Above: a rendering of the project (USVIG)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
A major new resort development is coming to the island of St Thomas, including its first new hotel in two decades.
US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh and the principals of Mandahl Bay Holdings have signed an agreement to develop “Port of Mandahl,” a $487 million resort community on the northern side of the island.
Mandahl Bay Holdings is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Transcontinental Realty Investors.
At the core of that project will be a 300-room Hyatt Regency Hotel.
“The proposed Port of Mandahl development represents the first new hotel to be built on this island in more than two decades, but continues the efforts of my administration to ensure the Territory remains attractive to guests, competitive with other locations, while ensuring jobs and business opportunities for our people,” de Jongh said. “With the signing of today’s agreement and the subsequent consideration of the nearly half a billion dollar development by the Virgin Islands Legislature, this project stands to enhance the profile of the Virgin Islands globally.”
George Dudley, counsel to the developer, said the project would “fill a critical gap and meet an essential need.”
“The life-blood of the US Virgin Islands is our tourism industry, and even with the recent private investments to broaden our attractions and government investments, we have had no new hotel or resort construction in the last twenty years,” he said. “The fastest way to grow the VI economy is through tourism, and our most immediate opportunity is to revitalize our tourism product by developing a major new tourist destination that will generate near term construction jobs and expenditures and at completion, an array of permanent jobs, expanded amenities that will we remain an attractive destination and have a competitive advantage.”
According to the government, Mandahl Bay Holdings will begin with a $209 million construction investment in the first phase of the project.
The project is also slated to include a 50-slip marina, private estates and marina townhouses and 48,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, all in phase one.
The second phase will include improvements to Mahogany Run Golf Course and a new 30,000-square-foot convention facility.
“We have assembled a highly experienced team of environmental consultants to work closely with the Coastal Zone Management Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure we meet and adhere to all regulatory requirements and environmental issues, and with the specific goal of providing a new beach and protecting existing coral in Mandahl Bay,” said Tracy Roberts, principal of Springline Architects.
Construction on the 400-acre development is slated to begin in 2016, with eventual plans for more than 700 permanent employees at the project.