Maho Bay Campground for sale: $32 million

Last we heard, the Trust for Public Land was to meet with the owners of the 13.8 acres on which Stanley Selengut built his award-winning eco-tourist resort.  If they met, they didn’t make a deal. It’s for sale.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal’s high-end real estate page included an ad for the property. Islandia Real Estate’s Kayre Carney was listed as the contact. Since the offering is on the Multiple Listing Service, any of island real estate firm can provide information. It has also been advertised in a St. John newspaper.

The ad for the "rare opportunity" said: "13.8 acres zoned resort or residential white sandy beach front located within the National Park.  Currently Maho Bay Campground; property offered subject to lease expiring 2012."  Beach
The land includes 850  feet of shoreline.   The fact the MLS lists it as a "Land" offering suggests it’s being marketed as a real estate development opportunity.

In the current issue of Travel + Leisure magazine, Maho Bay is called the island’s best value. 

Cost U Less has a new owner

A Virgin Islands version of the states’ Costco chain is under new management.  Lots of locals, as well as visitors on their way to the island, use Cost U Less as a one-stop to stock up on all sorts of items, from DVD players to lettuce, to wine and even outdoor furniture – at very competitive prices.  The store is about a 15 minute drive from the Red Hook ferry dock.

The North West Co. said its purchased Cost-U-Less Inc. for $52.2 million.  The Manitoba-based company operates 220 retail stores in Canada, Alaska, the South Pacific and the Caribbean.   North West traces its history back 338 years and is publicly traded.  Its stock (North West Fund, NWTUF.PK ) has gained 50% this year.

St. John ‘Prom’ a weekend hit

The annual Mongoose Junction Christmas party drew more than a hundred people Saturday night.  (A reader of the site said the number was more like 700-1,000.) The dress code was "island fancy," which means, knock yourself out if you want to!  The party, known as "The Prom," also helped kick off the 30th anniversary of the Glen Speer-designed shopping center.  Food, drinks and conversation were in abundance … and the dancing went on to the small hours of Sunday. 

No gas

Neither of the island’s two stations had gasoline to sell at midweek. 

The Domino Oil Co. failed to restock its Virgin Islands stations, the Daily News reported.  The newspaper quoted a company executive saying its Coral Bay station, and half a dozen outlets on St. Thomas, also out of gas, would get deliveries "within the next week." 

When the Coral Bay station ran out, E&C Service in Cruz Bay suddenly found itself with much greater demand. Its tanks ran dry, too. E&C was back in business Wednesday afternoon after getting a shipment of the fuel it regularly purchases from the HOVENSA refinery on St. Croix, the newspaper reported.

Only in the VI’s, eh?  At $4 a gallon, too.  Imagine how the car rental agencies had to scurry.  Fortunately, the problem occurred (1) at midweek, and (2) not during high season.  Can it happen again?  What do you want to bet you see people filling plastic gasoline cans for backup now?

Google guide to St. John beaches

BeachmapSt. John is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the Virgin Islands. Often someone will say they’ve been to such-and-such beach and even a veteran visitor will wonder, ‘Where’s that?’

On the Virgin Islands On Line travel forum, "Sherban" offered some answers, using Google MapsClick here to go to his guide.  It includes 19 beaches, 17 on the north shore and two on the south shore.

You can also use the map to get around the island.  Click on a "Show Labels" option in the upper right hand corner and you’ll see the island categorized by estate names. (Handy for real estate shoppers.)  Zoom in and you’ll get street names to help you get to the beaches, your villa, shopping, and restaurants