Jan. 16, 2003 – The interest was high and the bidding heated up toward the end, but when the online live auction eBay Web site closed the page on the Thatch Cay Virgin Islands offering, the sellers said thanks, but no sale.
This does not mean, however, that nothing will come of the effort. Scott McIntyre, owner of record and principal of the California-based company Idealight International, says negotiations generated from the online auction will keep him busy for the next few weeks. "We have people who wanted to buy the whole island. We have people who wanted to buy parcels," he said.
There also is talk between potential buyers and the seller about forming limited liability partnerships to fulfill one of Idealite's goals — to built a retreat and a small number of luxury condominiums on Thatch Cay.
But the sale was put off, McIntyre said, because none of the bids met the reserve price set before the auction began. He said he couldn't disclose what that reserve price was. He also held out the possibility that a sale may come about despite the bids having fallen short.
By the auction cutoff of 1 p.m. V.I. time Thursday, eBay had logged 57 bids for all or part of the 230-acre cay off St. Thomas's north shore near Smith Bay. In the final 24 hours, the bidding for the entire island increased by $100,000. The offerings for the two 57-acre parcels closed at $650,100 apiece. The high bid on the third parcel, of 115.8 acres with higher elevation and a down-island view, held firm from Wednesday at $3,000,100.
Florida-based specialty Realtor Bill Hoyle said that in the last hours, one bidder came forward who wanted to buy the whole cay for $4.2 million. He said the bidder is a celebrity who signaled his interest through a Realtor in New York and whose identity is being kept secret for now.
McIntyre confirmed Hoyle's comment. "I was told the party was of notable public recognition," he said.
In all, McIntyre said, putting Thatch Cay up for bid on the Internet "was a tremendous benefit to us," generating publicity that attracted the kind of interest that could help Idealite reach its objectives for development. If a cash deal comes about as a result of negotiations, he said, the money will likely go toward building the infrastructure needed for construction later on.
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