Time is running out for Caneel Bay Resort if it wants to reopen the resort on the north shore of St. John with tax incentives.
The Economic Development Commission governing board ruled Tuesday that for the resort to keep its benefits it must meet several stipulations, including a report in 10 days about its lease negotiations.
The board’s decision also says if Caneel Bay Resort does not commence business operations by July 1 of 2022 it will lose benefits.
Commission staff reported the resort has said it is working with the Department of the Interior and National Park Service on a new lease by which the company could continue to occupy the real estate. Its present lease expires in 2023.
However, in July of this year, the National Park Service announced the lease for the Caneel Bay Resort will go out for bid.
National Park Superintendent Nigel Fields on Wednesday emailed the Source saying, “The NPS has determined that a competitive bid is in the park’s best interest.”
He added that a request for proposals will be made “in advance of 2023, will be open to the public and we encourage all interested parties to submit a response.”
The commission is requiring Caneel, within 10 days, to report to it on the status of its lease negotiations.
Caneel has control of the property until September 2023 under a unique arrangement crafted by Laurance Rockefeller in 1983, setting aside the 150-acre resort for independent operation and management. The Park Service in a July press release wrote that the agreement “will remain in place until its expiration on September 30, 2023, when the NPS assumes full responsibility.”
The release also referred to an Environmental Assessment process to begin this month.
The Commission called upon another resort – Sugar Bay on St. Thomas — to pay its debts to the government while its Certificate of Tax Incentives was being voluntarily terminated.
Sugar Bay, like Caneel, has not been able to get up and running since the hurricanes of 2017.
The governing board acknowledged that Sugar Bay’s ability to comply with its Certificate of Tax Incentives was impacted by the hurricanes and would forgive the resort a late reporting fine of $6,392.32.
But the board’s decision went on to require Sugar Bay to satisfy its outstanding obligations with the government.
The largest entry would require Sugar Bay to pay to the commission, within 10 days of the closing of a sale, $225,000 to be directed to the Industrial Promotion Fund.
Other payments the decision required were to the Board of Education Territorial Scholarship Fund – $9,000, and to the Department of Labor –$7,500.
The Governing Board in its other decisions Tuesday voted to grant Black Diamond Advisors LLLP and Black Diamond Holdings LLLP another 10 years of benefits.
The Board also approved two new applicants for benefits – Centripetal VI, a manufacturing company, and Systilogic LLC, a designated service business for business management.
Attending the board meeting were Philip Payne, Haldane Davies, Kevin Rodriquez, and Jose Penn.