CORAL BAY — The land and water development plans for the St. John Marina, The Yacht Club at Summer’s End, will be going before a single Department of Planning and Natural Resources Coastal Zone Management public hearing sometime in August – but the developers acknowledge the land side development may not come as fast as the marina.
“Future development is pre-planned for the purposes of this application and will be implemented strictly on market demand,” according to the Earth Change Plan and Environmental Assessment Report for the Development of the Upland Areas of the St. John Marina filed with DPNR.
“This redevelopment project consists primarily of utilizing existing buildings for land based businesses ancillary to and supporting the adjacent marina in Phase I and the addition of several new buildings in Phase II… ,” the application reads. “Ample off-street parking will be provided along with restaurants, Customs and Border protection office, marine office, marine security office, crew shower and locker facilities and apartments to support marina management.”
“The overall development will improve Route 107, add parking along the roadway and add improved pedestrian circulation and walkways, including raised pedestrian crossings and concrete sidewalks,” according to the report prepared by the developers.
“Interface With the Waterfront”
The “interface with the waterfront/marina” on the narrow shoreline on the eastern portion of Parcel 13 Remainder, the Coccoloba commercial complex will include “a covered shade structure at the marina entrance and improvements to the pedestrian crossing on Route 107,” the application reads.
The Coccoloba commercial complex “consists of an existing set of buildings and improvements that currently function as a grocery store, assorted retail stores and an outdoor restaurant and bar facility,” according to the permit application.
“The proposed conditions will renovate this area, improve the restaurant use and add upgraded utilities and wastewater treatment,” the application reads.
“Subject to Shoreline Erosion”
The St. John Marina developers acknowledge the unstable nature of the narrow shoreline along the shoulder of Route 107, the main road to the southeast end of the island.
“To protect the roadway, the southern half of the project area shoreline has been previously armored with boulder rip-rap,” according to the permit application. Further to the south, gabion baskets have been placed along the shoreline indicating the southern portions of the property are subject to shoreline erosion.”
“Dense mangroves protect the shoreline to the north, but the area between the riprap and the mangroves consists of an erosion shorefront,” the permit application reads. “There is a very narrow sandy beach behind which are eroded soils.”
“Many of the seaside maho trees along the shoreline exhibit erosion along their roots,” the filing continued.
Two Zoning Districts, Two Phases
The project site is in two zoning districts, Business-3 and Waterfront-1.
There is no question the marine portion of the development has received most of the attention, but if it comes to fruition, the landside development could have less of an impact on the community.
“Phase II will include four new buildings offering additional retail, restaurant, office space, commercial space and six short-term rental units as shown on the site plans for Parcels 10-17, 10-18 and 10-41 Remainder,” the report for the landside development states.
“The St. John Marina… will have 145 slips and a mooring field with 12 mooring balls,” according to the proposal. “An additional 75 moorings are proposed under this application as a public-private partnership with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) to better manage resources within Coral Bay.”
“Access to the upland businesses by boaters will occur via dinghy dock located at the terminus of the marina. The marina will also include a diesel and gasoline fuel dock and a wastewater system available to the boating public.”
Parcel by parcel the development plan is as follows, according to the filing:
Parcels 13A and 13B, the former Voyages Restaurant, “consists of an existing abandoned restaurant with apartments on the second floor. The proposed conditions will improve and renovate this building, restore the apartments to usable condition, expand and improve the restaurant facilities and include an area dedicated to the offices of marina operations.”
Parcel 10-41 Remainder, Cases by the Sea, “consists of a primarily open lot with one small retail store that was converted from a former residence. All structures on this parcel will be removed. The proposed conditions consists of installation of parking and walkway improvements to support the overall marina development, as well as being programmed for two buildings consisting of retail operations.”
Parcels 10-17 and 10-18 waterfront lots between Island Blues and mangroves consist of an undeveloped lot that currently is unstabilized.” The proposed conditions consist of two buildings that will contain a mixed use of retail, restaurants and apartments in Phase II of the development.”
Parcel 10-19 consists of two existing buildings. “One is currently a restaurant (Island Blues) and the other is a combination of apartments and offices. The proposed condition will maintain the restaurant use and will renovate the apartment/office building into a combined use of apartment, marina office, and short-term crew quarters for addressing crew needs while their boats are docked in the marina and marina security headquarters.”
$8.7 Million Economic Impact
“Even at moderate occupancy projections, the overall economic impact of this upland redevelopment project in conjunction with the marina is the estimated $8,790,000 contribution to the economy of St. John and the USVI. For the most part these are new dollars that were not part of the local economy prior to the development of this project.”
“A combined minimum of 90 jobs will be created with the vast majority of them made available to qualified St. Johnians. This is perhaps the greatest value add by this upland redevelopment project and the St. John Marina as it improves the quality of life for the families of Coral Bay and the East End who need it most.”
St. John Marina; Yacht Club at Summer’s End, LLC, received a $1,273,689 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a marina in Coral Bay, according to an announcement by Delegate to Congress Dr. Donna M. Christensen. The grant was awarded in August 2013.
The principals of the LLC are two Contant residents, Rick Barksdale and Chaliese Summers. St. Johnian Robert O’Connor Jr. is a partner in the project.