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Bank Relocation to Pave Way for Road Widening

Aug. 18, 2004 – A piece of the territory's long-term economic development puzzle fell into place at a Havensight Mall groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning. Golden shovels in hand, public- and private-sector representatives moved a few feet of earth, symbolically beginning a project that will give Scotiabank a new home.
Edward E. Thomas Sr., West Indian Co. president and chief operating officer, said the bank's present offices must be demolished to make way for the long-anticipated widening of Long Bay Road into a four-lane artery. The future site of the bank is now a stretch of grass and palm trees between Havensight Mall Building VII and Port of Sale Mall.
WICO manages Havensight Mall for the Government Employee Retirement System, which purchased the property in 1993 as an investment, according the GERS administrator Laurence Bryan, who was also on hand for the groundbreaking.
WICO's corporate secretary, Gershwain Sprauve, explained to the small crowd of invited guests that two lanes will be added to Long Bay road from the main Havensight Mall entrance through Mandela Circle northward to Lockhart Gardens and westward to Beltjen Road.
Long Bay Road is routinely the scene of some of St. Thomas's worst traffic jams on days when thousands of cruise passengers and crew members disembark at the WICO dock for island tours and shopping in the morning, then head back to the ship in the afternoon.
And traffic is expected to increase as development proceeds at Yacht Haven USVI. With Phase 1 of the project scheduled for completion by the end of 2005, the addition of most of 160 planned boat slips and 50 hotel rooms is expected to follow soon afterward.
Thomas said on Wednesday morning that the new Scotiabank building, the wider road, and the Yacht Haven project are all aspects of the same overall plan. "In four years, this will be a new central business district to keep economic development in the territory," he said.
Peter Van Schie, Scotiabank vice president, said he's pleased at the prospect of the move to new facilities. "This is a much superior location to where we've been," he said, adding that bank customers will benefit from more parking and easier access. Thomas said the new building is to be completed by March 15, 2005.
2N Corporation, a local firm headed by Neil Carty, has been hired to do the construction. Carty said work will begin next week. "The site should be fenced and secure by Monday," he said.

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