About Our Columnist

David Phillips
David Phillips is a Chicago-based freelance writer and consultant with more than 20 years experience in business and community news. He also has extensive reporting experience in the food manufacturing industry for national trade publications.

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Comments
Interesting article, considering Mandahl Bay Holdings has been working towards getting this project permitted for nearly a decade, and has failed in doing such. It has been refused by the Virgin Islands Coastal Zoning Management, and the public resistance to this property was and remains tremendous. The people of the Virgin Islands do not want this project and continue to be very outspoken against it.

It also makes no business/financial sense whatsoever. A large portion of the land they intend to utilize isn't even owned by Mandahl Bay Holdings, it is owned by the Virgin Islands Government. The portion where they intend to build the "high end residential" homes has been for sale for many years, not one person has built there, and only a very few lots have sold. It is not in a location that would be deemed high end residential, the entire hillside above is 1/3 acre lots with smaller less expensive homes.

As a local Virgin Islands Real Estate business owner, I am very surprised people would consider investing in this project. It makes no financial sense to me, and this is my area of expertise.
Posted by Kirk B | Tuesday, March 25 2014 at 9:15AM ET
It would have been great if the author had told the rest of the story.

• The project has remained unfunded and unbuilt since 1964.

• Permits were overwhelmingly rejected after one of the largest environmental protests in St. Thomas history.

• The government has declared the area a rare and sensitive tropical wetlands environment (Area of Particular Concern/A.P.C.) with a unique, healthy and extant bio-diversity found nowhere else on the island.

• Prior work on the land was done without permits

• Mandahl Bay is home to dozens of endangered and protected species that cannot be disturbed under federal law.

• In 1964, when the project was proposed, there was only one hotel on St. Thomas. Today, we cannot fill all of the hotel rooms we have and many docks sit with empty piers. There is no demand for a new hotel and yacht facility. However, if any investor wants to buy a bridge I own in Manhattan ...


••• This video is the true image of Mandahl Bay and its massive bio-diversity of life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7om-9NpXxA

Any investor who puts money into this project should plan extra funding to handle all of the lawsuits residents will file. I spent 22 years writing legislation and policy for Virgin Islands housing, land use and construction. I am also native Virgin Islander with hundreds of years of local ancestry. It is my life's mission to insure that this project is D.O.A. ... Dead On Arrival.
Posted by Karl C | Tuesday, March 25 2014 at 12:36PM ET
INVESTMENT FRAUD ALERT?

Puerto Rico CANNOT offer tax breaks and incentives for investments in the Virgin Islands. That would be like moving to California to get tax breaks in Nevada. It is not legal.

Puerto Rico has no jurisdiction or authority to negotiate tax relief in the Virgin Islands and it would be illegal to promote such. This 'investor scheme' sounds like something to be investigated by the Virgin Islands Attorney General, V.I. Legislature and Federal Trade Commission.

I would hope someone with $500 million to spend would be smart enough to know that Puerto Rico has no ranking in this dog and pony show.
Posted by Karl C | Tuesday, March 25 2014 at 4:13PM ET