Real estate update, New Convenience store

From @CruzBayRealty on Twitter.

  • The St. John housing market is holding up pretty good. So far, 12 homes have sold and 7 others are pending and the year is only half over!
  • A new deli, meat counter, and wine section has opened at the St. John Market (across from the Westin). More 5-stop shopping on St. John.
  • E&C Gas Station is adding a convenience store and tire store. A second gas station has broken ground near the Westin Resort.

Hiding in plain sight?

Many years ago, the Westin Resort used to host Comedy Night.  Locals would do standup, you'd drink a few beers, and have a few laughs.

One evening, the Inquiring Iguana was walking out of the room and spotted a face he knew. Turned out to be a guy from a former life who, it was apparent, had had some issues with the federal authorities in New orleans and decided to relocate.

There are others like him on the island.  They found St. John a relaxed place to live and out of the way but not TOO far out of the way.

Well, a recent Craigslist posting indicates the island can still attract its share of characters. 


Villa renters should like property tax freeze

The horrific real estate revaluation of a few years ago is dead.  So said Bernadette Williams, the VI Tax Assessor, during a legislative hearing last week.

Credit the V.I. Unity Day Group for keeping the pressure on to push for Senate action to reduce St. John property values.  Villa renters should also be pleased since it means owners' annual expenses will not, overnight, rise thousands of dollars a year.

Locals and off-islanders alike were shocked by the revaluation done by Bearing Point, a consulting firm.

In one case cited at the hearing, a property had been valued at $40,000.  After the revaluation, it was assessed at $1.7 million.

In its report about the hearing, the Virgin Islands Daily News reported the Assessor said tax bills for for 2006 through 2009 will be issued at the 1998 property values.  The tax bill for 2008 is expected to arrive in mailboxes next month.  The 2009 bill will be issued next year. The bill for 2010 will be based on the revaluation yet to be done, according to the Daily News story. 

So, those of you who believe the VI government can act efficiently and get this job done soon, you can start saving for that tax day.

Or not.

Win a Kenny Chesney life vest for your dog

Raffle Kenny's doing it for the dogs.

The island's celebrity home owner, and occasional Woody's bartender, has added a last-minute bonus for this weekend's all-island dog show, Wagapalooza.

Kenny Chesney has put his 'John Hancock' on a large doggie life jacket to be raffled off as part of this year's event. The vest is one of dozens of items in the Wagapalooza raffle.  Or, as those wags at the ACC call it, a "Woof"-le.

For a $5 donation/raffle purchase, you can win your very own chunk of Chesney.  Send an e-mail to [email protected], the Animal Care Center, and buy your tickets.

2011tshirt Other goodies include dinners from Rhumblines, Cafe Roma and Joe's Barbecue; two nights at Maho Bay or two nights at Grande Bay, and even a gift certificate for teeth whitening.  You can see the entire list at the Wagapalooza Web site.

And even though you may not be on island, you have a chance to win.  Just email the ACC and tell them how many $5 raffle tickets you want to buy.  (Bargain pricing option: five for $20.)  They'll be happy to charge your credit card.

The 11th annual Wagapalooza is set for tomorrow at the ball field next to the National Park Service building, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A deal at Caneel

In case you need reminding, time is fleeting.

Caneel video

Which is kind of the focus of a marketing video posted by Caneel Bay Resort on its Facebook page. There is no narrative; no plot, and no action.  

Caneel is running a summer special.  Now through August 26th, stay 5 consecutive nights in one of a Beach Front or higher room category and get the 5th night free.

New Cruz Bay Park, ready for the 4th?

With Carnival and July 4th festivities less than six weeks away, some folks have been worried that the $200,000 renovation of the park in Cruz Bay may not be completed by then.

Not to worry is the position of the Public Works department, as reported by the Virgin Islands Daily News. "We are on target to have it completed for the celebrations," Commissioner Darryl Smalls said.

(Photo courtesy of No See Um's blog.) Since the project began in March, the park has been walled off while workers replace landscaping, replace sidewalks, add lighting and prepare to put down paver stones.

Within weeks of the start, one business located at the Park decided to close and some locals and visitors suggested doing the work during high season wasn't smart.

Commissioner Smalls said, "There is no ideal time for construction."

Probably the best place to see the work is from a window at St. John Spice, at the corner and on the second floor.

Barbecue wars

You wouldn't expect St. John to boast great barbecue spots.  But it does.  

Candis The one everyone knows about is Joe's Barbecue in Cruz Bay, across the street from the post office and Cap's Place.  

The other is Candi's, located in a shed on the road going out of town toward the Westin, just before a stop sign. (That's it at the left, courtesy of PlateoftheDay.com.)

Joe's primary attractions are good chicken and ribs and low prices.  

Among its biggest fans is Trent Sandusky who blogged,

"Eating at Uncle Joe's BBQ is as simple and stress-free as finding it. Pull out a plastic chair, grab a bottle of something cold, and order ribs or chicken. It doesn't matter which one you choose; they're both tender, comforting and downright awesome."

On the other hand, PlateoftheDay.com trumpeted Candi's.

"It was nice to just sit down and have some grilled fish fresh off the grill. The combo includes a side of peas and rice, fries and salad for $14. That’s actually cheap on this island believe it or not. It was also a lot of food, so we couldn’t complain."

Read moreBarbecue wars

Coral Bay business opportunity

Shipwreck landing

OK, the Inquiring Iguana's face is red.  He screwed up yesterdayShipwreck Landing, the popular waterfront restaurant in Coral Bay is not for sale. The land underneath it, however, is.

See, Islandia Real Estate's listing of the three-quarter acre property says what's offered is "well established 'island style' restaurant and shops on the waters' edge in Coral Bay."  

Well, it turns out that the listing is misleading … the businesses themselves are not for sale … just the real estate where those businesses are located.

In other words, a new owner would have four tenants – including a restaurant, for as long as those leases are in place.

The real estate includes several retail spaces across from the restaurant building, suitable (and currently leased by) gift shops.  

The listing also offers hope: "Plenty of room to expand or possibly add dock."  A reasonable person would assume from this description that the property includes rights to the waterfront acoss the road from the restaurant – just imagine the traffic issues that could create with wait persons and customers moving back and forth.

Read moreCoral Bay business opportunity

Wagapalooza rained out

WAGA11postponedwebsmall The Animal Care Center's
biggest annual fund raiser has been rained out.

For what seems at least a week, the weather pattern has been clouds and rain. Saturday's was no different.

Days of rain have made the Sprauve School playground a muddy mess, certainly not a venue welcoming to lots of four-legged competitors.  And nobody likes to pretend they're having a good time standing outside in the rain.

So the ACC has called it a day in Cruz Bay and plans to try again next Saturday.

Learn more at the Wagapalooza Web site.