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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, September 21, 2023


Oct. 17, 2002 – A partnership of the St. Thomas firm of Custom Builders and the Pennsylvania-based American Bridge Co. has won the contract to build the long-awaited Enighed Pond commercial port.
Custom Builders will construct the land side of the project, with American Bridge doing the marine work. "It's a perfect fit," said Steve Lammens, Custom Builders president.
The partners, with a $12.8 million bid, beat out three other finalists, Port Authority spokeswoman Shirley Smith said – Cashman Contractors of Boston, Meisener Marine Construction of Tampa, and Devcon International of Deerfield Beach, Florida.
An evaluation committee consisting of Port Authority staff and Public Works Department and Government House representatives recommended Custom Builders/American Bridge, and their choice was ratified on Wednesday at a meeting of the Port Authority governing board.
Smith said 30 percent of the design work on the project is complete.
Lammens said his company has not yet received official notification of its selection but that the partners will have 455 days after the contract is signed to complete the job.
Smith said a formal Notice of Award will be issued to the principals in the joint venture, asking them to submit insurance papers and other documents within 30 days of the notice.
The project will be funded through GARVEE (for Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle) bonds. The GARVEE bonds allow the government to start the project without the money in hand because it will pay the principal and associated costs of the bonds out of the yearly $12.5 million the government gets from the Federal Highway Administration.
Smith said the money has not yet been received.
Sen. Roosevelt David, who worked to get the GARVEE bond legislation approved, said he was unsure of the status of the bonds.
Kenneth Mapp, director of finance and administration for the Public Finance Authority, was not available Thursday to answer questions on the subject.
Lammens said Custom Builders has been working in the Virgin Islands since 1986. He said the company built the swimming pool at the Westin Resort and did renovations at Caneel Bay Resort.
American Bridge, founded in 1900, has completed marine projects all over the world, including the Disney cruise ship berth at the island of Abaco in the Bahamas and the Lloyd Werft cruise ship repair facility in Freeport, Bahamas. The company has its home office in Coraopolis, Penn., but this project is out of its Orlando, Fla., office.
The Public Finance Authority has been working on floating up to $16 million dollars worth of GARVEE bonds for the St. John port project. Port Authority executives keeping tabs on the funding efforts say the PFA is hoping to have the bonds in place by next month.
It's been close to 30 years since the Enighed Pond port was proposed. The last 10 years have seen efforts by Government House, the Legislature, the Port Authority and private interests to try to get permits and funding in place to build the port, part of an effort to reduce traffic from private and commercial vehicles loading and unloading onto barges in the heart of Cruz Bay.

Judi Shimel contributed to this report.
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