Lots of houses for sale, still

CliffhouseThe number of residences offered through the Multiple Listing Service now stands at 66, at least 20-25 percent more than a year ago.  And while the MLS listings did get as high as 69 a few weeks ago, there has been movement of properties on and off the list, and agents say pricing is holding steady.  Of the houses listed currently, 14 are priced at $1 million or less, and about 90 percent of them are on the Coral Bay end of the island.  The $1-$2 million range is where the action is, 26 properties are offered, again most Coral Bay-ish until you get to $1.5 million when Fish Bay and Chocolate Hole residences appear.  The least expensive listed property is a 1-bedroom, 1-bath Carolina house priced at $500,000.  The other end is Cliffhouse (pictured), a 4-bedroom, 4.5-bath Peter Bay property, with hot tub and pool, priced at $13.9 million.

Cocolaba business for sale


Already?  Islandia Real Estate is offering a gift shop located in the three-month-old Cocolaba Shopping Center in Coral Bay.  Big Fish, owned by Genoveva Rodriquez, is a gift shop featuring t-shirts, handmade bracelets and jewelry, coffee beans, spices and informal island apparel.  There’s also a selection of "Jimmy Buffet items," according to the St. John Source. Rodriquez is the wife of Jim Phillips, the developer of the shopping center.Asking price for Big Fish is $55,000. 

NY Times highlights hiking trails

IslandSunday’s New York Times edition spotlights 20 hiking trails on island, "suitable for anything from short jaunts to two-hour treks – that wind through hardwood forests past natural springs, lofty cliffs, cactus patches and decaying sugar plantations."  The 2.2 mile Reef Bay Trail gets a special mention, thanks to the petroglyphs.  The Times recommends Caneel Bay Resort and the Westin Resort as places to stay.  BTW, Caneel’s prices are quoted as $450 to $11,50 a night in season, while the Westin’s asking $669 to $1,879.  Here’s a link to detailed hiking information, and here’s the National Park Service’s map of the island

The island gets a fish store

1stcustomer The folks who own two of the island’s best restaurants have gone into food retail.  A. Aaron Willis, part owner and executive chef at the Fish Trap and Stone Terrace, will supervise the Fish Trap Market.  It opened this week in the Raintree Mall, next door to the Fish Trap restaurant.  He said the Market, "will offer the freshest fish available … including shrimp by the pound, fresh oysters, clams and sushi-quality tuna (when available) and our delicious Fish Trap chowder." 

Jet Blue, fly on down!

Logojetblue An island couple is doing their part to encourage Jet Blue to begin service to the islands.  The low-cost/high-service airline announced plans last year to acquire more planes and increase service to the Caribbean, but didn’t get specific.  Now, Mark and Nanci Shekleton are suggesting an e-mail campaign to persuade the airline to put St. Thomas on its route map.  "We’ve blitzed them with e-mails the past week. although it’s a long shot," conceded Nanci who, with her husband, own Sea View Vacation Homes, a villa management agency.  Contact the airline at http://www.jetblue.com/speakup/questions.asp.

(This story’s getting comments.  Add yours, and we’ll send ’em all to Jet Blue.)

Coral Bay gets shopping center

Cocoloba_1 The owner of Cocoloba Shopping Center said he built it because, "We felt like it was needed." Jim Phillips added, "The area seems to be growing."  Among the tenants are Aqua Bistro, a restaurant and bar.  Its owner, Marc Kaye, told the St. John Source dinner entrees are less than $20 because, "I want local people to come."  Cocoloba, next door to Voyages de St. Jan, also has Sugar Apple, a jewelry and clothing store that moved from the Shipwreck Landing strip, down the road.  Several other stores are offering women’s clothing, while Castaways sells new and consignment furniture.  Also setting up for business in the project, which Phillips runs with his wife, Genoveva Rodriquez, are a leather shop, hair salon, masseuse and, soon come, Lily’s Gourmet Market.  (Photo by Franz Jaggar.)