Setback for Coral Bay hotel

The Voyages Building in Coral Bay is for sale.  Again.

Islandia Real Estate has re-listed the property with an asking price of $1.9 million.

Voyages

 

Last fall, it looked like the building was going to get a new life, after the builders and owners of what-was their fine-dining restaurant pulled up stakes and left the island.  In the fall of last year, Karen and Rob Vahling agreed to buy the property and wanted to expand the building to operate a 25-room hotel. 

Their plans ran into community opposition and, it would appear, difficulty in getting rezoning approval from the Planning and Natural Resources Department. Read the story in the St. John Source.

In the fall of 2004 (AKA 'The good old days in real estate'), the property was for sale with an asking price of $2.95 million.  

Rare opportunity to own a business/residential space in the heart of Coral Bay. The first floor restaurant space is currently set up as a bar and restaurant. All equipment in as-is condition is included in sales price including stoves, ovens, walk in cooler, ice machine, sound system and much more. There are 2 beautiful apartments on the second floor with great breezes and water views. There is a pool on the property and customer parking.

13 thoughts on “Setback for Coral Bay hotel”

  1. This sucks. A hotel at this site would have been great for C Bay. What is DPNR’s eason for denial of the permits? Very short-sighted of the locals to fight this.

  2. An extra floor level, 25 sardine-can rooms, no staff/manager permanently on site and expecting the minimally-updated sewage and grey water systems to cope was what ran into opposition. There would have been far less dissent from locals AND no change of zoning necessary from DPNR if the counter-suggestion of no extra floor and a comfortable 15 or 16 rooms had been considered by Mr and Mrs Vahling.
    But yes, the building should be used instead of standing vacant and falling into decay.

  3. I don’t think either the locals or DPNR was short sighted. It was just out of scale. And along with what was mentioned in the above posting was a lack of parking. Someone should buy it and give it to Sweet Plantains.

  4. While I’m not for free for all development, once again the NIMBYS have their way and cost someone dearly. And that someone simply has to turn around and leave. One of these times you’re going to hook onto the wrong party and la la land is going to come down around your ears. And then who will simply have to turn around and leave? Balance in all things.

  5. How about if the NIMBYS start buying up things at fair market value and giving it away? This is the Virgin Islands we’re talking about. If certain “people” had been seeking the development, it would have passed DPNR quickly and quietly. I’m not for or against what the owners were trying to do. Don’t know enough about it, but let’s be realistic here.

  6. To clear up some misinformation, here are some actual facts: The rezoning was not denied or approved but put on hold when the sellers failed to show up at closing. Existing zoning allowed for 3 stories, but it still needed to be rezoned for 16 rooms or any hotel use. Proposed room sizes were planned as large as or larger than most standard hotels with the exception of a couple smaller, single rooms. Managers were planned on site 24/7 and planned parking met DPNR’s requirements. An independent engineer confirmed septic plans were more than sufficient. We were working on a smaller scale but without property, there is no moving forward.

  7. To clear up some misinformation, here are some actual facts: The rezoning was not denied or approved but put on hold when the sellers failed to show up at closing. Existing zoning allowed for 3 stories, but it still needed to be rezoned for 16 rooms or any hotel use. Proposed room sizes were planned as large as or larger than most standard hotels with the exception of a couple smaller, single rooms. Managers were planned on site 24/7 and planned parking met DPNR’s requirements. An independent engineer confirmed septic plans were more than sufficient. We were working on a smaller scale but without property, there is no moving forward.

  8. To clear up some misinformation, here are some actual facts: The rezoning was not denied or approved but put on hold when the sellers failed to show up at closing. Existing zoning allowed for 3 stories, but it still needed to be rezoned for 16 rooms or any hotel use. Proposed room sizes were planned as large as or larger than most standard hotels with the exception of a couple smaller, single rooms. Managers were planned on site 24/7 and planned parking met DPNR’s requirements. An independent engineer confirmed septic plans were more than sufficient. We were working on a smaller scale but without property, there is no moving forward.

  9. Rob and Karen,
    Thanks for the clarification. So I assume you never purchased the property? At least you aren’t out the purchase price.
    The locals who own villas in the Coral Bay area that might sit empty for many weeks of the year are not your competition! If anything, this hotel will help draw more overall interest to the area. First time visitors might stay here instead of springing for the villa. But then they might come for the villa the next trip. Or you might have travellers who will never stay in a private villa and only stay in hotels. This group has only Cruz Bay as an option. But ALL the local Coral Bay businesses will benefit from having people that can stay in Coral Bay and spend their money in Coral Bay. EVERYONE will benefit from this hotel. It will probably even expedite the planned park and marina.
    Thank you for your efforts in trying this venture.
    Dolly

  10. Dolly,
    Everyone who wants more development and traffic and people and competition will benefit, but those who don’t want higher density will NOT. Each step of the quality of life ladder on an Island is based on a carrying capacity which is inversely related. There is no doubt this would pump some money into the coral bay economy. There is also no doubt that this business plan like all has a potential to fail. What I dont want to see is ANOTHER major project go down that does not meet its optimistic projections and then we have to live with the shortsightedness and the interested parties walk with no consequense to the community. Rob and Karen might have been successful, and if in fact the Seller did not perform on the contract, they have lost their due dilligence and time and dreams, but little else. But I predict, and maybe they care to confirm given their public self defense, there is more to the story about why it did not close. Typically it is both parties that can not come to an agreement for some reason. But of course, the current owner has little to no integrity so….

  11. Tourists will have more options to weigh in if this hotel gets built. If this hotel becomes successful in 5 or 10 years in the future, it will attract lots of project proposal for recreational activities. However, a hotel business also entails risks. It should be well-planned and should operate until the ROI is visible. It can also risk the virginity of the environment if it is built. There are lots of things to consider first, so it’s best to think about it carefully. By the way, I’m not arguing or anything. I’m just sharing my insights about this.

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