The partially-completed Pond Bay Club, located on 13.5 acres at Chocolate Hole on St. John, will go up for auction at St. Thomas Superior Court on May 2, according to an attorney involved in the various court cases surrounding the property.
“It’s the entire partially-developed property,” the attorney said, referring to the land and the buildings on the property.
The attorney, who did not want to be named, said that so far there have been no inquiries about the sale but he expects that to change once the auction date nears.
Construction work on the condominium project ceased in October 2009 and construction materials, fixtures and other moveable items went up for sale in the fall of 2010.
St. John Administrator Leona Smith was pleased to hear about the auction.
“I don’t want it to be the next white elephant,” she said.
Smith said she’d like to see the project completed so it could provide jobs and add another property to the St. John accommodation mix.
“We need more hotel rooms,” she said.
Margaret Merrill, who lives at Chocolate Hole, had an opposite opinion.
“I’d like to see a wrecking ball,” she said.
Ticking off numerous problems with the property’s use as a resort, including the lack of fresh water and the absence of a natural sand beach, she said she’d like to see the property returned to its natural state.
First American Development Group/Carib Limited Partnership took over the project in 1999 and planned to build 50 units. Another company started the project in 1986, but failed to complete it. That developer left behind a big cistern and a denuded beach.
The project met opposition from neighbors, but in January 2007 received the necessary Coastal Zone Management permit to begin. Those CZM permits were modified at least three times.
Planning and Natural Resources Department spokesman Jamal Nielsen said the CZM permit would be transferrable to the new owner.
Ground officially broke on April 29, 2008, with a lavish party held under tents on the Pond Bay grounds.
Since work stopped in 2009 with the project about 65 percent complete, the project has been mired in the courts with suits and countersuits filed by First American and the project’s financing company, WestLB AG. Also joining the series of court cases were a long list of mainly local contractors who didn’t get paid.