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November 27, 2007

For sale or rent, St. John

The Tradewinds has some interesting listings on their classifieds page today:

For Sale by Owner

1/4 acre lot
located in Coral Bay, flat lot with water views, affordable. 340-690-5192

For Sale by owner:
2 houses, 1/4 acre, stonework, water views, furnished, great rental history. $850,000.00 St. John, U.S.V.I.
Call (941) 497-2325

For Rent

Scenic Properties
693-7777
Cruz Bay
3 Bd/1 Ba, A/C,
$2100/mo.
2 Bd/1 Ba, A/C, W/D,
in town, $2350/mo.
Coral Bay
1 Bd/1 Ba, Coral Bay,
$1250/mo.
2Bd, 2 Ba Coral Bay


APARTMENTS FOR RENT
Chocolate Hole East:
1 Bed, 1 Bath mid-level Waterfront $1400.
Available Dec. 1st. 715-853-9696

3 bd/1ba Carolina, Coral Bay semi-fernished home $2,000 month call 340-714-2669

2BD/3BA apt. for rent, Mongoose, $2900/mo., A/C, W/D, parking available. Dec. 1st, semi-furnished. 774-8175, ext. 28.

Coral Bay, Seagrape Hill, view of Hurricane Hole. Two bedroom, one bath. Long term. $2,000/month plus utilities. 610-739-3361

Coral Bay cottage for
reasonable rent. 1 bed/1.5 bath available Dec. 07. Fully furnished, Coral Bay view, very private fenced yard. Long term or
minium of four months. Non-smoker, no pets. 779-4154

Archive link for this entry: For sale or rent, St. John | Comments (2) |

November 26, 2007

First BanCorp Announces FDIC and OCIF Lift Cease and Desist Orders

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- First BanCorp today announced that, following the most recent Safety and Soundness examination of FirstBank Puerto Rico (the "Bank"), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC") and the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions of Puerto Rico ("OCIF") terminated the Order to Cease and Desist dated March 16, 2006 related to the mortgage-related transactions with other financial institutions and the Order to Cease and Desist dated August 24, 2006 with respect to the Bank's compliance with Bank Secrecy Act ("BSA").

"We consider the lifting of the Cease and Desist Orders a major accomplishment because the action by the regulators reflects FirstBank's successful fulfillment of the requirements of both Orders. The Board of Directors and management remain steadfastly committed to maintain the highest safety and soundness standards and comply fully with the regulatory programs," said Luis Beauchamp, the Corporation's President and Chief Executive Officer.

With respect to the March 16, 2006 Cease and Desist Order, FirstBank has taken the required actions, including a substantial reduction of the credit risk concentration in connection with certain loans outstanding to two large mortgage originators in Puerto Rico to levels acceptable to regulatory agencies and within parameters set forth in the policies adopted by the Corporation. In addition, FirstBank conducted, through an independent consultant approved by the regulators, a comprehensive review of its mortgage portfolio to evaluate the credit risks associated with the mortgage portfolio. The review consisted of a full credit review performed by an expert consultant, which included a review of legal documents, collateral property values, and credit and income underwriting. Furthermore, the consultants performed a loss reserve analysis of the mortgage portfolio. As previously mentioned in a press release dated November 6, 2007, the Corporation's residential mortgage loan portfolio amounted to $3.0 billion or approximately 27% of the total loan portfolio as of September 30, 2007. At that time, the Corporation's residential mortgage portfolio consisted of loans in Puerto Rico (74%), loans in Florida (12%) and loans in the Virgin Islands (14%). More than 90% of the Corporation's residential mortgage loan portfolio consisted of fixed-rate, fully amortizing, full documentation loans that have a significantly lower risk than the typical sub-prime loans that have already affected the U.S. real estate market. The Corporation has never been active in negative amortization loans or adjustable rate mortgage loans (ARM's) with teaser rates. Total residential ARM's outstanding as of September 30, 2007 amounted to approximately $190 million. The annualized ratio of residential mortgage loans net charge-offs to average mortgage loans was 0.06% for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2007.

As a result of the August 24, 2006 Cease and Desist Order, the Bank has refined the core elements of its BSA Program, performed a full review of the BSA policies, programs and procedures, completed a comprehensive risk assessment of the Bank's customers, products, services, operations and internal controls, and businesses' geographic locations for BSA, expanded its training programs and reviewed its independent testing procedures to ensure full compliance with BSA.

About First BanCorp

First BanCorp is the parent corporation of FirstBank Puerto Rico, a state- chartered commercial bank with operations in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Florida; of FirstBank Insurance Agency; and of Ponce General Corporation. First BanCorp, FirstBank Puerto Rico and FirstBank Florida, formerly Unibank, the thrift subsidiary of Ponce General, all operate within U.S. banking laws and regulations. The Corporation operates a total of 153 financial services facilities throughout Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and Florida. Among the subsidiaries of FirstBank Puerto Rico are Money Express, a finance company; First Leasing and Car Rental, a car and truck rental leasing company; and FirstMortgage, a mortgage origination company. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, FirstBank operates First Insurance VI, an insurance agency and First Express, a small loan company. First BanCorp's common and preferred shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbols FBP, FBPPrA, FBPPrB, FBPPrC, FBPPrD and FBPPrE.

Safe Harbor

This press release may contain "forward-looking statements" concerning First BanCorp's (the "Corporation") future economic performance. The words or phrases "expect," "anticipate," "look forward," "should," "believes" and similar expressions are meant to identify "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation reform Act of 1995. The Corporation wishes to caution readers not to place undue reliance on any such "forward-looking statements," which speak only as of the date made, and to advise readers that various factors, including, the deteriorating economic conditions in Puerto Rico, interest rate risk relating to the secured loans to Doral Financial Corporation and R&G Financial Corporation, the continued repayment by Doral and R&G Financial of their outstanding loans, the impact on net income of the reduction in net interest income resulting from the repayment of a significant amount of the commercial loans to Doral, the impact of the consent order with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on the Corporation's future operations and results, the Corporation's ability to continue to implement the terms of the consent order, FirstBank's ability to issue brokered certificates of deposit, its liquidity, the ability to fund operations, changes in the interest rate environment, the deteriorating regional and national economic conditions, including the risks arising from credit and other risks of the Corporation's lending and investment activities, particularly the condo conversion loans in its Miami Agency, competitive and regulatory factors and legislative changes, could affect the Corporation's financial performance and could cause the Corporation's actual results for future periods to differ materially from those anticipated or projected. The Corporation does not undertake, and specifically disclaims any obligation, to update any "forward-looking statements" to reflect occurrences or unanticipated events or circumstances after the date of such statements.

November 21, 2007

Governor's Team Makes Case for New Property-Tax Rate Structure

From the St. Thomas Source:

Nov. 20, 2007 -- Despite concerns raised by senators about the impact new residential values will have on taxpayers, members of the governor's financial team said Tuesday that a new rate structure proposed by the governor would "spare the community" any major financial hardship.


St. John restaurants available

Frank Barnako is reporting that there are several restaurants for sale on St. John:

Pastory Gardens, $6 million - This is really a real estate land development offering

Stone Terrace, $650,000

Baked in the Sun, $450,000.

Chilly Billy's, $275,000

(Formerly) Duffy's, $200,000

Cafe Roma, $175,000

Sort of surprised to see the Stone Terrace on that list. Baked in the Sun at 450k? You would have to sell an awful lot of sandwiches to cover that!

Archive link for this entry: St. John restaurants available | |

November 13, 2007

Conservation Organization Hopes to Buy Maho Bay Camps Land

Interesting news from the St. John Source:

"Nov. 9, 2007 -- The Trust for Public Land is working to acquire the land under Maho Bay Camps, Greg Chelius, director of the trust's Florida and Caribbean programs, told members of the Rotary Club of St. John Friday.

"They have it for sale for a healthy price," Chelius told the nearly 20 people gathered at the Westin Resort and Villas Beach Cafe for the weekly meeting. He plans to meet with the owners' attorneys on Dec. 10 in New York."

Governor Vetoes Multiple Bills, Raises Issues About Separation of Powers

News from the St. Thomas Source today of Governor deJongh vetoing a couple of bills - including the following:

"DeJongh also vetoed a rezoning request that would have allowed for the construction of a commercial center -- replete with retail stores, luxury condominiums and themed restaurants -- to Smith Bay. During a recent Senate hearing, representatives from the Department of Planning and Natural Resources expressed concern about the request. Developers asked for a zoning variance -- which allows the property to be used for something other than its designated purpose -- to allow for the construction of a climate-controlled storage facility."

And other real estate related items.

November 12, 2007

First BanCorp 3Q Earnings Fall

From the AP:

NEW YORK First BanCorp, which offers banking services in Puerto Rico, Florida and the Virgin Islands, said Tuesday its third-quarter earnings fell 47 percent due to declining net interest income and rising loss reserves.

Net income fell to $14.1 million, or 5 cents per share, from $26.7 million, or 20 cents per share, during the same period a year ago.

Net interest income, the difference between how much it costs a bank to borrow money and how much it receives from lending that money, fell to $105 million in the third quarter, from $122.7 million during the same period last year. Declines in net interest income included an unrealized, non-cash valuation charge of $10.2 million from derivative and hedging activities.

Noninterest income, or fees and other charges, rose to $23.9 million in the third quarter, from $8 million during the same period a year ago.

First BanCorp increased its provision for loan losses to $34.3 million in the third quarter, a 66 percent jump from the $20.6 million held during the same period last year. Banks have been ramping up loss provisions in recent months due to rising delinquencies and defaults among loans, especially mortgages.

Shares fell 37 cents, or 4.7 percent, to $7.43 in afternoon trading. Earlier in the session, shares hit a 52-week low of $7.37. First BanCorp shares had traded between $7.60 and $13.87 during the past year.

It will be interesting to see how the collapse of the real estate market in the US affects the USVI. We are hearing that things are slow and inventories are high, but I don't know what that has done to prices so far.

Archive link for this entry: First BanCorp 3Q Earnings Fall | |

November 08, 2007

St. Croix Casino Developer Loses Gamble, Folds

Can't say that I didn't see this coming:

Nov. 7, 2007 -- After more than six years of delays, numerous extensions to its casino license, lawsuits by environmentalists and competitors and a Senate agreement to fund a $32 million conference center, Golden Gaming's plans to build a resort have come to a close with foreclosure and auction of the lands.

Paul Golden of Golden Gaming has tried to develop a casino resort costing several hundred million dollars on St. Croix's south shore since 2001. (See "Golden Gaming CEO Remains Steadfast in His Vision.")

On Dec. 1, 2006, the Connecticut-based hedge fund Silver Point Capital loaned Golden Gaming $15 million, secured by a mortgage on the casino development company's land holdings. Notice of default was received by Golden Gaming on June 12 and, on Aug. 30, Silver Point filed foreclosure papers on all of Golden Gaming's land holdings, claiming the lands in payment of the debt. On Oct. 25 a judgment was entered in Superior Court on St. Croix, saying the parties have agreed to terms of the foreclosure.


November 06, 2007

Waste Management Conference Kicks Off on St. John

An article today from the St. Thomas Source:

Nov. 5, 2007 -- Think outside the bin, urged Bermuda resident Allen Hunt at Monday's opening reception of the 13th annual ReCaribe 2007, a wider Caribbean waste-management conference running through Thursday at the V.I. Environmental Resource Station on St. John.

"If we don't, we're going to be stuck in the bin," he said at Monday's opening reception, held at Concordia Eco-tents and Condominiums pavilion.

Hunt, who serves as president of the Clean Islands International board of directors, has long worked in the waste-management field. Clean Islands manages VIERS for the University of the Virgin Islands.

The event brings together 42 people from 16 Caribbean countries, the U.S. mainland and Canada. Most are waste-management professionals.

Archive link for this entry: Waste Management Conference Kicks Off on St. John | |

Coldwell Banker, Stout Realty, St. Thomas


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