Emerging from a brief executive session at its monthly meeting Wednesday, Public Finance Authority Board members passed a resolution giving the go-ahead for the purchase of the Anchor Inn, a two-parcel historic property on St. Croix that some said could help speed up the sale of the nearby King’s Alley Hotel.
Senators authorized the PFA to buy the property back in 2006, saying at the time that the inn had fallen into disrepair and "become a haven for illegal activities, rodent infestation and vagrancy."
The PFA recently won the inn at auction, after it had fallen into receivership along with other properties owned by former billionaire and accused Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford, who had purchased the inn and adjacent property when he was making preparations to move into his St. Croix headquarters in 2007 and 2008.
Speaking after the meeting, Finance Commissioner Angel Dawson — now the PFA’s new head of finance and administration — said the property was appraised at $790,000 in February 2006. The PFA, however, will be paying $640,000 for it, with the funds coming from the authority’s existing project account.
"The reality is that it gives us more flexibility and a larger footprint," PFA chairman and Gov. John deJongh Jr. explained later, saying that the extra space could be used to enhance King’s Alley by adding more rooms, parking or even meeting space to make it more attractive to buyers.
DeJongh said the authority is still committed to selling King’s Alley — a private/public project the V.I. government got involved in after the PFA acquired control of the property through default in 2001 — and has already been contacted by "two interested parties" that might be looking to buy "the whole thing together."
Present at Wednesday’s meeting were deJongh, Debra Gottlieb, Keith O’Neale and Pablo O’Neil.