April 24, 2006 – St. Croix may soon have another development project when a lease for a major hotel in Betty's Hope is signed by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull. The project promises a hotel casino, conference center and cultural theme park on 500 acres of Port Authority land near the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport.
TransCapital, an investment firm based in Reston, Va., announced in a press release issued Monday that it has reached a lease accord with VIPA. The lease now goes to Turnbull for his signature.
Darnell Dailey, a principal of TransCapital, said VIPA voted favorably on the lease and the company is anxiously awaiting the governor's approval. "Once the agreement has been consummated we will move swiftly to begin all phases of the project," Dailey said.
In October 2005, the Port Authority solicited proposals from investors for a hotel development on VIPA land located southwest of the St. Croix airport. VIPA is offering a 50-year lease with two 10-year renewal options.
The VIPA Board approved the lease to TransCapital in a meeting April 20. According to the lease, TransCapital would invest $100 million on construction within five years of the agreement's start date or three years after all zoning and permits were issued.
Dailey expressed his gratitude to Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards, whom Dailey said was "a major guiding force" in moving the project forward. The lieutenant governor's "determination to bring investment opportunities to the Virgin Islands is surely a reflection of his commitment to St. Croix," Dailey said in the release.
Richards said Monday that bringing investors to stimulate economic development on St. Croix is not an easy task. "It takes a lot of cajoling, nurturing and convincing to get them here and invest millions of dollars in our economy," he said.
"The TransCapital project would be another private/public partnership in which St. Croix and the Virgin Islands would be able to reap great economic benefits."
Richards said he was pleased that VIPA and TransCapital reached an agreement, saying the project would infuse capital in the territory and on St. Croix in particular.
"This is a critical development and will have an unbelievable positive impact on the territory's economy for the next 10 to 15 years," Richards said.
After the formal signing of the lease, Dailey said TransCapital would submit a master plan to VIPA, so they could begin acquiring the necessary zonings.
"We believe this is a win-win situation for both sides and hope to have keys in the door within the next three to four years," Dailey said in the release.
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