VIs get Spirit

Spirit Airlines has landed. The low-cost airline began offering nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale to St. Thomas last week, funneling island-bound passengers from its other airports including Washington/Reagen and New York/LaGuardia.

One-way coach seats start at $99.

The first plane was met by government officials, and a mocko jumbie on stilts. Spirit operates Airbus 319 equipment, two classes of service, all leather seats. The new flights are scheduled to arrive daily at King Airport at 2:35pm and depart at 3:35pm, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News.

Bag search on St. John ferry

The U.S. Coast Guard ordered that suitcases, backpacks, purses and other luggage be inspected prior to being transported on ferries from Red Hook to Cruz Bay.  "It may be one in 10, one in five," said Kendrick Augustus, manager of Transportation Services, a ferry company.  He told the St. John Source that once passengers go through a security fence, some people will be asked to put their luggage on a table for inspection, or may be asked to open the bags for viewing. 

Lisa Durgin, a villa manager on St. John, called the screening unproductive.  She said, it’s like taking a ferry from New York to New Jersey.  "The whole Homeland security thing is out of control," she told the Source.

Real Estate update: Grande Bay unit offered

05238_1Didn’t take long for someone with a contract on a unit at Grande Bay, the 48-unit condominium project overlooking Cruz Bay, to list it for sale for $1.1 million in the wake of the Governor’s decision limiting expansion of the as-yet unfinished project.  The two-bedroom, two-bath unit features a private penthouse entrance and a hot tub.  Its main asset could be the contract, given the Governor’s veto of rezoning that halted plans by developers to add 14 more units, on which contracts had reportedly been written.  Meanwhile, there is still no action in Chocloate Hole where the long-delayed Pond Bay Club project is planned.

The number of residential properties for sale stands at 80, unchanged from last week. Three houses were added to the Multiple Listing Service last week, suggesting three other properties came off.  Among the new residences are a 5-bedroom house at Chocolate Hole, priced at $2.4 million, and the 3-bedroom Casa Nita at Coral Bay, priced at $1.345 million. land offerings climbed to 195 and the condo list added 4 to 25.

Grande Bay rezoning rejected


Governor Charles Turnbull has vetoed the Grande Bay developer’s request to build an additional 14 condominiums and a restaurant.

The St. John Source reported rezoning of the parcels from Waterfront-Pleasure to Residential: Medium density was rejected because, the Governor said, there has been a "ground swell of opposition on St. John."  The rezoning, he added, would  pressure the island’s infrastructure, increase noise in the residential neighborhood, worsen the island’s parking problems, and have "unpleasant and unhealthy impacts," the Source said. Developers said they had pre-sold the 14 extra units, suggesting they will have, at the least, some unhappy customers who may have made deposits.

Real estate update

Inventory is leaping higher.  The Multiple Listing Service now has 80 residences for sale, 5 more than last week.  That’s a record, so far as I can tell. Additions include a 2-bedroom in Enighed for $1.495 million and a 3-bedroom cottage on Gifft Hill, priced at $600,000.

Land listings total 192, up 1 from last week.  Condo offerings are steady at 21.

CoconutcoastCommercial listingts are down 1, to 13. Coconut Coast Studios, a group of studio and multi-bedroom apartments, was on the list for $3.8 million, two weeks ago. 

It’s off the list now.

Winter Friends activities

The Friends of the V.I. National Park have released their schedule of seminars, workshops and activities for the winter. 

The annual series begins in January and runs through April.  Kristen Maize, the program manager, said therm are several new activities this year, including exploration of the waters off St. Thomas aboard the Atlantis submarine.  Others include  a Turtle Adventure Sail to Buck Island (Jan. 14), a tour of ruins at Susannaberg with historian David Knight, and a historical tour of Caneel Bay on its 50th anniversary, led by Chuck Pishko.  Here’s the schedule, published by the St. John Source