Governor John deJongh’s veto of Sirenua’s zoning variance will force the luxury condominium construction to partially, if not completely, shut down, according to Enighed Condominiums LLC owner Carlo Marzano.
“One hundred people lost their jobs because of this decision,” said Marzano after the veto. “We’re out of money. These seven units are not for me to make a profit, they are needed for me to finish the project.”
A small group of Sirenusa workers, organized before the veto, demonstrated their support for the project outside Government House on Friday, May 11.
“There is no question the majority of the people at the site will be let go, at least temporarily,” Marzano continued. “The project cannot afford to keep going. There is potential for a complete shut down, but at least there will be a partial shut down.”
The 27th Legislature voted 13 to 1 in April to approve a zoning variance to allow the developer to construct seven additional units in 40 units approved for the project.
DeJongh vetoed the bill on Thursday, May 10, one day before his deadline to take action.
The project’s bank loan is in jeopardy without the additional units, Marzano said.
Bank Loan Said To Be in Danger
“The bank will not finance the project with 40 units,” he said. “There is no more money.”
After the April 17 senate approval St. John residents rallied for the governor to veto the bill. Led by an ad hoc group the St. John Coalition, residents garnered more than 1,000 signatures on a petition calling for a veto.
That campaign only served special interests, according to Marzano.
“These people are primarily continental people against development because they have their million dollar homes already,” he said. “They know exactly what they are doing. It’s not about what is right or wrong, it’s about their own agenda.”
Senators who voted for the zoning variance should hold to their positions, Marzano said.
“I hope the senators that looked at the facts and understood the importance of the legislation not waiver and continue to support what is in the best interest of the island of St. John and the territory,” the developer said.
“Senators should allow this project to be finished and not listen to the wild speculation and scare tactics of very wealthy St. John residents,” Marzano continued.
The site will have a much worse impact on the island if construction is not completed, explained the developer.
Abandoned Site Will Be Eyesore
“This is not about ‘oh we don’t want you to get the extra seven units,’” Marzano said. “This is about this project will shut down and will become an eyesore if I don’t have the additional seven units.”
“I am hoping that the legislature overrides this very, very bad decision by the governor,” the developer said.