Post Office eyes new site

The U.S. Postal Service said it is in the final stages of negotiating to build a new facility at Guinea Grove, a commercial project being developed near the Westin Resort.  A progress report on the effort to move and expand the island post office was offered at a meeting on island at the Westin, the St. John Source reported.

However, representatives of the V.I. government, attending the meeting, objected to the USPS’ plans.  Keith Richards, capital projects director for the territory, said the government plans to propose that the post office be included in the Vendor’s Plaza project planned across from the current commercial/barge dock.  Richards said the government plans a three-story building; that construction and architectural firms are ready to go, and the Legislature has already appropriated $3.1 million dollars.

Beach Bar open after raid

Beach_bar It was business as usual Friday after agents of the Internal Revenue Service raided the Beach Bar along the waterfront in Cruz Bay.  Witnesses said at least one helicopter hovered over the bar’s Wharfside Village building, while various agents’ vehicles blocked traffic in apparent efforts to capture suspects who might be fleeing.  The ruckus was so great that one source said construction of the Grande Bay condominiums was halted because trucks and workers couldn’t get to the work site.

Chopper"The matter is under seal and cannot be discussed," a spokesman for the IRS told the St. John Source.  While a spokesman for the Virgin Islands Police Department said authorities had executed a warrant.  Jesse Hill, who works at Low Key Watersports at Wharfside, said he saw about 15 IRS agents on site for several hours, the Source added.

But within an hour or so after the agents left, the Beach Bar reopened serving Greenies, burgers, and more.

New York Times on St. John

Morgan’s Mango, Skinny Legs and Pastory Gardens are three restaurants that got a thumbs up in a recent New York Times article about the island.  Travel writer Bonnie DeSimone  spent some time snorkeling off Gibney beach, Trunk and Hawksnest bays. "Shimmering psychedelic parrot fish, some a foot-and-a-half long, chewed at coral with their beak like mouths," she reported after one foray. "Their female counterparts display a windowpane pattern of brown, white and red that resembles stained glass."

She also spoke with author Gerald Singer about the environment and ecology of the island. Conditions on St. John are still good enough to support a healthy underwater ecosystems, and a picturesque one, he told her.

Read the story: http://travel2.nytimes.com/2005/10/23/travel/23stjohn.html

Real estate update 11/15/05

The Multiple Listing Service has more residential properties for sale than I have ever seen:  75 homes, up 3 from last week.  Prices range from $450,000 to $8.4 million. 

Land offerings are numerous, too.  The MLS has 182, an increase of 12 lots from last week. There are also 19 condos offered, 1 more than last week.

Word from the Marketplace is that the Richard’s restaurant space on the second floor has been leased to a new eatery called Happy Fish.

Patrick’s future debated

Patricks_3

A majority of responses to Patrick Joseph being ordered to close his "mobile" food stand business at the Cruz Bay parking lot are supportive of the local entrepreneur.  But a knee-jerk analysis of comments suggests non-residents are more sympathetic than and locals.

"The beauty of St. John is not only in the beaches and pristine water but the local St. John People and culture," said Mike.  "It is unfortunate that the rich are overtaking the island saying it is their paradise.  Leave Patrick alone."

An island business person, Lonnie, complained, however, that she heard "no one shouting to let the St. John Car Rental stay when we had been on Port Authority land for over 24 years and were told to leave."  She continued, "I don’t think this argument should have been over whether he is an eyesore or not.  he does not have a lease and when the PA tells you to leave, you leave."

Should Patrick stay or go?  Comment below.

Grande Bay rezoning OKd

The VI Senate approved a rezoning request for the Grande Bay Resort development in Cruz Bay.  Word came about a day after property owners adjacent to the project filed a lawsuit in Superior Court to stop it.  The action by the Senate allows developers to construct an additional 14 units and a restaurant.

At Large Senator, and St. John reisdent, Craig Barshinger, voted against the rezoning along with three Senators.  Nine Senators voted for it.

Alexander Jadan, Natalie Jadan, Anastasia Trey and Elizabeth Trey own a 650-square foot cottage 35 feet uphill from the development.  They argued Grande Bay plans buildings that are in violation of height requirements and which will block their views of the water, sunrises and unset, and on-shore breezes, according to a report by the Virgin Islands Daily News.

The plaintiffs also faulted Grande Bay’s developers with violating building code requirements in their excavation of their 1.25 acre, charging:The defendants’ withdrawal of the lateral support of the plaintiff’s land was done in a manner that is contrary to applicable requirements and contrary to practices of reasonable care and workmanship in the construction industry.