June 20, 2002 – The St. Croix Renaissance Group now owns the 1,244-acre site of the defunct St. Croix Alumina plant.
Myron Allick, one of three Renaissance Group partners, declined on Thursday to say how much they paid for what will be called Renaissance Park. The group, which had announced in April that it was pursuing the acquisition, sent out a release on Wednesday saying the closing took place last Friday in Miami.
Allick's partners in the venture are Patrick Mahoney and Jack Thomas.
"The 30-year history of alumina production at the site has ended with this purchase and a new eco-industrial future has begun," Allick said. He said that the Renaissance Group is currently negotiating with four companies, which he declined to identify, for space at Renaissance Park. Meanwhile, he said, Renaissance is upgrading the desalinization and power plants on the property so it can sell these utility services to its tenants.
The company had submitted a bid to provide an interim solution to St. Croix's solid waste disposal problem when the Anguilla landfill closes at the end of this year, but Allick said that he received a letter stating that Renaissance Group was not the successful bidder. The company proposed to bale, wrap and store St. Croix's solid waste for eventual use as a fuel at a future on-island thermal conversion facility or some other final disposal site.
Mahoney said the goal of Renaissance Park is to attract industrial and recreational businesses that together will make up an "eco-industrial park" and work in concert with natural systems. "We see potential here," Allick added.
To make the eco-industrial park work, businesses must minimize the impacts of their operations on the natural environment by implementing practices to reduce or eliminate air emissions, wastewater discharge and solid waste. They also must utilize wastes and outputs from neighboring businesses in their own operations — for example, a brick manufacturer using the red clay left over from the alumina operation as raw material for its bricks.
Allick said he expects the eco-industrial park will create hundreds of jobs for local residents. The company already has begun talking to local groups that will assist in training as jobs become available, he said, and St. Croix Alumina's remaining 13 employees are in the midst of being shifted to the Renaissance staff. When St. Croix Alumina closed up shop in January 2001, about 400 people lost their jobs. A skeleton crew had been kept on the property since then.
The infrastructure for development of new businesses is already in place, Allick noted. The property has buildings, roads, the power and desal plants, a deep-water port, highway frontage, and easy access to Henry E. Rohlsen Airport. The property is zoned I-1, heavy industry. The plant will occupy 300 of the 1,244 acres, Allick said, and the remainder could be utilized as a cruise-ship port with fuel bunkering, water and provisioning services, recreation activities for passengers and a commercial docking facility with a marina.
"We've already spoken to Carnival," Allick said. The area also may be made available to residents to enjoy improved beach access, restored historic ruins, golf, nature trials and a lake for kayaking and fly-fishing.
St. Croix Renaissance Group has its roots in EnergyAnswers of Puerto Rico and the Boston-based Brownfields Recovery Corp. Thomas is president of Brownfields and Mahoney is president of EnergyAnswers and its parent company in Albany, New York. Allick, a native Crucian, most recently was general manager of Starfish Market on St. John. Starfish principal owner David Mugar and Thomas co-founded Brownfields six years ago as an offshoot of Environmental Reclamation Inc.
For more background on the Renaissance Group and its partners, see "Energy-related future touted for alumina site".
Publisher's note : Like the St. John Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.