June 22, 2004 – In the mid-1980s, Carambola Beach Resort enjoyed top billing as a luxury property. Then, in 1989, it sustained major damage from Hurricane Hugo. Renovations followed as the resort went through several changes of ownership, last being acquired by Estate Davis Bay Resort, LLC in 2002.
Now, as Carambola is about to change hands again, it is slated to undergo significant physical changes as well. Joe Sinicrope of JS Management, LLP, says his company will close on the purchase of the property in the next couple of weeks. And he says that a sports center, a casino and a conference center all are scheduled to open by summer of 2005.
The planned 10,000-square-foot Tom Shaw Sports and Fitness Complex is to encompass a state-of-the-art indoor fitness and training center and a dual-purpose football and baseball field. The facility will serve a variety of clients, including professional and amateur athletes, corporate groups and other resort guests, according to a release. The complex also will be available for St. Croix junior and senior high school students.
"Coach Shaw is sponsored by Nike," Sinicrope said. "He does all Nike's elite training camps. So he will be doing a good bit of work with our high school athletes. It's a tremendous learning experience, because they train at the same time as the pros. Not at the same level, but at the same time."
According to JS Management, Shaw is well known for his performance enhancement work with NFL and college athletes. He has worked with nearly 200 NFL players, including 54 first-round draft picks in the last six years. He is currently the speed and conditioning coach for the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.
Shaw has a training facility in New Orleans but has decided that St. Croix is integral to his business because it has "the hospitality and tranquility that behoove his work," Sinicrope said. "Having the resort and spa enables athletes to travel with family. Looking at training holistically, you can see how that would benefit."
Shaw and several NFL players visited the Carambola resort over Memorial Day weekend. Plans for the complex were officially introduced at a cocktail reception for the athletes.
Sports camps will be offered in football, baseball, basketball, golf and tennis. JS Management is seeking a partnership with a world-class professional tennis player.
Plans for a casino appear less focused.
A move by JS Management to get the territory's casino law amended so that Carambola could qualify for an automatic casino license by virtue of partnering with the V.I. government failed to receive Senate approval last year. (See "Senate Skips Vote on Carambola Casino Bill".)
"At this time, the casino licensing application has not been filed," Shawna Richards, executive director of the Casino Control Commission, said. "Beyond that, we are not able to comment."
According to Richards, the licensing application process is lengthy, easily taking several months. The procedure includes an in-depth investigation by the V.I. Justice Department's Gaming Enforcement Division.
Sinicrope, who could not be reached for comment on this matter, had said that the casino, conference center and sports complex are all proceeding on the same timeline.
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