When Richard Heyl of St. Louis, Missouri, met with real estate agent Susanne Kirk of Cruz Bay Realty to review a waterfront property for sale in Estate John’s Folly in 2003, Kirk informed Heyl the owner, Margaret Cheney, had two restrictions on the sale of the property she had owned for 50 years with her late husband Robert — don’t touch the two 100-year-old tamarind trees and the property could only be divided into two lots.
Although the property was zoned for as many as six lots, the two lot restriction was a possible deal-breaker, according to Heyl, who decided to attempt to put a deal together and is co-managing member of the owner of the property, JFOV, LLC.
The Cheney property had been put on the market in 2001 with Cruz Bay Realty with an asking price of $845,000:
Older one bedroom/1bath frame cottage, with second bedroom in separate building, located on a fantastic 1.74 acre waterfront parcel on John’s Folly, read a real estate ad in the St. John Tradewinds. Gorgeous view of the British Virgin Islands, Leduck and Ram Head from this almost flat parcel that could be subdivided into three parcels. A unique opportunity to own waterfront property.
Making Deal Work
Although Mrs. Cheney, who had built two small cottages on the property with her late husband Robert in the 1950s, initially insisted there be a restriction of only one building lot, she later decided to allow two lots in 2002, according to Heyl.
In order to make the deal work with four lots, Heyl promised Mrs. Cheney he would not build condominiums on the property and the two old tamarind trees would not be touched (they would be protected in the deed), according to the co-managing member.
Heyl also promised the project would honor her husband’s memory of the pristine site and he would give Mrs. Cheney full asking price if she would allow four lots instead of two. After being given some time to think about it, Mrs. Cheney agreed to the deal in May 2003 and it closed in August 2003, added Heyl.
Luxury Villas with Pools
The soothing sound of the surf on the rough coral beach and consistent breeze enhance the “unique opportunity” presented by the property which is zoned Residential-2.
When completed, the project, John’s Folly Ocean Villas, will include a total of 21 to 22 bedrooms, 28 bathrooms and six pools, according to the master plan.
“My principal partner John Palczuk of Raleigh, North Carolina, and I had 15 months of planning before we started the project,” said Heyl.
“Additionally, since the project began, we have made architectural design adjustments as needed to honor our master plan,” Heyl added, including maintaining sight-lines for each villa’s water views.
The conceptual design of the project consists of four villas; two proposed four- or five-bedroom villas with walking paths to the coral beach and the two permitted oceanfront villas with two pools each, according Heyl.
The architect for the project is William Willigerod of St. John.
Construction of the six-bedroom villa on lot one is well under way with completion scheduled for first quarter 2007, according to the architect.
Construction of the seven-bedroom villa on lot two will begin upon final approval of pending permits and is expected to be completed in the first quarter 2008, according to Willigerod.
“I’ve kept my promise to Mrs. Cheney by not touching the two tamarinds,” said Heyl. “John and I have instructed the builder, John Hebert of The Pro Shop, Inc. to keep the palm, mango, mahogany and flamboyant trees.”
Trees in the way of construction are being transplanted whenever it is realistically possible, added Heyl.
John’s Folly Ocean Villas has allocated a significant amount of funding for landscaping — with instructions to the landscaping contractor to plant foliage and trees indigenous to the south side of the property, according to Heyl.
“Should our irrigation system go down, all the landscaping will survive,” said Heyl.
Wedding, Corporate Retreat
Each villa can stand alone or together and would be great for weddings or corporate retreats, according to Heyl.
“When complete, the four villas can be rented individually by the week and together,” said Heyl. “Wedding planners are going nuts over this because it will have a total of 21 to 22 bedrooms if all four villas are rented as a compound.”