Home News Local news BEAL SAYS IT'S DROPPING ST. CROIX PLANS

BEAL SAYS IT'S DROPPING ST. CROIX PLANS

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Beal Aerospace is "abandoning" its plans on St. Croix, despite assurances by company officials in recent days that the company still wanted to build a rocket assembly plant and world headquarters offices on the island.
In a terse three-sentence statement to the media Friday afternoon, Wade Gates, Beal’s director of corporate affairs, said the company is "abandoning efforts to build its corporate offices and primary assembly facility on St. Croix." Beal will, he said, "continue to explore its expansion opportunities in the continental United States."
Gates said in the release that company officials would not comment further. He did not return a call from the Source Friday evening.
Earlier in the week it was reported that the State of Florida had offered the company an incentive package to locate the assembly and headquarters facility with the Spaceport Florida Authority at Cape Canaveral. The Spaceport Authority provides financing, advocacy, technical support, business incentives and facility/infrastructure development for space-related projects.
Despite the Florida offer, Gates had said, Beal planned to pursue development on St. Croix because the island is located relatively close to possible rocket launch sites in Guyana and Anguilla.
Beal's St. Croix plans suffered a setback on Dec. 15, when a Territorial Court judge ruled against an agreement between the V.I. government and Caribbean Space Technologies, a Beal affiliate, on an exchange of land that would have given the company public property on which to construct its facilities.
Judge Alphonso Andrews granted the request by Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, and other plaintiffs for a permanent injunction against the land swap that was proposed by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull and approved by the 23rd Legislature on Oct. 5. The swap would have given the company 14.5 acres of public land, known as Camp Arawak, in exchange for land it owns in Estate Whim and La Grange Hill.
Caribbean Space/Beal already owns 270 acres adjacent to Camp Arawak. Company officials contended that they needed the public property for a portion of the assembly plant and a parking lot.
Gates had said the company would appeal the court decision and was starting the environmental permit process for the project.
A separate lawsuit filed by the St. Croix Environmental Association is pending.

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