Real estate update: 12/7/04

A $4.2 million, 5-bedroom/5.5 bath with pool and hot tub at San Souci moved off the Multiple Listing Service this week, but has not been sold.  The property was listed, didn’t move, and so it’s been taken off the market, according to Diana Beam at RE/MAX Island Paradise Realty. "They usually get renewed and placed back on the market," she said in a comment to NewsofStJohn.com.

On another side of the properties balance sheet, two came onto the market, boosting the public listings to 51, up two since last week. This is another high water mark for inventory. Newly-offered are a 3-bedroom/2-bath with pool property at Fish Bay for $1.2 million, and .6 of an acre at Chocolate Hole, offered for $1.75 million – the MLS had no details on the building.

Otherwise, as the inventory of homes swells in advance of the winter season,  land listings dropped by one to 148, while all was unchanged among condominiums (7), timeshares (93) and businesses (9).

New island Web site

StjohnrescueFrom time to time, I come across new sites for St. John community groups and businesses.  The most recent is StJohnrescue.org, highlighting St. John Rescue, the volunteer group which reopens to emergencies on island.  John Bowman, the group’s Chief, said there were two EMS calls during October and that, year to date, St. John Rescue has responded to 50 calls.  Bowman said the organization is still trying to raise funds for a permanent home and a new rescue vehicle for Coral Bay. The nonprofit group has monthly meetings, open to the public, at the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center, the first Thursday of each month.

Got a Web site you want people to know about?  E-mail frank@newsofstjohn.com.

Hurricane guru: Risk for ’05

ProfwmgrayColorado State University’s Prof. William Gray expects 2005 to be calmer than 2004.  "We believe that 2005 will continue the trend of enhanced major hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin," Gray said in a news release, however the number of major storms will be less than in 2004.  The director of CSU’s Tropical Meteorology Project expects 11 named storms will occur between June 1 and Nov 30, with six of them becoming hurricanes.  This year, there were 15 named storms and 9 became hurricanes.  "We foresee an above-average probability of U.S. major hurricane landfall is anticipated," Gray said in a statement. " We do not, however, expect anything close to the U.S. landfalling hurricane activity of 2004."  However, he said there is an "above-average" major hurricane landfall risk in the Caribbean.

Cruise ships calling

CruiseWindstar and Seabourn cruise lines will be making stops off Cruz bay
this month as the winter season begins.  While, coincidentally,
Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 is in port in St. Thomas this weekend, the multi-masted
yacht Wind Spirit will be off St.
John.  The ship will also, during season, call on Jost
Van Dyke, Tortola and Virgin Gorda. Cruise-only rates begin at $1,695
per person based on double occupancy.  Seabourn, whose cruises can cost
$2,300, is including St. John on its 14-day itineraries departing
from Fort Lauderdale. 

Annual Friends meeting to hear Delegate

NpssignDelegate Donna M. Christensen will be the featured speaker at next month’s Friends of the Park annual meeting.  "She has been a supporter of national parks on a national level," said Joe Kessler, president of the group, as he announced details of the event scheduled for 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 23.  The annual State of the Park address by superintendent Art Frederick is also on the agenda. 

Hurricanes dent tourism

"The geography of the American people is so poor," said Beverly Nicholson, president of the V.I. Hotel association, said as she reported a drop in the number of cruise ship visitors to the islands in September.  The number of people arriving by air, however, rose. News of storms affecting other islands led many people to assume the VIs had also been damaged, the St. John Source reported.  However, she added, territory-wide, September hotel occupancy averaged 38.8 percent over last year’s 29.5 percent.

Looking ahead for Christmas tourism, the industry is very optimistic.  Nearly all hotels on St. Thomas and St. John are booked solid, the report said, including even smaller properties such as Estate Zootenval on the smaller island.