The spartan Cinnamon Bay cottage units are expected to be replaced by the next holder of the V.I. National Park concession for the rental units and the adjoining campground which is going out to bid for the first time.
Cinnamon Bay concessions include the T’ree Lizards Restaurant and the campground’s general store, above.
The new owner of Caneel Bay Resort, CBI Inc., will be competing to retain its concessions at the the Virgin Islands National Park — and there will be competition from at least one existing sub-concessionaire.
“We continue to be in on-going discussions with the VINP for the Cinnamon Bay Campground and the Trunk Bay concession,” said Patrick Kidd, spokesperson for CBI.
“They will have competition,” one sub-concessionaire told St. John Tradewinds.
Park officials have not set any timetable or started any negotiations on Cinnamon concessions, according to Kidd.
“We have not received any timetable from the VINP or the NPS for the Cinnamon Bay concession, however we are actively in discussion with them,” Kidd told Tradewinds.
VINP Superintendent Brion FitzGerald said in January that park officials hope to get the concessions prospectus “out by May… with new contracts by the summer of 2015.”
Original Concession Contract Is Expired
More than 20 years after the original contract for the park’s major commercial concessions at Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay on the north shore of St. John expired, the VINP will be putting the concessions up for bid this year “with a new contract by the summer of 2015,” according to Superintendent FitzGerald.
“Cinnamon Bay concessions will go out to bid,” Supt. FitzGerald announced at appearances before three island civic groups in mid-January. The concessions have been operated on one-year extensions since 1990 – at the 1990 rates, the superintendent said.
“The concessionaire has had zero incentive to make capital improvements,” the VINP Superintendent told the St. John Rotary Club on January 22. “That’s the park service’s fault.”
The NPS hopes to have bidders selected by this summer and a new operator in place by the summer of 2015, according to the superintendent.
“The bid documents will go out in May,” Supt. FitzGerald told the St. John Rotary meeting.
“Significant Capital Improvements” Required
In addition to the potential for increased concession fees, the new contracts “will require significant capital improvements, ” Supt. FitzGerald told meetings of three island civic groups, including the annual meeting of the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park on Sunday, January 19.
At Cinnamon Bay, the capital improvements will include “demolition of cottages and complete replacement in kind,“ according to Supt. FitzGerald. “On the same footprint, it cannot expand,”
In addition, the new concessionaire will be required “to replace the platform tents,” rebuilding the platforms and installing new tents “with breathable material,” the park superintendent said.
Two Major Concessions
The Cinnamon Bay concession includes 40 units in 10 concrete beach-front buildings between North Shore Road and Cinnamon Bay and a restaurant, in addition to watersports concessions.
The campground has almost 100 canvas platform-tents and bare sites, a beach shop, convenience store and an open-air restaurant is the largest of the two major VINP beach concessions.
The two concessions at Trunk Bay, the gift shop and the “snack shack,” will also be opened for bids in “free and open competition,” according to the superintendent, a veteran NPS administrator.
At Trunk Bay “think new concession buildings,” Supt. FitzGerald told the Friends of the VINP annual meeting in January.
The Trunk Bay snack shack and gift shop operators “will have to put aside a percentage of their gross receipts,” Supt. FitzGerald told Rotary members.
New Contracts Would Benefit VINP
The new concession contracts could put the St. John park in a more beneficial financial arrangement with its two major concessions than it is currently under the extended original contracts.
The Cinnamon Bay Campground concession has remained in place since the first and only concession contract for the Cinnamon Bay property between the VINP and the Caneel Bay Resort expired in the early 1990s.