Nov. 9, 2005 Kenneth Mapp, director of Finance and Administration for the Public Finance Authority, gave members of the St. Croix Tourism & Hotel Association an update on the progress at the government's hotel on King's Alley in Christiansted and an overview of PFA plans for urban revitalization.
He said though it had been hoped that the hotel, named Sea Island, would have been completed by the beginning of this tourism season, steady progress has been made. Contract issues and lack of materials, such as cement contributed to the delay. He now sees the hotel fully operational by February.
Twelve of the rooms, which are not owned by the government but are part of the Sea Island complex on the boardwalk, are open. The government section includes 21 rooms. Mapp said the PFA has already negotiated an agreement for a firm from Florida to lease and operate a quality restaurant on the property.
He then described a possible extension of the project that the couple dozen people attending the meeting at the Cormorant Beach Club had probably never heard before. He said the PFA had been trying to buy the Anchor Inn next to the King's Alley hotel, but there was difficulty because the property had been inherited by a number of siblings who could not decide how to dispose of the abandoned hotel.
Mapp said the PFA at its next meeting would begin action to petition the government to take the property by eminent domain. He indicated the old hotel would just be torn down and more public space provided.
He said, "We are very excited about opening Sea Island and helping drive the Christiansted economy."
He also said PFA did not want to go about putting the whole V.I. economy on track in a piecemeal fashion. He said significant improvement had to be made to the infrastructure to bring about urban revitalization.
He said, "We are into urban revitalization in the truest sense of those words. We are following models that have been successful in blighted cities across the United States."
He said that several projects were being supported in the Frederiksted area, besides the visible work being done on the waterfront. He said, when those projects are completed, Christiansted would get similar treatment.
He concluded, "We want to make the towns so people want to live in them again."
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