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Settler's Guide To The VI
Settler's Handbook for the USVI $14.95
Franko's Map of the US Virgin Islands
Franko's guide map of the U.S. Virgin Islands $9.95

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St. Thomas

Latest Entries in St. Thomas:
  • Developer, Local Activists Spar Over Vessup, Muller Bay Plans
  • 35 Cabrita Point Estate Homesites
  • Federal Warrant Issued for Missing St. Thomas Real Estate Broker
  • Speculation Rampant Over Vanished St. Thomas Real Estate Broker
  • Arrest Warrant Issued for Fugitive Realtor

February 14, 2011

Developer, Local Activists Spar Over Vessup, Muller Bay Plans

From the St. Thomas Source:

Lionstone Development is once again locking horns with environmentalists and local residents over development at Vessup and Muller bays.

Bruce Lazar, executive vice president of Lionstone Development, was on St. Thomas Wednesday to promote the project, which he claims will give local Vessup beachgoers a better beach and a say in how it should be improved.
But local environmentalists are not buying it.

When he appeared on the "Face to Face with Addie Ottley" show Wednesday night to unveil the drawings done by Springline Architects of St. Thomas, callers to the show were concerned about access and probable negative impacts on the local ecosystems.

Andrea King, board director/founder of the Red Hook Community Alliance, said she is arranging an hour of show time on "Face to Face" to "give us, the community, our time.

July 19, 2010

35 Cabrita Point Estate Homesites


The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club® & John Foster Real Estate Announce the release of 35 Cabrita Point Estate Homesites

Cabrita Point, with breathtaking views and only steps away from The Ritz-Carlton®, offers an island lifestyle most will only dream of. Please join us on Wednesday to learn about this extraordinary real estate opportunity.

Complimentary Wine and Cheese Reception
Wednesday, July 21st 5:30pm to 7:30pm
The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club Membership Gallery (Located below the Allamanda Building)

Cabrita Point, St. Thomas is an exceptional location set in one of the most picturesque destinations, located adjacent to the four-diamond Ritz Carlton and its sugar white sandy beaches. View the mountainous peaks of St. John, the crystal blue waters of Great Bay, or the yacht mecca of RED Hook—every future home will have a breathtaking vista. This exclusive peninsula will provide future owners a sense of exclusivity and privacy rarely experienced in the Caribbean.

Opportunity awaits Thirty Five (35) fortunate lot purchasers. All parcels are oceanfront or water view. Te R-1 zoning code will allow each lot owner to build detached single or two family homes. The land is subject to the CZM approval process, however single and two family residences require a “minor” CZM permit, which is typically a 60 day process. New waterfront and water view homes are typically priced from $500 to $1,000/interior sq ft, ranging in price from $1.8 to $million. This is a unique and historic opportunity to own and experience a rare lifestyle/ investment in the US Virgin Islands.

Special Offering for Initial Plot Purchasers!
For more information call Peter Briggs
(O) 340-776-5000 (M) 340-513-1850

Archive link for this entry: 35 Cabrita Point Estate Homesites | |

March 26, 2010

Federal Warrant Issued for Missing St. Thomas Real Estate Broker

The story is really quite bizzare:

"The U.S. Department of Justice this week issued a federal warrant for the arrest and extradition of fugitive St. Thomas real estate broker..."

February 10, 2010

Speculation Rampant Over Vanished St. Thomas Real Estate Broker

This is one strange story - more from the St. Thomas Source:

She fled to Venezuela via Cuba ... or lost all her money in high-stakes poker tournaments … or she’s living a posh life under federal witness protection, and the feds will soon fix this whole sordid mess.

That’s just a taste—hors d'oeuvres, if you will—of a juicy feast of rumors tempting St. Thomians in the wake of the sudden disappearance of St. Thomas real estate broker and businesswoman Rosemary Sauter.

The truth, however, has yet to even be sketched by law enforcement officials now on the lookout for Sauter ever since she vanished early last week.

February 08, 2010

Arrest Warrant Issued for Fugitive Realtor

Something strange happening on St. Thomas - Rosemary did my taxes one year and I did know her professionally:

Once the headquarters of the largest real estate brokerage on St. Thomas, the doors to RE/MAX Dream Properties in Lockhart Gardens were closed and locked Friday, sealed with bright yellow police tape that read, “Crime Scene. Do Not Cross.”

osemary Sauter-Frett, the owner of the brokerage, is being hunted by local authorities, and if she has fled the territory could be the target of the FBI.

I have no idea about what is happening - the St. Thomas Source has more, but details at this point are sketchy.

Archive link for this entry: Arrest Warrant Issued for Fugitive Realtor | |

July 17, 2009

Act fast!

This is a pretty interesting story - a government sale of seized property:

More of the back story here:

Archive link for this entry: Act fast! | |

April 21, 2009

CZM Says 'No' to Mandahl Development

Some St. Thomas news from The Source:

March 26, 2009 -- While only half filled with people, the Lockhart Elementary School auditorium reverberated with cheers and applause Thursday night after the St. Thomas Coastal Zone Management Committee shot down a proposal for a large-scale marina and housing development in Estate Mandahl.
Archive link for this entry: CZM Says 'No' to Mandahl Development | |

March 13, 2009

Senate Committee Fails to Vote on Thatch Cay Development

The St. Thomas Source has an article up about the Thatch Cay development application:

" March 11, 2009 -- Banging the gavel a little after midnight Thursday, Sen. Alvin L. Williams announced that after six hours of debate, senators would continue discussion and possibly vote on an application for the development of Thatch Cay at another hearing scheduled for later in the month.

The meeting kicked off around 6 p.m. Wednesday, with community members -- many of whom have long spoken out against the proposed development -- packing the legislative chambers on St. Thomas. Williams, head of the Senate's Planning and Environmental Protection Committee, said later that he didn't want to rush the vote on the application, but instead give residents and senators who were not able to make it to the hearing another chance to testify and ask questions on March 27. "

This story - and the planned project - has been going on for a long, long, time. It is sort of interesting to see the developers still pushing with the current economic conditions - I would assume they have the funding to go forward - but any projects of this nature at the moment seem a little dubious to me.

December 01, 2008

Mandahl Throng Gathers To Fight Development

People are trying to halt progress on St. Thomas!

Nov. 30, 2008 -- The residents of Estate Mandahl aren't keeping quiet any longer. After their debut on the radio last week, the group met by the hundreds Sunday afternoon to publicly oppose a large-scale marina and residential housing development proposed for their area, and made plans to fight the project till the very end.
Archive link for this entry: Mandahl Throng Gathers To Fight Development | |

October 29, 2008

Chamber of Commerce membership luncheon Oct. 31


The St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce will host a membership luncheon on Friday, October 31st at the Holiday Inn Windward Passage at 12:00 Noon. The guest speaker for the luncheon is Mr. Lawrence J. Kupfer. Mr. Kupfer has been President and Chief Operating Officer of HOVENSA L.L.C., a 500,000 barrel per day joint venture refinery owned by Hess Corporation and Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) since October 2003. Mr. Kupfer has over 25 years of refining experience, including 12 years involvement with the St. Croix refinery. His refining experience has included assignments in construction, technical services, operations, accounting, supply and trading, and administration.

As President and Chief Operating Officer of HOVENSA L.L.C., he has continued the company's program for excellence in refining. The refinery has significantly improved its safety record and overall levels of utilization.

According to Joe Aubain, Chamber Executive Director, "Mr. Kupfer will address Hovensa's impact on the local community and its position in the world market".

The luncheon will be held at the Restaurant at Holiday Inn - Windward Passage and begin promptly at 12:00 Noon. Members will have an opportunity for questions following Mr. Kupfer's presentation. The cost for the luncheon is $35.00 for Chamber members and $40.00 for non-members. Reservations are requested and can be made by calling the Chamber office at 776-0100.

October 03, 2008

Jumeirah to Manage The Preserve at Botany Bay, St. Thomas

Timbers Resorts appointed Jumeirah Group, the Dubai-based luxury international hospitality management group and member of Dubai Holding, to manage the property formerly known as The Preserve at Botany Bay. The luxury, multi-use resort, is scheduled to open in 2011 under the name Jumeirah Botany Bay Resort, and will occupy the entire western tip of St. Thomas. The 400-acre property will include a five-star, 84-room boutique hotel managed by Jumeirah, as well as 30 fractional residences, 30 whole ownership villas and up to 20 grand estates managed by Jumeirah Living. For further information, visit

May 21, 2008

Security Clears Room After Hull Bay Crowd Overwhelms CZM Hearing

People want to be heard about this new dock! From The Source:

May 20, 2008 -- A crowd of frustrated and outspoken residents from around Hull Bay overflowed the Coastal Zone Management Commission hearing room Tuesday and eventually had to be cleared by a Port Authority security officer.

The hearing at the Cyril E. King Airport was set to review the proposal by Island Green to build a dock on Inner Brass Island, or cay.

However, many attendees, skeptical that the development would be limited to the dock, expressed suspicion that they were only seeing an application for part of a larger development in the works.

It is good to see citizens involved. The people of St. Thomas tend to think that the Brass islands are their islands, and I think that is great. They are very wary of developing this spot - this should be an interesting story going forward.

May 16, 2008

CZM Approves Thatch Cay Development

Well I guess it was bound to happen:

May 15, 2008 -- In a landmark decision Tuesday evening, the Coastal Zone Management Committee approved residential development for Thatch Cay.

The development will provide for slightly more than 100 dwelling units, and includes infrastructure for water, power, waste disposal and other utilities and amenities.

"The applicant's objective, as described in the environmental-assessment report, is to develop ... a world-class residential community on Thatch Cay," the recommendation noted.

While most of the staff findings recommended approval without raising any objections, the recommendation did limit the developer only to the dock proposed for this development.

"Staff finds that it will be necessary to minimize any further alteration of the seabed surrounding Thatch Cay," the report said. "As such, no additional docks will be permitted for any future development."

I can't say this is a good idea. There are only so few places left in the world - every one doesn't have to be developed. I can understand why the owners/developers would, but personally it would be great to just say enough at some point. It can be done.

Archive link for this entry: CZM Approves Thatch Cay Development | |

October 08, 2007

Developer's trail of stalled projects runs through area

Tony Porter seems to be in a lot of hot water. What was his project in the USVI? (Another source says it was on St. Thomas).

"Porter, living in an undisclosed location in North Carolina, has left a trail of stalled real estate projects, from the Palmetto State to far-flung places such as the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to court documents. His legal and financial troubles have stunned some of the people who did business with him, including real estate developer Tom Sacks."

June 26, 2007

St. Thomas- St. John Chamber of Commerce Buiness After Hours

The Schneider Regional Medical Center
will host the next

St. Thomas- St. John Chamber of Commerce

Thursday, June 28, 2007

5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The Schneider Regional Medical Center request the pleasure of your company at a special Business After Hours introducing our community to the new PET/SCAN Services now being provided at the Schneider Regional Medical Center. Business After will be held at the rear of Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute.

Complimentary Hors d'oeuvres, Door Prizes, The Famous Chamber $2.00 Bar, 50/50 raffle and entertainment.

We encourage members, guest and potential members to attend!

This is really a great way to meet people in the business community on St. Thomas - we used to attend often when we lived there.

June 25, 2007

CZM Denies Permit for Great St. James Island Development

A couple of days behind on this story, but here it is from the St. Thomas Source:

June 21, 2007 -- Citing various environmental and ecological concerns, members of the Coastal Zone Management Committee voted unanimously earlier this week to deny plans for the construction of a high-end housing community on Great St. James Island.

Detailed within a lengthy CZM permit application, the plans included the building of 53 individual home units, priced at about $750,000 apiece. The documents state that the proposed project would have spanned approximately 163 acres, with each house sitting on three acres of land.

More here.

June 15, 2007

Red Hook: Lots of Problems, Few Immediate Solutions

The St. Thomas Source has an article this morning about crime and other issues in Red Hook:

June 14, 2007 – Red Hook residents and business owners brought issues such as lack of police presence and increasing crimes before the Public Safety, Homeland Security and Justice Committee Wednesday night.

Testifiers also addressed other issues such as road conditions, parking and traffic in that area.

An issue continually revisited throughout the evening was increasing crime in the Red Hook area. Residents noted that with no permanent police station in the area, the crime problem will only grow worse.

Archive link for this entry: Red Hook: Lots of Problems, Few Immediate Solutions | |

June 08, 2007

Tom Bolt & Associates

Tom Bolt has been practicing law in the Virgin Islands for more than 20 years. I met him once or twice at various functions when living on St. Thomas, but never really got to him on more than on a say hello basis. He has fully grasped the idea of the Internet however, and there is a lot of good stuff on his website for people interested in real estate in the Virgin Islands, including this PDF article, "Advising New Landlords". He is also a candidate for the Virgin Islands Constitutional Convention.

Archive link for this entry: Tom Bolt & Associates | |

June 05, 2007

Homeownership Expo, Saturday June 9th, St. Thomas

Archive link for this entry: Homeownership Expo, Saturday June 9th, St. Thomas | |

May 25, 2007

Residents Gather to Address Potential 'Tragedy' on Great St. James

The St. Thomas Source is reporting on a potentially huge project on Great St. James:

May 24, 2007 -- A "great tragedy" is brewing in the Virgin Islands, a small group of residents said Thursday evening, gathering at the airport on St. Thomas to voice their concerns over a large-scale development proposed for Great St. James Island.

During a public hearing held before the Coastal Zone Management governing board, residents cited a bevy of environmental and ecological concerns in an effort to persuade board members to thoroughly weigh the pros and cons of the project before giving a final go-ahead on the required CZM permit application.

Project-design plans detail the construction of 53 individual home units, which will sit atop three-acre lots connected by roadways. The development itself will span about 163 acres -- the entirety of plots marked on CZM maps as A, B and C.

More here. Color me skeptical - it would be nice to see that island left alone. The article mentions our old friend, environmentalist and all around gadfly (in a good sense) Jason Budsan - I hope he has some support on this issue.

May 22, 2007

Island Global Yachting, Yacht Haven Grande

Island Global Yachting announced the opening of Yacht Haven Grande on St. Thomas, USVI on March 26, 2007. This is old news but I wanted to make sure we had it on the site for reference. Their full press release is below the fold.


NEW YORK, NY (March 26, 2007) Island Global Yachting (IGY) held the Grande Opening of its first luxury yacht development—Yacht Haven Grande—on March 17th in St. Thomas, USVI, with more than 50 megayachts in attendance. Dignitaries from the USVI, including Governor John P. DeJohngh, as well as dignitaries and heads of state from around the Caribbean islands, also attended. Celebrities, financiers, and real estate executives from such diverse places as New York, Miami, and Dubai flew in for the festivities, which included 150 local performers, a Beach Boys Concert, and a grande finale of fireworks over the harbor.

Yacht Haven Grande broke ground in 2004 and today represents the most comprehensive advanced marina and upland facility in the Caribbean. Dubbed a “playground by the sea”, Yacht Haven Grande has hosted some of the world’s most spectacular megayachts at its state-of-the-art docks and marina facilities.

Andrew Farkas, CEO, IGY, said, “Yacht Haven Grande offers unparalleled service to the owners and crews of the worlds most luxurious megayachts, while also providing a new shopping and dining destination to the tourists and residents of St. Thomas. As the jewel in the crown of the IGY network, YHG brings the latest technology and the glamour of the Riviera to the USVI.

The property includes an esplanade with 3 restaurants and 80,000 square feet of retail space, which is open to the public. Nowhere else on St. Thomas can a cruise ship visitor, tourist or resident enjoy waterside dining and shopping in such a luxurious environment.

Stores include Louis Vuitton, Coach, Bulgari, BCBG, Bebe, White House Black Market, Little Switzerland, Royal Caribbean, Trident, Roberto Coin, and many more. The waterside restaurants include W!kked, casual and fun food and drink, Fat Turtle, a Caribbean roadhouse serving barbeque, pizzas, and frozen drinks, and Grande Cru, a more formal wine bistro offering Mediterranean fare. Next fall will see the opening of Three60, a fine dining establishment, with panoramic views overlooking the harbor.

The property also features 12 waterside condominiums each with 3 bedrooms, 3 ½ baths, and 2 terraces and plunge pool, all with views of the harbor. The Residences at Yacht Haven Grande are currently on sale starting at $2 million.

Guests and residents may also enjoy two tennis courts, a putting green, swimming pool, and, if they wish, office space. The Club at Yacht Haven Grande will open to members in September of 2007. Yacht Club membership will include personalized amenities, recreational facilities and private dining.
The Marina at Yacht Haven Grande offers world-class amenities such as high-speed in-slip fueling, black water pump-out and waste oil removal; up to 600 amps of 3-phase power; WiFi, 24 hour security; side-to berthing for yachts up to 450 feet and beyond; and 18 foot concrete docks and piers. The marina services include, beautifully designed and appointed marina facilities dedicated for crew, owners and guests, including comprehensive nautical provisioning, catering, laundry, florist, and ships’ chandlery.

Yacht Haven Grande, a member of the Island Global Yachting Group (IGY), marina, retail and residential waterside concept is bringing the boating lifestyle onto land. Island Global Yachting (“IGY”) was formed in 2005 by Island Capital Group LLC to acquire, develop, manage and operate world-class marinas around the globe. Founded by Andrew L. Farkas in 2003, Island Capital Group LLC is a New York merchant banking firm specializing in real estate, real estate securities, and securitization. IGY focuses on acquiring, controlling and/or servicing luxury-yacht marinas and surrounding upland real estate properties in key regions from the Caribbean to Mexico and the Arabian Gulf. IGY marinas operate under the signature Yacht Haven Grande Collection and the IGY series brands as well as several private labels. Headquartered in New York & Fort Lauderdale, IGY also has offices in Greenville, South Carolina; St. Thomas, USVI; and Dubai, UAE. For more information, please visit

For more information contact:

Suzanne Nugent

+1 212 705 5052

Archive link for this entry: Island Global Yachting, Yacht Haven Grande | |

May 14, 2007

He Buys, He Fixes

Interesting profile from the Wall Street Journal:

Entrepreneurs like Gordon Black never really retire. The 65-year-old, who started a market-research firm in 1975 that went on to become Harris Interactive Inc., a prominent polling company, tried to stop working. But he soon found himself starting another business -- albeit one that took him in a completely different direction.

Mr. Black took Harris public on Nasdaq in 1999 and spent five years as chief executive. (The firm, long known for its public-opinion barometer, the Harris Poll, made a splash when it became the first outlet to use Internet polls to correctly predict the outcome of the 2000 presidential election.) Mr. Black retired in 2004, with generous amounts of time and money on his hands. But he soon decided he didn't want to spend the rest of his days at his home in Rochester, N.Y.

EN-AA264_PROFBL_20070511180341-1.jpg"I didn't want to stay in the middle of the Snow Belt and the high-tax belt," Mr. Black says laughing. Looking for sun and a place where his windfall would go further, he settled on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. "I came down here because it's gorgeous, but it also happens to have an attractive tax situation, so I immediately started thinking of setting up a new company."

Within a few months, he hit upon the idea of starting a real-estate business. After buying and renovating a villa for himself and his fiancée, Annika Van Wambeke, Mr. Black decided to buy additional properties to fix up and sell.

"We bought a second house, and then a third, and my real-estate business just sort of happened," says Mr. Black, who so far has purchased seven homes, four of which have already sold. He looks for high-end homes selling for more than $1 million that are in a state of disrepair (some have been hit by hurricanes), and then renovates them from top to bottom with fixtures imported from the U.S. Ms. Van Wambeke is in charge of the decorating and interior design.

Mr. Black's customers are mostly Americans, the majority from New York, looking for vacation homes or retirement residences. One of his properties, a waterfront home with a 345-foot private beach, is on the market for $4.3 million. "People are ready to spend $2 million to $5 million on the right house," he says.

Mr. Black says he is always on the lookout for properties, and has real-estate agents alert him when a house that fits his needs hits the market. He works with architects and builders in planning each redesign, and has developed relationships with U.S.-based suppliers of furniture, appliances and building materials, importing every last tile, window and dishwasher. Each renovation takes about six months to a year, though one particularly run-down house took 16 months.

"It's very time consuming, but I love learning a new set of skills," says Mr. Black, who had never dabbled in speculative real estate before. "After 35 years of doing basically the same thing, the challenge of learning about a whole new market is fun for me."

Not that he doesn't have any free time. When not overseeing work on his houses, Mr. Black spends afternoons on his boat, and travels often to the U.S. and Paris, where he owns an apartment. He is also involved in charitable organizations on the island and frequently hosts friends and family.

"When you live in the Caribbean," he says, "you have a constant flow of guests."

Archive link for this entry: He Buys, He Fixes | |

April 18, 2007

Chamber After Hours April 19th

St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce
Business After Hours
Thursday, April 19, 2007 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Location: Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa The casual atmosphere. The thoughtful touches. The attentive, courteous service.
It's easy to understand why Wyndham Hotels are so popular with both business travelers and leisure travelers.
Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, we are certain you'll agree: time spent with us is time well spent. COMPLIMENTARY HORS D'OEUVRES • DOOR PRIZES THE FAMOUS CHAMBER $2.00 BAR • CHAMBER 60/50 RAFFLE
We encourage members and potential members to attend.
Archive link for this entry: Chamber After Hours April 19th | |

April 10, 2007

Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours

James Clevenger Martin Company and Lockhart Realty, Inc.
Will host the next
St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce
Thursday, April 12, 2007 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
An Art Exhibition of recent oil paintings of James Clevenger Martin
Rodeo Collection 2006 ~ International Boats
Watercolors and drawings produced by James in the last 30-40 years.
This event will be held at Grand Hotel Galleria,
Second Floor next to the Emancipation Garden.
There will be complimentary hors d'oeuvres, door prizes,
50/50 Raffle and The Famous Chamber $2.00 Bar.
We encourage members, guest and potential members to attend!

Always a good way to meet some residents -
Archive link for this entry: Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours | |

February 27, 2007

Virgin Islands Classifieds

Virgin Islands On Line has free classifieds for the USVI. If you have anything to sell, including homes, land, furnishing, etc. you should check it out. Leave an ad for FREE or maybe find something you need.

Archive link for this entry: Virgin Islands Classifieds | |

February 11, 2007

Wyndham Vacation Ownership Acquires Grand Beach Palace Resort in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Wyndham Vacation Ownership, the world's largest vacation ownership company and a member of the Wyndham Worldwide family of companies (NYSE: WYN - News), today announced that it has acquired the Grand Beach Palace resort (formerly the Renaissance Grand Hotel) located on the northeast side of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, with plans to convert the property into its flagship Caribbean timeshare resort. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The beachfront property, which has remained vacant for more than two years, will undergo a $40 million renovation including the conversion of its 290 existing hotel rooms into 143 fully furnished condominium-styled timeshare units. The resort is expected to welcome its first guests in late 2008 and will operate within Wyndham Vacation Ownership's FairShare Plus portfolio of resort properties.

U. S. Virgin Islands Real Estate and MLS service

"Wyndham timeshare owners consistently rank St. Thomas among their top locations for vacationing, and we're tremendously pleased to expand our presence in the Caribbean with the acquisition and repositioning of this property as an upscale vacation ownership resort," said Franz Hanning, Wyndham Vacation Ownership president and chief executive officer. "We look forward to working closely with Governor deJongh, local planning and development officials and other leaders throughout the community to complete this exciting vision."

"The reopening of this beachfront property on the East End of St. Thomas and the planned multi-million dollar renovation is a significant boon for not only the hospitality industry but for local contractors and development firms that will likely be called into service as this project takes shape," said U.S. Virgin Islands Governor John deJongh. "We welcome the Wyndham Vacation Ownership brand to the Virgin Islands and look forward to the high level of service presently provided at another Wyndham brand on St. Thomas, The Sugar Bay Resort."

The newly acquired resort is situated within six hillside and seven poolside buildings that will be converted into a combination of studio, one-, two-, and three bedroom condominium-styled units, as well as a select number of presidential suites. Other amenities include two on-site restaurants, boat dock, conference area and a nearly 5,000-square-foot beachfront pool overlooking the picturesque Water Bay harbor. The 25-acre property, which boasts a thousand-foot stretch of palm-fringed white sand beaches, is located approximately one mile from the highly popular 300-room Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa.

"The upscale design, planned amenities and guest services we envision for this property will fully complement the neighboring Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort and Spa," Hanning continued. "Adding a world-class vacation ownership resort in close proximity to the island's most spectacular resort hotel will dramatically increase our ability to showcase both properties and share all that St. Thomas has to offer with thousands of Wyndham hotel clients and timeshare owners from around the world."

Steven A. Rudnitsky, Wyndham Hotel Group president and chief executive officer, said the purchase "leverages Wyndham Worldwide's dual competencies in lodging and vacation ownership" and exemplifies how development of an upscale vacation ownership property can benefit a nearby hotel under the same brand.

"The conversion of the Grand Beach Palace hotel into a first-class vacation ownership resort will benefit the nearby Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort and Spa by offering travelers the best of both worlds: a resort hotel for casual visitors and an upscale vacation ownership destination for those who chose to make a long-term investment in family getaways," he said.

About Wyndham Vacation Ownership

Wyndham Vacation Ownership is the world's largest vacation ownership business as measured by the number of vacation ownership resorts, vacation ownership units and vacation ownership interests. Wyndham Vacation Ownership includes marketing and sales of vacation ownership interests, property management services to property owners' associations and development and acquisition of vacation ownership resorts.

Through its three primary consumer brands, Wyndham Vacation Resorts, WorldMark by Wyndham and Trendwest South Pacific, Wyndham Vacation Ownership has developed or acquired more than 140 resort properties throughout North America and the South Pacific that represent more than 18,000 fully furnished, condominium-style units and more than 750,000 owners of vacation ownership and other real estate interests. Wyndham Vacation Ownership, headquartered in Orlando, Fla., is a member of the Wyndham Worldwide family (NYSE: WYN - News) and is supported by more than 14,000 employees globally.

January 24, 2007

Priced-Out Buyers in the Virgin Islands

From the NY Times:

COLLEEN WILSON, a lawyer who relocated her family to St. Thomas for a job at a multinational insurance company this spring, has not rented a home since she was 21. Not in Britain, nor in Jamaica, nor in Florida. Here in the Virgin Islands, however, she has been renting a three-bedroom house for more than eight months. And she doesn’t like it.

“Renting seems like such a waste,” she said, of the modest house on a small lot in the eastern Red Hook section of the island that could be hers to own for slightly more than $1 million.

“But I’m just not comfortable with the range of prices here,” she said. “Based on the property values in Miami, where we lived before, I expected to purchase something nice for $500,000 or under within six to eight months of exploring the island. Everything I’m interested in is $1.2 million, and I can’t see myself mortgaging my entire lifestyle to incur that kind of debt.”

Archive link for this entry: Priced-Out Buyers in the Virgin Islands | |

May 03, 2006

Andy's Mystery Marina Job

Interesting tid bit in the NY Post (not a rag I have much confidence in personally):

"May 1, 2006 -- Andrew Cuomo, the front-runner in the state attorney general's race, works for a little-known real-estate banking firm - and his decision to keep coy about some of its investors has his rivals raising questions. The firm, Island Capital Group, is Cuomo's main source of income.

A major Island project is Yacht Haven Grande, off St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.

Other projects, according to Island Capital's Web site, include a partnership with Dubai to manage all of that country's marinas and create a home-mortgage system there.

Cuomo initially told The Post that Island has a small number of investors besides founder Andrew Farkas, but said he did not know who they were.

Later, after speaking to Farkas, Cuomo aides said Farkas and another official are the only partners.

But they didn't provide the names of investors in Island Global Yachting, which Island Capital formed to develop many marina projects.

Cuomo's job description is unclear. Last week, he repeatedly described himself as an "employee" and said he had no title.

Mark Benoit, spokesman for Cuomo rival Mark Green, said Cuomo's father, Mario, "set the standard" when he was elected for demanding full disclosure and it's "disappointing . . . that Andrew Cuomo doesn't share that principle."

Cuomo said he'll make his finances public when he is formally a candidate. Aides said he'll leave Island this month."

Archive link for this entry: Andy's Mystery Marina Job | |

January 15, 2006

Judge rejects V.I.'s Lindqvist Beach takeover

I missed this story when it first came out - any updates?

ST. THOMAS - After much fanfare over the V.I. government's seizure of Lindqvist Beach in August, Superior Court Judge Brenda Hollar ruled Thursday that the sale did not take place because legal requirements were not followed.

Hollar ruled at a hearing on Thursday that there were fatal flaws in the appraisal process used by the government to determine the fair market value of the 21.5-acre Smith Bay property. The property's title also never transferred because the $4.1 million check, which was supposed to have been deposited with the court registry, sat in a safe at Superior Court instead. Hollar said she had no choice but to invalidate the purchase.

From the V.I. Daily News - more here.

Archive link for this entry: Judge rejects V.I.'s Lindqvist Beach takeover | |

November 15, 2005

Luxury-brand stores lay claim to space at Yacht Haven Grande

The V.I. Daily News is reporting:

ST. THOMAS - While construction on the Yacht Haven Grande development continues, a long list of high-end tenants are preparing to move in.

Lease agreements have been reached with several retail and jewelry stores, including Louis Vuitton, BCBG Max Azria, Roberto Coin, Tommy Bahama, Little Switzerland, Body Deli, Jewels, Diamonds International and Sunglass Hut, said Elie Finegold, vice president of Yacht Haven USVI, which owns the $150 million marina and retail development

in the heart of St. Thomas.

The stores are planning to open in late 2006 and are just the first of many more stores to come, he said.

"I'm very excited about the tenant mix," he said. "It's reflective of what we want to provide, which is world-class, first-rate quality."

More here.

November 14, 2005

Yacht Haven Grande

I didn't know that a company from the UAE was a partner in the new Yacht Haven:

"Istithmar PJSC, a leading investment house based in the UAE, focusing on private equity, real estate and alternative investments, has announced that it has closed on the acquisition of another internationally recognized landmark property, 230 Park Avenue in Manhattan...

Istithmar has invested in a US$200 million mega-yacht oriented mixed use real estate development in the US Virgin Islands."

They have a new website up for Yacht Haven (at least one I have not seen yet). I don't know why people have to add this silly "Grande" after everything... to me it cheapens the whole effort. Who are you appealing too using that kind of language?

Archive link for this entry: Yacht Haven Grande | |

November 08, 2005

Group Still Waiting to Hear from Turnbull on Vessup Purchase

From The Source:

Nov. 7, 2005 – Despite not having heard any word from Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, the Red Hook Community Alliance has decided to hold off on seeking a court decision ordering the government to purchase Vessup Beach.

At a July meeting, the alliance’s members had decided to seek the writ of mandamus if Turnbull had not responded to them by Sept. 30 concerning the purchase of the beach.

The organization has been trying for more than a year to prevent the sale of the beach to a mainland developer and had gained some victory when the Senate adopted a law to acquire the beach through eminent domain with an override of the governor's veto. However, Turnbull has yet to comply with the law or to communicate to the group despite its repeated attempts to speak with him.

"We're holding off on the writ of mandamus because we were told that every indication shows that the administration will move on the purchase of the beach," Andrea King, RHCA president, said at a meeting Monday evening. "I'll be communicating with the attorney general to find out where things stand."

More here.

November 03, 2005

Group seeks to build parking garage downtown

From the V.I. Daily News:

ST. THOMAS - A group of St. Thomas business professionals is trying to deliver what downtown Charlotte Amalie has needed for years - a parking garage.

Creating more parking is one of the most critical elements in improving downtown, said James Armour, owner of Royal Dane Mall and International Plaza, and member of the nonprofit Charlotte Amalie Revitalization Effort.

Armour, along with a group of developers, business leaders, and community activists on St. Thomas, recently formed C.A.R.E to spearhead restoration and economic revitalization projects in downtown.

A major goal for the organization is to build a three- to four-story parking facility, offering 325 spaces, sometime next year, Armour said.

Archive link for this entry: Group seeks to build parking garage downtown | |

September 12, 2005

Magazine honors luxury agent Jeyan Stout

From the Daily News:

PRINCETON, N.J. - Jeyan Stout of Coldwell Banker Stout Realty of St. Thomas has been named among the top luxury specialists in the country by Unique Homes, the magazine of luxury real estate. She is featured in the Luxury Resort Specialists section of the August-September issue of Unique Homes, currently available on newsstands.
Archive link for this entry: Magazine honors luxury agent Jeyan Stout | |

August 13, 2005

Nancy Anderson Quoted in the NY Times

From The New York TImes:

Nancy Anderson has to work harder than do most real estate agents to keep her vacationing tenants happy. As the president of McLaughlin Anderson Luxury Villas in St. Thomas, which rents properties throughout the British and the United States Virgin Islands and in Grenada, she faces the dichotomy of trying to serve impatient clients on the islands - where patience is a necessity.

"Whether you are renting ski houses in Steamboat Springs or beach houses in Nantucket, the clients we are now all dealing with have sky-high expectations," she said. "Just trying telling a client that they can't listen to music by the pool because there is an islandwide power outage or that the Jacuzzi isn't working because we have to order a broken part from California."

Then there are the children, who, Ms. Anderson said, have their own expectations - including a DVD player and DVD's and access to instant messaging.

The whole thing is below the fold.

August 12, 2005 DVD's! Wi-Fi! The Race to Woo Renters With Extras

LAST summer, Steve Messinger, owner of a two-bedroom summer lake house in Chautauqua, N.Y., decided to put a washer and dryer in the cottage that had once belonged to his parents so he could rent it out. "To me a washer and dryer qualified as amenities," said Mr. Messinger, who grew up spending summers in the house on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution.

Hardly. Had he talked to Joanna Dahlbeck, director of rentals at the Vacation Properties Group, which handles 155 condominiums and houses in the Chautauqua area, he would have quickly learned that a washer and dryer are now a requirement.

"Ten years ago, we had properties that had no television, no phones, no clock radios and no laundry machines," Ms. Dahlbeck said. "Basically, no creature comforts. Now, we ask all owners to have some kind of dial-up access for computers and a television, preferably one with a remote control. Since 9/11, renters want some kind of visual contact with the outside world.

"We don't insist on air-conditioning," Ms. Dahlbeck added, "but after this summer's heat wave that could also become more of a necessity."

Even Ms. Dahlbeck's list barely cuts it in today's rental-house market. "I have customers who want an espresso maker, extra cable channels, a gas - not charcoal - grill, nice china and a gourmet kitchen," said Joyce Nadeau, director of the Cape Cod rental division for Kinlin Grover GMAC. "The days of the old cape cottage with knotty pine are gone," she said. "And if the house has knotty pine, it has to be painted white."

Renters increasingly only want houses with the amenities of their own homes, particularly at $4,000 to $5,000 a week for a lake house, or in the case of many of Ms. Nadeau's clients, $12,000 to $15,000 a week to be on the ocean. "The high-end clients in particular want the upscale feel of staying in a hotel resort but the privacy and comforts of staying in a home," she said.

Luckily there are owners who live in the style to which many top-end tenants are accustomed. Don Wall, a retired data services salesman in Denver, rents out his 9-bedroom, 10-and-a-half-bathroom home in Beaver Creek, Colo., for about 18 weeks a year. The house, called Elk View, has a six-person Jacuzzi and a Finnish sauna, an exercise room, a heated boot room and a wine cellar and tasting room. It also has Wi-Fi; five TV's, including a 55-inch flat screen; Calphalon cookware; and a dining room that can seat 22. During Christmas week the house, which sleeps 20, costs $4,050 a night.

Mr. Wall, who bought the house in 1996 with his brother-in law, Patrick Morris, a retired executive in St. Louis, insists that their own families like the luxury touches as much as the renters do. "I like making the house grander and grander for our family," he said, adding that he would have put in a heated driveway had it not been so large. "But our renters appreciate it. I had one Big Cigar come by who wanted to rent it, and he said to me the moment he saw the master bedroom: 'I don't have to look any further. I have those same Charisma sheets on my bed at home.' "

Mr. Wall and Mr. Morris, who handle the renting themselves, also offer prearrival delivery of rental skis, groceries and liquor as well as complimentary transportation in Beaver Creek.

"We know everyone in town, so it isn't difficult for us to organize," Mr. Wall said. "And again, we do it for ourselves when we are here, so why not offer it to renters?"

Indeed, services like stocking the refrigerator ahead of time are becoming standard for high-end renters. "Easily, the biggest difference I have seen in the marketplace is the demand for concierge services," said Mary Connolly, who with her brother, Michael, owns Peak Properties in Vail, Colo., which caters primarily to executives and their families. "They don't just want the nice house, they want massages, dinner reservations, a ski instructor and a chef. We provide all of that," said Ms. Connolly, who in ski season has a staff of 20.

Nancy Anderson has to work harder than do most real estate agents to keep her vacationing tenants happy. As the president of McLaughlin Anderson Luxury Villas in St. Thomas, which rents properties throughout the British and the United States Virgin Islands and in Grenada, she faces the dichotomy of trying to serve impatient clients on the islands - where patience is a necessity.

"Whether you are renting ski houses in Steamboat Springs or beach houses in Nantucket, the clients we are now all dealing with have sky-high expectations," she said. "Just trying telling a client that they can't listen to music by the pool because there is an islandwide power outage or that the Jacuzzi isn't working because we have to order a broken part from California."

Then there are the children, who, Ms. Anderson said, have their own expectations - including a DVD player and DVD's and access to instant messaging.

IT often falls to agents to inform owners that their houses don't make the amenities cut. "It's a delicate situation to go into someone's house and say that Brady Bunch furniture has to go or your taste stinks," said Ms. Connolly of Peak Properties. "So instead we say to make money you have to invest money. You have to put a TV in every bedroom, put in the steam shower, install the granite kitchen counters."

Heather Maitre of Ramsey, N.J., who with her husband, Frank, owns a five-bedroom log home at Okemo in Vermont, knows the value of upgrading a house. During New Year's week, their newly built cabin, which has a game room with a mahogany pool table and two outdoor Jacuzzis with waterfalls, rents for $1,200 a night. "These days you can buy a new TV for $300, find beautiful bed comforters and sheets for $50 to $60 at Kohl's and purchase someone's old video library for next to nothing on eBay," Ms. Maitre said. "And then you can, of course, charge more for your home."

Some people, of course, opt out of the amenities race. Gail Rodgers owns a three-property compound on a large pond in Chatham on Cape Cod and rents out two of the two-bedroom cottages each summer. They do not have air-conditioning, fancy kitchens or outdoor showers. But she does leave a vase of flowers and a book filled with local information for each tenant. And while similar properties rent for about $2,000 a week, Ms. Rodgers asks no more than $1,800 for each of hers. "Many people tell me I could charge much more, but I like the people who come to me now and don't want to necessarily attract a higher-paying renter," she said.

And even though Mr. Messinger in Chautauqua hasn't put in a river rock fireplace, he hasn't had any trouble renting his house this summer for $2,500 a week. "Hey, it could be a lot worse," he said. "A guy down the road from us makes the renters change their own beds at the end of their stay!"

U. S. Virgin Islands Real Estate and MLS service

Archive link for this entry: Nancy Anderson Quoted in the NY Times | |

June 30, 2005

Senators OK bill to clear way for affordable housing on Water Island

ST. THOMAS - With last month's transfer of the final 200 acres of Water Island to the Virgin Islands government, Sen. Celestino White Sr. says it is time for more people to live there.

A bill White proposed to transfer 60 of those 200 acres to the V.I. Housing Finance Authority for construction of affordable housing sailed through the Housing, Sports and Veterans Affairs Committee on Tuesday morning. Every senator at the committee hearing voiced enthusiastic support for the proposal and voted to send it to the Rules Committee for further consideration.

Click here for the whole article from the Daily News

April 15, 2005

Protesters press for government action on Vessup land buy

ST. THOMAS - Juliana Van Dongen stood outside Government House on Tuesday afternoon holding aloft a sign that read: "Governor Turnbull don't be a traitor to your people."

Van Dongen and about 25 other picket-toting St. Thomas residents marched from the V.I. Legislature to Government House on Tuesday to protest the V.I. government's inaction in buying 17 acres of East End land near the beach at Vessup Bay from a Miami developer.

In July 2004, senators overrode Gov. Charles Turnbull's veto of legislation appropriating funds to buy the land through eminent domain, but the executive branch has yet to act on the law.

"As the highest elected official of our territory, you can no longer ignore the will of the people, for in doing so you are destroying the democratic process by which our laws are written and enforced," said Andrea King, president of the Red Hook Community Alliance, at Tuesday's protest. "We have asked you over and over again to address us on this issue for well over a year, yet you ignore us."

As protesters chanted, motorists driving along Government Hill honked their horns. This continued for about 20 minutes, but Turnbull failed to show.

Click here for the rest of the article

April 08, 2005

Red Hook group plans demonstration to protest V.I. inaction on Vessup Bay purchase

ST. THOMAS - Red Hook Community Alliance is planning a protest march on Government House next month to call attention to Gov. Charles Turnbull's failure to take action to purchase Vessup Bay.

Eight months have passed since the 25th Legislature overrode Turnbull's veto of legislation appropriating $3 million in interest revenues to buy 17 acres on Vessup Bay by eminent domain.

The legislation requires that the government contract with three licensed real estate appraisers to determine the fair market value of the property, but it has failed to do so. The clock is ticking as developer Alfredo Lowenstein, who owns the land, moves forward with his plans to build homes and condominiums on the 17 acres.

Click here for the rest of the article

November 01, 2004

Financing now set for veterans' complex

This is some great news for St. Thomas:

ST. THOMAS - Development of a veterans facility and medical center at the old Virgin Isle Hotel has taken a big step forward with V.I. Community Housing securing $10 million in financing from JP Morgan.

The project will provide 163 affordable housing units with two or three bedrooms each and a 50-bed medical facility. V.I. Community Housing was formed by Veterans Resource Development, a nonprofit corporation entrusted by the Legislature in 2001 to head the estimated $35 million project in Upper John Dunkoe.

Click here for the whole article

Archive link for this entry: Financing now set for veterans' complex | |

August 17, 2004

Residents call for access to Sunsi Beach Security guard, fence stoke battle pitting public access against private property

ST. THOMAS - A chain-link fence that blocks a path to Sunsi Beach in Estate Tabor and Harmony has been reinforced with steel bars and razor wire, and a security guard now patrols the area, fueling the controversy over the public's right to access Virgin Islands beaches.

Although Sunsi Beach is not as large or popular as Lindqvist Beach - also embroiled in a public access debate - the quiet, white-sand spot until recently was enjoyed by neighborhood residents and their friends. With the trail to the beach now blocked, many are speaking out.

Click here for the whole article

August 01, 2004

Lindqvist Beach owners let key deadline expire

ST. THOMAS - The Lindqvist Beach property owners let a deadline pass Friday without filing a motion in District Court to block the government from using money from a settlement trust fund to take the property by eminent domain.

The owners, Edwin Padgett and Donald Rifenberg of V.I. Investments, had until the close of business Friday to file the motion. Pending District Court approval, the government plans to use $1.7 million from the Tutu Wells Aquifer and Turpentine Run settlement to purchase the 21.5 acres of prime East End real estate.

The government believes it will need $4.2 million to purchase the property, based on recent appraisals it had done to determine the fair market value.

Click here for the whole article

Archive link for this entry: Lindqvist Beach owners let key deadline expire | |

July 21, 2004

Long Bay roadwork to begin this year, Senate panel hears Mon Bijou flood project, Calquohoun road repair also will start in 2004, government official says

ST. THOMAS - Despite concerns over landscaping that have delayed the $16 million Long Bay Road expansion project, the V.I. Public Works Department plans to begin the long-awaited work by the end of the year.

Keith Richards, assistant to the governor for capital projects, told the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday that in order to avoid an appeal of the Coastal Zone Management Committee's permit approval for the work, which Richards said could have tied up the project for years, the V.I. government has agreed to revise some of its plans.

The project - which intends to ease the traffic congestion that clogs Mandela Circle, Wilmot Blyden Road, Centerline Road and Frenchman's Bay Road - received CZM approval in March.

Click here for the whole article

Coldwell Banker, Stout Realty, St. Thomas

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