to participate in phase 3 trials with French drugmaker Sanofi (SASY.PA), Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ.N) Janssen unit and Chinese companies CanSino Biologics Inc (6185.HK) and Walvax Biotechnology Co Ltd (300142.SZ), all of which have agreed to guarantee access to their vaccines if successful.

Orozco said the Mexican vaccine will arrive “later” than leading foreign candidates. But she noted that 7.5 billion people on the planet will need to be inoculated, and the number of vaccines may be double that figure if two doses are needed.

“The world is going to need much more than one vaccine,” she said. “Our hope is that Mexico is a part of this even if we’re not the first to cross the finish line.”

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Hyatt Hotels Corporation announces plans for Thompson Monterrey, the first Thompson hotel in Mexicos state of Nuevo Leon

Thomson hotels

Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H) announced plans for Thompson Monterrey, the first Thompson hotel in Mexicos state of Nuevo Leon. The 150-room lifestyle hotel is expected to open in 2022 and will mark the fourth Thompson-bra.

Developed by Visa Desarrollos and Grow2, Thompson Monterrey will be located in the San Pedro Garza García, a contemporary financial and commercial area of Monterrey in the state of Nuevo León. Located near headquarters for many national and multinational companies and university campuses, the hotel will be part of Torre IKON, a new-build mixed-use complex with aproximately 215,000 square feet (20,000 square meters) of office space. Thompson Monterrey will occupy a portion of the 31-floor tower designed by Duda Paine Architects, which is set to be one of the most iconic high-rise buildings in the San Pedro Garza García.    

Thompson Monterrey will provide a truly superior experience with just the right amount of edge to the San Pedro Garza García through its thoughtfully curated design, culinary sophistication, and effortless yet intuitive service. From the moment guests arrive, they will experience elements of Monterrey’s culture in the hotel’s sought-after hub – its rooftop bar – which will reflect the guests’ authentically stylish and dynamic lifestyles with a buzzing social scene and thought-provoking arts and entertainment.

Situated in the main district of the San Pedro Garza García, guests will be stimulated by Monterrey’s vibrant neighborhoods and easily access multiple dining, shopping and entertainment options within walking distance of the hotel. With its close proximity to Monterrey International Airport (MTY), Thompson Monterrey will serve as a destination for both domestic and international travelers.

“We are thrilled to announce the development of the first Thompson hotel in Monterrey, marking a significant milestone for us and Hyatt,” said Luis Carlos Villarreal, president, Visa Desarrollos, S.A.P.I. de C.V. “Thompson Monterrey will offer a modern, luxury experience tailored to the destination, enhancing each guest’s personal travel journey by bridging connections to the local community through in-the-know moments and collaborations.” 

Thompson Monterrey is expected to join three Thompson Hotels properties in Mexico, including The Cape , Thompson Playa del Carmen , and Thompson Zihuatanejo . Additionally, Thompson Monterrey is the latest example of growth for the Thompson Hotels brand, joining recently announced projects , including Thompson Dallas (expected to open in Fall 2020), Thompson San Antonio (expected to open in early 2021), Thompson Austin (expected to open in 2021), Thompson Buckhead (expected to open in 2021), Thompson Savannah (expected to open in 2021), and Thompson Houston (expected to open in 2023).

“Thompson Monterrey comes at a time of significant growth for the Thompson Hotels brand and will represent the brand’s entry into a key new market,” said Alfredo Reynoso, director of  development, Mexico, Hyatt.

“The Thompson brand aligns very well with Monterrey’s position as a business and entertainment destination, and we look forward to introducing a new lifestyle offering that will provide experiences that celebrate its destination in a sophisticated way for guests and locals alike.”

For more information, please visit .

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Foodtastic continues its impressive growth with the purchase of L’Gros Luxe and the opening of several new restaurants


Foodtastic Inc. is pleased to announce that it continues its growth strategy with the acquisition of le L’Gros Luxe and Rotisserie de Joliette, and its expansion into the Toronto restaurant market with the opening of its newest Big Rig Kitchen and Brewery.

Peter Mammas, President and Chief Executive Officer of Foodtastic, said, “L’Gros Luxe is a great local Quebec brand and we are excited to welcome it into the Foodtastic family. We are happy to be able to help this great concept through this difficult time, which has affected many restaurants and brands. L’Gros luxe has been a Quebec favorite for several years, serving delicious comfort food and great cocktails.  Our mission is to help the existing franchisees, through our marketing, operations, and buying power. L’Gros Luxe is the perfect conversion concept for many restaurants, and we are already looking at several opportunities in the greater Montreal area, as well as reopening several locations that closed due to COVID 19. This acquisition of a homegrown Quebec business is consistent with our strategy of acquiring quality brands with growth potential that complement our existing brand portfolio.” Said Peter Mammas, President and Chief Executive Officer of Foodtastic.

An important part of the transaction was the retention of Alex Bastide, the creator of L’Gros Luxe, who will retain an equity stake in the concept. “Foodtastic is an amazing company and I’m thrilled to continue being a part of L’Gros Luxe, and its exciting future! With the financial support from Foodtastic we can now expand our operations throughout Quebec.” said Alex Bastide


Rotisserie Joliette

“We are very happy to acquire Rotisserie Joliette, the first rotisserie founded in 1960 by the Benny family. The family continued its expansion throughout the province with the Au Coq and Rotisserie Benny brands, both of which are part of the Foodtastic family” added Mr. Mammas


Supporting Franchisees, a main concern for Foodtastic

The restaurant industry is traversing a very difficult period caused by COVID 19. Many restaurants were forced to close due to the pandemic, and when they were allowed to re-open it was with limited seating. Foodtastic quickly recognized that our franchisees would need all the support and sales they could get, and we quickly transitioned our brands to take-out and delivery. This immediate action coupled with government programs helped many locations to remain open through the early months and minimize their losses. Foodtastic also eliminated franchise fees while dining rooms were closed at all their sit-down locations.

“Deferring royalties, like many other chains did, would have only pushed the financial burden to our franchisees down the road, we felt we had to step up and help them unconditionally and that is what we did by completely forgiving royalties for 3 months.” 


Foodtastic continues with its expansion strategy

Although the restaurant industry is facing a very uncertain future, Foodtastic is continuing its pursuit to expand its current restaurant system. Foodtastic is very pleased to announce that 6 new restaurants have opened in the last few weeks creating over 200 jobs in Quebec City, Montréal, Gatineau and Toronto.

  • Au Coq, 7070 Sherbrooke, Montreal
  • Big Rig, 5860 Mavis, Mississauga
  • Chocolato, 2 Petit Champlain, Québec
  • Monza, 5660 Sherbrooke, Montreal
  • Monza Promenades Gatineau
  • Souvlaki Bar, 105 Ave Guindon, Saint-Sauveur

“We are very pleased with the work our entire team has done which has allowed us to continue with the opening of new locations. Currently we are focused on growing our Rotisserie Benny and Au Coq brands, and will move forward with the opening of 12 new locations over the next year.” Mr. Mammas continued “We realise that the next several months will be challenged for our dining room concepts but believe with the continued help from the government, landlords, and suppliers we will be able to support our franchisees through these difficult times”


4 New restaurants will be also be opening in September:

  • Au Coq Gare Centrale
  • Big Rig Richmond Hill
  • La Chambre Blainville
  • Chocolato – Delray Beach USA


Acquisitions a major part of the Foodtastic growth plan

Foodtastic has acquired prominent brands over the last 20 months. We will continue to pursue our strategy by investing in acquiring new brands in the next couple years, as well as supporting our existing network.” concluded Mr. Mammas

Foodtastic is the franchisor of multiple restaurant concepts including, Au Coq, La Belle et La Boeuf, Monza, Carlos & Pepe’s, Souvlaki Bar, Nickels, Rotisseries Benny, Chocolato, Big Rig and Bacaro. Foodtastic is a leader in the restaurant franchising business with over 95 restaurants and $180 million in annualized sales.

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