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Sunday, December 3, 2023


Jan. 4, 2002 – The West Indian Co. has three construction projects on its drawing board, one of them an in-house undertaking and the other two developments planned for land the company owns.
In the first instance, WICO hopes to begin construction on a new administration building adjacent to its existing accounting and operations center in Havensight shortly, according to company spokesman Calvin Wheatley.
The Coastal Zone Management permit needed for the work "has been approved, and construction will get under way during the first quarter of this year," Wheatley said in the latest issue of the WICO newsletter, distributed Wednesday. The current main office building has become "inadequate for the needs of the company," he said.
The other two projects are the long-planned Carifest theme park to be developed on land owned by the company and a commercial development planned by the new owners of the Yacht Haven Hotel and Marina complex for WICO-owned landfill adjacent to the hotel property.
"It is hoped that the long-awaited construction of the Carifest cultural theme park will get under way during this year," the newsletter stated.
Because of changes in the ownership/management structure of the theme park as a result of legislation enacted last fall, Wheatley said, "it is expected that there will be renegotiation of certain terms and conditions of the lease." He expressed hope that financing arrangements can be wrapped up by early this year, with construction to commence shortly thereafter.
According to the newsletter, WICO officials are still in discussion with officials of PRM Long Bay, which owns the hurricane-battered Yacht Haven Hotel, about leasing the adjacent landfill acreage. PRM is seeking a long-term lease in order to develop the property.
Wheatley said such a lease would facilitate construction of a portion of a commercial complex planned by PRM that has the potential for "strong economic impact" locally. He noted that WICO "has pledged cooperation with the owners to facilitate the CZM approval process."
The newsletter also reported that:
– For 2001, cruise ships brought a total of 1,790,452 passengers to St. Thomas, compared to 1,719,837 in 2000, "a modest increase of 4 percent." (For the first seven months of 2001, arrivals had been up 14 percent over 2000, and WICO was projecting that the total 2001 figure would top 1.9 million.)
Since the immediate drop in cruise business following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, "there has been a steady improvement in the number of cruise passenger arrivals at St. Thomas, particularly those who have to fly to ports of embarkation," the newsletter said.
– WICO will no longer issue long-range schedules for ship arrivals in the territory but will instead provide month-by-month information. This is because of the rapidity with which changes are occurring these days within cruise line operations, it noted.
– Four new ships have called at St. Thomas this season — Celebrity Cruises' Infinity and Summit and Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas — and another, Carnival's Pride, will begin visiting the territory in mid-January. Meantime, the Norway resumed weekly calls on Dec. 20 after an absence of some four months.
– Gov. Charles W. Turnbull had asked WICO and other entities to submit position papers on the proposed development of cruise port facilities at Crown Bay. The letter noted that WICO, Main Street merchants and some legislators have expressed opposition to the proposal advanced by the Port Authority and two cruise lines. "At the time of writing, no announcement of the governor's position had been made," the newsletter stated.

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