St. John Tradewinds News

After Years of Delay, Pond Bay Club Groundbreaking Slated for Next Month

Groundbreaking at the 16-acre site in Estate Chocolate Hole is slated for March and construction should last about 24 months, according to Claude Dupre, director of development for First American Development Group/ Carib, the company behind the project.
Developers of the luxury resort Pond Bay Club traversed a long and winding road over the past eight years, but there now seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Amid much controversy, the developer originally submitted a Coastal Zone Management major permit application in October 1999. After a number of modifications and public hearings, First American’s major permit was finally approved by the St. John CZM Committee in February 2002.

The long and winding road did not end there.

In July 2006, the St. John CZM Committee deemed First Ameri-can’s permit invalid due to a lack of activity at the site over the past four years.

Construction must begin within 12 months from the date which a CZM permit becomes effective, and work must continue until the building or development is complete, according to CZM rules and regulations.

Original CZM Permit Null and Void
Although the developer claim-ed CZM-required environmental testing had been occurring at the site, the St. John CZM Commit-tee didn’t waiver their opinion that the original permit was null and void.

First American representatives went back to the drawing board and resubmitted an application for a major CZM permit in the fall of 2006.

Another public hearing was conducted in December 2006, and the St. John CZM Commit-tee approved First American’s major permit — for a second time — on January 11, 2007.

Now the developers are ready to go, according to Dupre.

“It is very likely that we’ll have a groundbreaking ceremony next month,” Dupre said. “It has taken a long time and we are ready to move forward. We’ll talk more about this in the weeks to come.”

Plans for the luxury resort have altered a bit over the years. Now instead of constructing a reverse osmosis facility, the V.I. Water And Power Authority has pledged to extend its pipeline from Enighed out to Chocolate Hole.

“According to my information, WAPA should be on line out there by the end of 2007,” said Dupre. “Our construction should last an additional six months from that — mother nature willing. Even if WAPA is a bit delayed, there is time to work things out.”

Top-notch Spa Planned
Plans for the site are extensive and include two swimming pools, two tennis courts, a 140-seat restaurant, a gym and a top-notch spa, E’Spa.

“E’Spa is definitely one of the top three spas in the world,” said Dupre. “When the Pond Bay Club E’Spa is complete it will be the number one spa in the Caribbean for sure.”

Mulitple Villas, 20 Different Buildings
Residences at the site will be spread out in 20 different buildings, with some of the structures housing multiple “villas” in one structure.

In total there will be 10 two-bedroom units, 42 three-bedroom units and four four-bedroom units. The accommodations range from single-unit three-bedroom “villas,” to eight-villa buildings that contain six three-bedroom units and two two-bedroom units.

One of the buildings is designated as a “spa villa,”  consisting of two stories with three bedrooms and a 600-square foot personal spa.  Other “villas” on the site include beach cottages and pond cottages.

The developer’s plan also includes constructing a sidewalk along Chocolate Hole East Road and grading and maintaining the public access road.