Feb. 2, 2005 A planned expansion project by Maho Bay Camps owner Stanley Selengut at his Concordia eco-tents and condominium resort could bring change to a remote area of St. John.
Selengut said Monday that he plans to build 20 to 30 villas, construct a yoga center, open a restaurant, develop a recycled arts center, and up the number of eco-tents from 18 to 40. Additionally, Selengut is in the midst of selling 21 one-acre lots near the resort to people who want to build their own villas.
"This is my legacy. I'm taking everything I learned my entire life and making it work," Selengut, now 75, said.
He also plans a shopping area, parking garage and condominiums on a six-acre parcel he owns on the road that runs toward Lameshur. He's termed this project the Annex.
He anticipates the entire project will be completed by the time his lease on the land that houses Maho Bay Camps runs out in 2012. He said that Maho Bay Camps with its elevated boardwalks protecting the environment set the stage for similar resort developments around the world. Maho Bay Camps opened 30 years ago.
Selengut said there is no chance that his lease will be renewed by Geri-Geri Corp. However, he said it is possible that the property could become part of the national park through efforts of a land trust organization. If that happened, and the park decided to continue to operate what is now Maho Bay Camps as a campground concession, it would have to go out for bid.
"It wouldn't be an easy transition," Selengut said.
Harmony Studios, which is part of the Maho Bay Camps complex, sits just uphill from the campground. It is on land Selengut owns and will remain in operation when the Maho Bay Camps lease runs out.
The $20 million project at Concordia will be done in phases, with the restaurant, the yoga center and seven more eco-tents coming first. Selengut hopes to have the restaurant and yoga center open by next winter.
Selengut said he does not plan to expand the number of condominiums at the Concordia resort.
He said he is waiting for the architect's plans to arrive so he can get a building permit. He said he already has a Coastal Zone Management permit for the entire project.
Selengut said he owns about 51 acres at Concordia. Of that acreage, he plans to donate 2.21 acres on the water side of the property to the St. John Land Trust.
While Selengut continues to receive awards and accolades for his efforts in helping to preserve the environment, he stressed that he is first and foremost a businessman.
"It's gratifying to have done a business that's financially successful from the day it opened," Selengut said of Maho Bay Camps.
He said the land sales are funding the new projects at the Concordia resort. He said he plans to pre-sell the villas and the annex condominiums.
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