St. John Tradewinds News

DPNR Grants Occupancy at Dockside; Number of Parking Spaces Uncertain

The owners of the recently-completed Dockside building on Cruz Bay beach adjacent to the Loredon L. Boynes Sr. ferry dock have been granted an occupancy permit by the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources after securing additional off-site parking spaces from the V.I. Port Authority.

The recently completed Dockside building on the Cruz Bay waterfront has been granted an occupancy permit by the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources.

Although Dockside was completed during the summer, the building’s co-owners, St. Thomas business leaders Paul Hoffman and Albert Paiewonski, had to secure the number of parking spaces required by zoning within 500 feet of the building before occupancy could be granted, according to DPNR Commissioner Dean Plaskett.

There is discrepancy on the exact number of parking spaces required for Dockside, but DPNR is permitting occupancy if the owners secure at least seven within 500 feet of the property, according to Commissioner Plaskett.

Discrepancy of Required Spaces
“There is some discrepancy as to whether seven or eight parking spaces are required, but we will allow them to go forward with no less than seven,” said Plaskett, explaining that the number of parking spaces required by DPNR code is determined by the square footage of the building.

“A week ago, I wrote a letter to Mr. Hoffman indicating we would grant the occupancy permit on condition,” said Plaskett. “And that condition is that the V.I. Port Authority’s Executive Director, Darlan Brin, wrote to me indicating that the Port Authority will provide five additional parking spaces within 500 feet of the structure as indicated by code.”

However, Hoffman said the VIPA is allotting four additional parking spaces on Port Authority property.

Neither Hoffman nor Commissioner Plaskett were sure as to the exact location of the “four” or “five” parking spaces on VIPA property, but they both stated the spaces were within 500 feet of the building.

Working Together
The VIPA, DPNR and the co-owners of the Dockside property began working together before construction started to ensure parking would not interfere with the function of the ferry dock, according to Hoffman.

“The port authority and DPNR have worked together with us from the very beginning to assure that there would be no disruption of the functioning of the ferry dock,” said Hoffman. “Before construction began, VIPA did not want the north side of the building to be used for parking because vehicular access to that side of our property would have created chaos at the ferry dock.”

Before construction began on the building, DPNR granted a building permit for the building allowing three parking spaces on the east side of the property, according to Hoffman, adding that parking on the north side of the building would interfere with pedestrian traffic from the ferries.

“Whatever supplemental parking was required by DPNR was made available by the VIPA,” Hoffman added. “The VIPA agreed to provide four additional spaces on their property.”

On-Site Parking Spaces?
While Dockside owners claim they have three spaces already on the property, DPNR officials believe “it is more like two,” according to DPNR’s commissioner.

“Dockside is saying they have three spaces, but we believe it is more like two,” said Commissioner Plaskett. “And with the five from the port authority, that will bring the total number of parking spaces available for that structure to seven.”

“Dockside is complying with the law as long as they have the requisite number of parking spaces, which if they have seven within 500 feet, they are within the law,” said Plaskett, adding that the building has complied with DPNR’s zoning requirements and building codes.

Tenants Moving In
Now that occupancy has been granted, Dockside owners are looking forward to filling their two-plus story retail and commercial building.

“We are looking forward to having our tenants open up as soon as they finish their build-outs,” said Hoffman. “Every-thing is coming together very nicely and we are very happy with who is moving into the building.”

Westin Vacation Club will occupy the base of the tower, Columbian Emeralds will be located on the ground floor and the second floor will house St. John Spice and St. John Kids retail stores.

“We have one remaining space overlooking the harbor on the second floor, which is one of the nicest views on St. John,” said Hoffman.