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HomeNewsArchivesNew Mega-Yacht Facility On St. Croix's Horizon?

New Mega-Yacht Facility On St. Croix's Horizon?

Oct. 5, 2005 – Can St. Croix become the next St. Barths with mega-yachts and giga-yachts sailing into Gallows Bay, their passengers strolling the new boardwalk to spend their money in Christiansted?
This is the vision presented to about 50 people from the St. Croix business community Tuesday night by the newly minted Crucian Global partners, Michael Fields and Duane Bobeck, at Government House.
Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards opened the presentation by saying, "This is the best project to come to St. Croix in 25 years."
The development would accommodate 40 yachts from 40 to 250 feet long, and be complemented by a three-story, mixed-used retail and office building totaling 140,400 square feet.
Fields said the only government help the reported $47 million project will need is for maintenance dredging of the harbor and an upgrading of the pump station in Gallows Bay. In September the governing board of the V.I. Port Authority authorized Darlan Brin, the executive director, to enter into negotiations with the developers.(See, "VIPA to Begin Negotiations on Gallows Bay Development").
Fields said his optimistic hope was that all permits would be obtained and construction could begin next summer.
However, another member of the development team, Gordon Finch, said, "It has taken nine months to get a dredging permit for the Frederiksted pier and that was already designated a commercial pier."
Several people also questioned when the boardwalk would be finished from Christiansted to Gallows Bay. Richards would not commit to a date for that, saying only that "It will commence immediately after Phase 2 is completed."
The problem is Phase 2, which connects downtown Christiansted to the Seaborne Airlines terminal, was scheduled to be open in July. It appears to be finished, but for some reason that no official will give, it has not been opened.
Although no one vocalized opposition to the proposal, expressed concern about what would become of the fishermen. Fishermen often bring in their catch at the Christiansted side of Gallows Bay and it becomes a social activity as they get family members to help clean the fish and everyone talks about how the day went.
Bobeck, a 15-year resident of St. Croix, said the passengers on the yachts would be coming to enjoy "the cultural experience," and the developers would not do any thing to disturb that.
He said the yacht industry is growing fast and that in the Virgin Island area there are only 150 slips for yachts, while other areas have at least 650 slips.
He said in the short term what could be used as an attraction to yacht owners is a "30 percent" reduction in fuel costs, but the long-term attraction would be the "upscale tourist experience."
The development is also expected to attract some small cruise lines. A couple of the Windjammer Barefoot Cruise vessels would fall under the 250-foot maximum length. However, the Legacy, which goes out of St. Thomas is 294 feet long.

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