More Business Opportunities in Paradise

For sale: One pretty cool online blog about the daily happenings of St. John. Kidding! We’d never sell News of St. John, but there are several cool opportunities for those of you looking to own your own business on island. Here’s a small sampling of the current opportunities available on St. John.

For those of you yearning to spend your days on the beautiful blue waters surrounding St. John, perhaps you’d be interested in learning more about a few of the charter boats listed for sale.


Perhaps a sailboat is more your style. Well you’re in luck. St. John Yacht Charters is also looking for a new owner. According to its ad, the business is rated as the best traditional sailboat charter on St. John. The company has been in business since 2005 and its client list and profits have increased every year since then, according to the ad. The sale includes a website, car, scooter, inflatable tender and the sailboat Survivan, a 46-foot Jeanneau sloop that is in great shape and very comfortable to live aboard. It has a roller furling main sail which makes it easy to sail, even single handed. There is a new WIMAX tower in sight that gives enables it to have broadband internet right on the boat, so you can stream tv programs to the 35-inch TV via Apple TV or Roku.

Asking price: $320,000

eco tours
East End Adventure Eco Tours

Maybe you’re thinking about something a bit smaller, a little less expensive and more eco friendly. Then you may want to check out East End Adventure Eco Tours – natural history adventures, established (six years) small boat and paddle board eco-tour business for Coral Bay and the East End. Equipment includes 2001- 18′ SeaFox CC fish, snorkel and dive boat with trailer and Coral Bay mooring. 2010 85HP Yamaha engine (75 hours) and electrical harness, bimini top, 2 anchors and rode, Humminbird fish and depth finder, twin batteries, console and engine covers, cooler, preservers, new teleflex steering system. 4 Paddle Boards (1-10-6′, 2-11′, 1-11’6″) Bic and Smooth SUPs, paddles, dry bags and new SUP bag covers.

This is an inexpensive purchase in a growing tour market in Coral Bay. According to its ad, it’d be perfect for a young, knowledgeable naturalist/diver interested in growing a local business as Coral Bay vacation rentals continue to expand after the closure of Maho Camps. The sale comes with name recognition, a website and promotional literature. The owner will to teach the new owner as needed.

Asking price: $16,500


And for those of you with very, very deep pockets, this last investment opportunity may be for you. Wharfside Village is up for sale for a cool $11 million. Anyone want to chip in with me? 🙂

On the Market: Sweeping Views of Coral Bay Harbor


Think you have what it takes to build on island? Looking to build your dream home? Then you may want to check out this parcel that recently hit the market…

Located in the Seagrape Hill neighborhood high above Coral Bay, this .30 acre parcel has panoramic views of Coral Bay Harbor, as well as gorgeous valley views. It’s situated on a gentle downhill slope making this an easy build.

The lot is access by paved roads and has utilities in place. It can be yours for only $149,000.

Want more information? Contact Tammy at 340 Real Estate Co. at [email protected]

DPNR Issues Notice of Violation for Denis Bay Property

Photo Courtesy of John McQuillen
Photo courtesy of John McQuillen

The Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) issued a Notice of Violation to the Denis Bay property owner accused of altering the area’s landscape and VI National Park land.

DPNR found that property owner Tony Ingrao violated seven provisions of the VI Building Code including excavating and land clearing on National Park land; failure to secure an earth change permit; building without a permit; violating provisions of permits; and excavations affecting adjoining properties.

According to the Notice of Violation, the Division of Building Permits was notified on May 13 that a landslide occurred on a lower section of the roadway adjacent to plot 2B Denis Bay. Prior to the landslide report, the Division had met with the construction project manager to discuss concerns about possible environmental impacts and hazards created by the site. Mitigations efforts were discussed and it was indicated at the time that they would begin as quickly as possible.

Now that the Notice of Violation has been issued, Ingrao will be required to submit plans and a new building permit application for site stabilization, drainage and any associated structure needed to stabilize the affected area. Ingrao must submit any agreement or mitigation approved by the National Park with regard to the impacted areas. Ingrao is required to notify and receive approval for any work conducted on the recently reopened roadway leading to the property, and upon approval, Ingrao has 45 days to make repairs to that roadway.  DPNR also fined Ingrao $10,500 which must be paid within 30 days.

Jamal Nielsen, DPNR Media Relations Coordinator, stated Monday that Ingrao has already implemented corrective action measures, although he did not have specific details on what types of measures have been put into place thus far.

Ingrao is a world-renowned interior designer based in New York City. News of St. John reached out to him Monday, but was unsuccessful.

Below is a map of the property’s location:

Marked Denis Bay Map

Price Reduced for Popular Coral Bay Eatery

Donkey Diner

Someone’s dream of buying a restaurant in St. John just got a little cheaper.

The popular Donkey Diner in Coral Bay listed for sale last month when the owners had to abruptly leave the island due to a family medical emergency. The eatery initially listed for $299,000 but after being on the market for less than a month, the owners dropped the price by $60,000. It is currently listed for $239,000 and is described as a “turnkey” operation.

Check out the full listing here.

This is the third time the Donkey Diner has been listed for sale in the past five years.

House Hunters island episode ‘great’

Fans of St. John enjoyed this week’s House Hunters International TV show featuring the island and how Stacey and John Alvarado made the move from St. Thomas to St. John.  

But some elements of the show showed the producers may not understand the island.

For instance, there was a picture of a monkey among the island’s flora and fauna and beauty. “I absolutely love monkeys, but I may just fall over and die if I ever came across one in St. John,” said CTBeachGirl on the Virgin Island On-Line forum. “I’ve seen plenty in Costa Rica and Belize, but in St. John??? Definitely not.”

Some people commented that it was odd Realtor John McCann showed the Alvarados a one-bedroom unit at Grande Bay, when they have a young child and two dogs.   “Ill-fitted to their needs and less than ideal,” said Coconuts on the forum.

Then there was the narrator’s reference to the Gifft Hill area being a suburb of Cruz Bay.  “Had a good laugh about that),” said NC Brenda.

RonUSVI said the show was great.  “I laughed at Stacey’s objection to the noise so many times and that tickled me was her worry at Grande Bay if there was a tidal surge to get up to the level of the apartment they were looking at.”  Ron added, it was a “good promo for STJ and Grande Bay as well.”

HGTV has not scheduled the episode for re-broadcast. The Inquiring Iguana will keep his eye out for a repeat.

  • Disclaimer: John Alvarado is the Director of Sales at Grande Bay, and is an advertiser on

Must See St. John TV: House Hunters International

HgtvJohn and Stacey Alvarado
lived the good life with their young son, Andrew, on the island of St. Thomas.

It was all a day at the beach until John got a job on St. John, adding an extended commute via ferry across the sound.

Motivated to regain the lost family time and invest in their future, John and Stacey decided to relocate to St. John, but there's an added perk that comes with the move. They can bring their beloved dogs after deciding to purchase a home, since most St. John rentals don't allow four-legged tenants.

Investing in their family, both human and furry, fuels the search for John, but Stacey's fear of hurricanes made buying an island home a stormy experience.

The new episode will premiere Monday night at 10:30 p.m. and repeat at 1:30 a.m., eastern.

Land sales highlight real estate

The latest quarter continued to show a stronger market for St. John  real estate.

Gretchen Labrenz at Cruz Bay Realty said one sign of new energy in the market was selling two land parcels one weekend … sight unseen by the buyer.  Shows the value of good photographs on the MLS, she said.

In fact, land is the strongest part of the market, with 28 lots sold year to date, compared to 20 during the same period last year.  The average price is up, too, driven primarily by one parcel which went for $2.2 million. The average land sale this year has been $385,000, versus $287,000 last year.

On the villa side, things are better.  There have been 21 homes sold (vs. 24 last year) at an average price of $1.279 million. In a sure sign that bargain hunters are active, that average is 25% less than last year’s average of $1.7 million.

Labrenz said, "Many properties are listed for less than what the sellers have invested in them. It is a buyers' market."

Islandia Real Estate’s Mary Nash said, "Land and condo sales are ahead of last years numbers, which is encouraging.”  Interest rates are still low, she added.

For sale: the Beach Bar

This is a shocker!  Is this on the level?

The most popular bar/restaurant on the island can be yours for $1.8 million, according to an online real estate site.

The Beach Bar, on the Cruz Bay waterfront at Wharfside Village, has been there for a dozen years, although not under the same owner. 

"No owner financing, Cash sale only," adds the listing, posted at

Reason for selling: "Family issues force a move stateside."

A description says the 60-seat indoor/outdoor business does "large liquor and food" business and "HUGE volume sales."  A year-old merchandise shop is "growing steadily" with "huge potential for all around sales increases."

Something else interesting, under the heading, "Who knew"?, the Beach Bar deal comes with a one-bedroom apartment with kitchen and bathroom.

"If you want to live in paradise and operate a very profitable, amazing biz then this is the place for you," says the offering.

Land sales on fire, home sales up, too

The number of homes sold on St. John in he first six months of this year shows buyers are jumping on reduced prices.

According to Cruz Bay Realty, 17 villa property deals closed in the first half.  If that pace continues, it would mean 34 houses would sell this year, 26% more than the 27 deals done last year.

This year’s deals are closing at lower prices, for sure.  The average sale is $1.3 million, compared to last year’s $1.8 million.  The statistics for 2011 are somewhat skewed because one villa sold at $14 million.  The most expensive property this year was $8.5 million.

Land sales are not shabby either.  Rather like booming. More lots sold in the first six months of 2012 than in all of last year: 22 vs. 20.  But land is not the bargain that houses are. The average land deal closed at $351,000 this year, compared to $288,000 last year, a rise of 21 percent.

There are 165 homes on the Multiple Listing Service, from $199,000 to $8.6 million. The average asking price is $1.9 million, a substantial increase from previous years when it was about $1.3 million.

Uptick seen in real estate sales

“It’s tangible, it’s solid, it’s beautiful. It’s artistic, from my standpoint, and I just love real estate.” – Donald Trump

Trayser-HOme-300x225The Donald hasn't made a down payment on property on St. John – yet. But other people have, encouraged in no small part by significant price reductions.

Islandia Real Estate's blog headlines a post, "Signs of a changing market."

So far this year, four home sales have closed and a dozen are pending.  Annualized, the sales pace is 20% ahead of last year when 27 properties were sold.

Add to the heightened interest, the Wall Street Journal reporting "The bidding wars are back."

Gretchen Labrenz at Cruz Bay Realty reported a number of showings in the past week for the Inquiring Iguana' affordable and money-making Blue Tang. 

The number of homes for sale is lower than a few months ago, so Islandia's Jane Kelly is cold calling homeowners inquiring whether they'd like to list their property. "I am working with cash customers that aren’t finding the home of their dreams at the present time," she said.