New shopping center already on the market


That was fast.

Still being completed in February, Greenleaf Commons is now for sale with an asking price of $4.95 million. 

The retail/office building is located on the South Shore road, opposite the Westin Resort maintenance building.  Businesses located in the project include St. John Market, a spa, a gift shop, and the locally-owned Merchants Commercial Bank.

The listing describes the selling points saying, “Investment opportunity in this brand new retail/office building! Beautiful architecture with stone work, columns and arches. Ample on-site parking and back up generator.”

See the listing at http://www.islandiavi.com/

Animal Care Center needs help

DogThere are happy dogs, and there are happier dogs. I don’t think I’ve ever met an unhappy dog. 

But the pooches (and kitties) at the St. John Animal Care Center have to work at being happy.  

The volunteers at the Center are always scraping to help their charges get by.  The number of homeless dogs and cats is always rising, and, therefore, so is the Center's need for food, blankets, beds, and toys.

“The ACC has no funds,” one of the volunteers told the Inquiring Iguana.

So, it’s time for the ACC to pitch for more funds.  The next event is about three weeks away,  the “No Fleas Flea Market.”  IT’S an opportunity for folks on island to mount their own garage sales on the grounds of the Sprauve school ball yard.  Sellers can reserve a space in the ball yard for $25. It’s also an opportunity for visitors to find some bargains in local art and crafts.

Nofleas_1 Nofleas_2
As the Iguana likes to say, “Anything on St. John is more valuable here than there, because it’s here!”

The Flea Market opens at 10 a.m, Oct. 24.

If the No Fleas Please sale is too far away, since you're in the States … you can do the simple thing to help.  send Money.  Via Paypal at http://www.stjohnanimalcarecenter.com/help.html

  • By the way, the photo of the happy dog above, is from a recent ‘Incredible Dog Challenge’ competition sponsored by Purina.  See many happy dogs in the event, here.

Dolphin, the low price leader this month


latest food basket survey by the Department of Licensing and Consumer
found Cruz Bay’s Dolphin Market the cheapest. 

Among three
stores surveyed, the sample food basket items at Dolphin totaled $60.68.  In second place, Pine Peace Market was 6% higher, at $64.36.  The basket at Starfish Market
cost $65.60, 7.5% higher than Dolphin.

Speaking of food
prices, the Inquiring Iguana's father in law and nephew are staying at Blue Tang
this week.  They e-mailed, “Blown away by the prices e.g. $6.99 for a
loaf of bread or $10 for a bag of potato chips! Needless to say, we
deferred stocking up to a StT. run. (I did spring for a $10 Sam Adams

But they LOVE Blue Tang. (Looking for a vacation villa?  Check it out at BlueTang.vi.)

Amazing St. John photos

Jason St. Peter lives in Texas but part of his heart appears to be in St. John. 

Stpeter A passionate photographer, he’s in the vanguard of the art using the HDR technique, aka high dynamic range. 

An HDR picture appears three-dimensional, the image is so clear and the colors so vivid.  In fact, it’s not just one picture. It's several taken with the lens opening progressively larger or smaller, so highlights and dark elements are photographed at different exposures.

This is a St. Peter photo at Cinnamon Bay.  It’s called All Alone at Sunset

He has several other HDRs of St. John here. A portrait, of Pirate Bill of Coral Bay, is priceless!  St. Peter's blog features many other HDRs of many other places. Amazing stuff.

Your tax dollars at work on Gifft Hill


Potholed, rutted, broken, dangerous, slippery, narrow, switchback-cornered Gifft Hill is going to get some attention, thanks to the federal government’s stimulus spending.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on the South Shore road, near the Westin, to mark the start of an almost 3-mile road repair project which runs from the E&C service station in Cruz Bay all the way along South Shore, up Gifft Hill, past the school and onto Centerline Road.

At the event, Governor John de Jongh conceded, “It will cause disruption. I hope people won't get too mad at Public Works, because it's all for the betterment of the community.”

The Route 104 project includes road reconstruction, pavement overlaying, guard rails, new signs and other improvements.

"It's a local contractor local people are employed in the project. It's exactly what President Obama was looking for,” the Governor said.Financing for the job is being provided by an $18 million Stimulus allocation to the territory.  Other projects on St. Thomas and St. Croix will also be funded by  the money over the next two years.

Roundabout 9 months from completion


The St. John Roundabout project has been underway since August of last year.  Supervisors are confident they’ll complete the nearly $7 million job a bit ahead of schedule, by next June, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News.

This photo is from the Islandia Real Estate blog. Its office building overlooks the construction site and offers periodic visual updates like this.

In fact, the Roundabout is already being used use.  Islandia says vehicles are using portions of the roundabout even though the work continues.  Things still left to do are completion of moving utilities underground and making connections, building some curbs and, of course, paving.  “For the most part, structures are complete,” Wystan Benjamin, of Public Works, told the Daily News.

Grande Bay wants a break


Developers of the Grande Bay condo project are asking for some public support in advance of a rezoning hearing this week.

At a meeting open to the public at the Marketplace, Bay Associates’ Kelly Frye made his case to the 15 people who attended that approval of the development’s latest rezoning request, which will allow it to sell the condominium units, is a good thing.  Frye said that his rezoning request actually will reduce the number to be built, from the already-authorized 14 to six.

Implicit in Frye’s remarks was a warning that Bay Isles needs the additional sales to sure additional financing so it can complete the project.  No rezoning?  No resales? No ????!

The St. John Source reported on the meeting in this story: http://stjohnsource.com/print/79684

A number of people who attended the meeting were critical of Frye and the project, the Source reported. Their complaints were that the three-story waterfront project is out of scale, and inconsistent with the island’s ecology and atmosphere.

A Grande Bay condo owner Jennifer Harrington of Minneapolis, was one of those who attended the meeting.  She told the Source, “We’re a little embarrassed to be part of this.  we’ve learned how hard it is for the whole island.”

The rezoning hearing is set for Thursday, Oct. 1.

More about Paradiso, etc.


Still no comment from the folks who own/manage the Balcony, Paradiso, Asolare and Chloe’s

First word the eateries were “in trouble” cropped up a week ago, courtesy of Anthony Finta’s Virgin-Islands-On-Line posting.  An e-mail to the company brought no immediate response, nor anything since then.

However, the Inquiring Iguana's publishing the story this week has brought more information.

  • One commenter alleged some employees of the restaurants are owed “thousands” of dollars in back pay and have been afraid to stop working for fear they’d never see a penny.
  • Another reader found that the company’s Web site, stjohn-restaurants.com, is now off line.  The site is apparently maintained by Andy Clausen at Savant Media Group in Coral Bay.

The Cleveland Clinic will see you now

The Cleveland Clinic has come to St. John, via telemedicine and generous financial contributions from the island’s Donald Sussman and St. John Rotary.

A ‘virtual office” at the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center is being outfitted to provide opportunities for specialists at the famed Cleveland Clinic to examine and diagnose St. John patients.  The Virgin Islands Daily News, reporting the launch of the project, said specialty services  including pulmonology, rheumatology, dermatology and cardiology will be available.

Sussman, who has been generous many times with donations on the island, kick-started the project with a donation to Rotary.  The Club then agreed to support the project’s operations for three years, the newspaper said.

Obviously, being in the middle the ocean, and at least 45 minutes
from a hospital on St. Thomas, the availability of top flight medical
care is desirable and now possible.

New restaurant in Stone Terrace location


Nile and Courtney Wright have leased the former Stone Terrace restaurant space in Cruz Bay. They are planning to open a moderately-priced Mexican restaurant in about two months. (Picture at left is from Nile's Facebook page.)

“My wife and I are looking forward to making the tastefully built building in prime location become alive again!,” Wright told the Inquiring Iguana.

“Our overall theme is eclectic Mexican cuisine that is upscale, but not overly pricey,” he said. 

Given the perceived uncertainty about the island’s best known upscale restaurants, Wright’s decision to be mid-range makes a lot of sense.

In fact, Wright's talking about value meals. “ It is also very important to me to not only serve excellent tasting food, but to give our customers hefty portions for plenty of leftovers.”

Doggy bags on St. John.  That would be a first!

But man cannot live by tacos and enchiladas alone, he said. “We also going to roll out our signature drink, the ‘Mexican Martini’, that is served with a full shaker for multiple refills."