Feb. 16, 2006 – Adam Holwerda, director of international development for the Throgmartin Company, made clear Thursday night that nothing was going to be fast concerning plans to develop a 1,327-acre resort and residential community at Annaly Bay.
He told members of St. Croix Hotel and Tourism Association that work on the major hotel, along with the creation of 2,000 jobs, was four or five years away. He said, "We are not going to rush the permitting process or the hotels." The three-hotel project was announced in December at a press conference at Government House. (See "Developers Propose Major Resort for St. Croix".)
Holwerda emphasized again, as he did at the initial announcement, his company meant to see the project through. He said, "We do not fail." He urged Virgin Islanders to visit the company's Web site.
Carol Cramer-Burke, executive director of the St. Croix Environmental Association, asked a question that has been on the minds of many residents since the project was proposed: "How do you plan to make a beach that is hospitable to visitors."
Holwerda replied, "I really don't know yet." He said he had been on a boat off the north shore and recognized that the seas there could be very dangerous. He pointed out that Carambola Resort had managed to make a nice beach. He added, "We know we want a swimmable beach."
Another resident said Carambola had experienced problems because there were not many other services or amenities in the area.
Holwerda said that development would include five or six residential villages and a village with retail space on top of the hill overlooking the bay.
In response to another question, he said the developers planned that all services, such as water and sewage, would be "self-contained."
He said he had been asked about the possibility of a marina at the development and had answered, "It never crossed our minds."
He was also asked if house sales would be handled through local realtors. He answered that the company would be doing some in-house sales and presales, but was looking to develop relationships with local realtors.
About three dozen people attended the hotel association meeting held at the Hibiscus.
In an earlier press release, St. Croix Hotel and Tourism President Fred Laue said, "We are always excited to see new developments on St. Croix. Additions to our hotel product help to generate new interest in the destination and ensure that St. Croix remains competitive in the industry."
Laue owns the Inn at Pelican Heights.
The proposed Annaly Bay development, scheduled to break ground in mid-2007, includes 1,000 hotels rooms, hilltop residences, a conference center, an equestrian facility, a golf academy and a par-three practice course. Plans also include a casino and an 18-hole golf course. Each hotel will be managed by a American or international hospitality brand, but Holwerda said his company planned to maintain a substantial ownership stake.
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