Real estate report

Median house priced at $1.4 million

It may be the off season, but there’s lots of real estate activity on St. John. Since our last issue, 5 properties came off the Multiple Listing Service while 9 were added. The bulk of the new listings have asking prices between $1 million and $1.6 million. The median listed house is asking $1.399 million. There are 41 properties available, a relatively high number.
Among the new listings are a 1-bedroom, 1-bath property in Carolina for $575,000 (pictured); a 22-year-old 3-bedroom, 3-bath residence in Fish Bay for $1.1 million, and a new 2-bedroom/2-bath/pool house in Carolina at $1.5 million.

On the commercial side, Dr. Cool apparently decided he’s got a hot business. Originally listed for sale at $250,000, this island air conditioning service is now asking $350,000, according to the MLS. Mongoose Junction’s Wicker, Wood & Shells gift shop is being offered at $295,000.

A pair of new shows

Janet Cook-Rutnik and Cheryl Geller have launched new exhibitions of their work. Cook-Rutnik’s show is at her gallery, Solo Arte, in the Lumberyard. Rutnik

Among the pieces are Eve by Sea (pictured) and a new original print series called Agnes. Rutnik is also showing two painting/installations that were shown at a Caribbean festival in Santo Domingo last year, whose theme was Perception. “The most important challenge to shaping the future is to perceive ourselves not as victims but as victors,” she said.

Geller’s jewelry is on display at Coral Bay’s Syzygy Gallery in the Skinny Legs restaurant and bar complex. It features vintage and hand-made beads.

Goats gotta go

It’s official. Goats are unwelcome in the Virgin Islands National Park, and the Agriculture Department is on track to capture them by using corrals or traps.

The wildest goats will be shot and slaughtered for meat which will be distributed to the local community, according to a report in the St. John Source. The goats are among a number of “introduced species” to the Park which, by nibbling and eating, are threatening rare plants such as the prickly ash, the report continued. The goats are also munching ground cover which has a role in preventing erosion and sediment washing onto the coral reefs.

The only mammals native to St. John are bats, the Park Service said.

Candidates night at the Westin

Candidates for the V.I. Senate have been invited to a forum Wednesday night at the ballroom of the Westin Resort. The event is sponsored by the St. John Community Foundation, the same group which has been meeting for months to propose a charter for some sort of local government on the island. Candidates are invited to make an opening statement, answer 7 to 10 pre-selected questions, and offer a closing. Two St. Johnians are on the ballot, including the incumbent At Large senator Almando Liburd and his challenger Craig Barshinger.

St. John will get its share

The Department of Public Works said St. John will see some major road repair work in the next several months, due partially to damage from the heavy rains of Hurricane Jeanne which passed the island last month.

Money for the work will come from a government bond issue being sold now, with the funds to be made available by the end of November. Proceeds are also earmarked for repair of roads, landfills, and wastewater systems on St. Thomas and St. Croix, the Virgin Islands Daily News reported. “We have left out St. John before but that is not going to happen this time,” said Wayne Callwood, the Public Works commissioner.

EDC changes to cost millions

Gov. Charles Turnbull expects a bill to be signed by President Bush this week will be a near disaster for the islands’ economy.

The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 contains provisions relative to the Economic Development Commission, clarifying the nearly 20-year-old plan. It requires EDC company principals to reside in the islands at least 183 days a year. And the government said that it appears income eligible for exemption from federal taxation will be limited to revenues generated on the islands, according to a report by the St. John Source. Peter Hiebert, Washington counsel for the V.I. government, told the Source, the EDC program was valuable because it “brought increased intellectual capital and increased creativity, as well as financial resources.” Government officials fear changes in the EDC will cause some VI-based companies to close up shop.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue estimated EDC companies contribute $115 million a year to the territory’s coffers.