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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsBlackbeard and Blind Donkey Earn Committee Approvals

Blackbeard and Blind Donkey Earn Committee Approvals

The building in Charlotte Amalie is set for renovation. (Photo courtesy Developers Presentation)

Steve Stigler, the owner of the Blackbeard property on top of Government Hill, admits to having permitting issues and other problems, “dumping money” into the project and not reaching a point where he can earn anything back from it.

Members of the St. Thomas—St. John Historic Preservation Committee said Monday that they would like to see that business open but were also getting frustrated.

Member Enrique Rodriguez said the owner has “twice done what he wanted to do and then asked for approval after it was done.”

Stigler said in the beginning, he did not know it was in a historic district.

Blackbeard’s Castle is one of four National Historic sites in the U.S. Virgin Islands. For many years, it was the centerpiece of a private residence surrounded by a small hotel (The Inn at Blackbeard’s Castle), restaurant, and pool. The inn has not been open since 2017. The property went on the market in 2022, and Stigler acquired it. The asking price was nearly $4 million.

The rehabilitation of a second pool at Blackbeard’s was on the Preservation Committee’s scheduled monthly meeting agenda. However, most of the discussion on Monday concerned a handicap ramp and roof extension already done, which the Committee approved.

Stigler said he was trying to get everything approved and that issues would be handled correctly in the future.

Akil Petersen, chairman of the committee, said he could not believe someone purchasing the property would not find out it was in a historic district.

Skytsborg Tower (meaning sky tower) was built in 1679 by the Danes as a watchtower for the harbor of Charlotte Amalie. It is unknown what year Skytsborg Tower took on the name of Blackbeard’s Castle, but the infamous Edward Teach, commonly known as Blackbeard, sailed the Caribbean waters in the early 1700s. It has become part of the island’s lore that he used the tower as a vantage point for his treacherous purposes.

Several other matters before the board received approvals with less discussion.

David Shear led a team of presenters on the rehabilitation of Dronningens Gade 15, which includes painting, new windows, and a solar panel installation. The project in the Charlotte Amalie historic district will consist of apartments.

A project to establish a cocktail bar known as the Blind Donkey in Cruz Bay’s F-1 historic district on St. John received approval for renovation.

A project for renovating a cottage near Charlotte Amalie’s 99 Steps received approval for a plan revision.

The signage for two upcoming events at Fort Christian in Charlotte Amalie was also approved.

Besides Rodriguez and Petersen, committee members Kurt Marsh Jr., and William Newbold attended the meeting.

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