Created on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 03:50
Written by Jaime Elliott
A little more than half-way complete, Pond Bay Club, above, is set to be auctioned off in V.I. Superior Court on May 2, according to reports
After sitting dormant for three years, the partially built Pond Bay Club in Estate Chocolate Hole could have a new owner next month.
The 15-acre waterfront property with partially developed high-end condominiums is set to be auctioned off in V.I. Superior Court on May 2, according to a report in the St. Thomas Source.
The online news site cited a local attorney involved with the various court cases which have surrounded Pond Bay Club since construction halted in 2009. The attorney was not named, but did confirm the May 2 auction date, according to the story.
The auction will be the latest in decades of controversy at the Estate Chocolate Hole development site. Work has started and stopped at the hotel-zoned property since the 1980s. After initial construction action in the mid-1980s, the site was left bare, save for a concrete cistern, until First Development Group/Carib Limited Partnership bought it in 1999.
With plans for 50 units in three- and four-bedroom cottages and villas, a club house, a 140-seat restaurant, a full-service spa and beach-front pool complete with a white sand beach, Pond Bay Club billed itself as a resort to “rival the Caribbean’s finest resorts, boasting six-star service and exclusive amenities,” according to marketing information from First American Group.
After years of delays, negotiations wtih the Estate Chocolate Hole Home Owners Association and meetings with Department of Planning and Natural Resources officials, First Development secured necessary permits and broke ground in 2008. To mark the occasion, developers threw a star-studded party which drew Governor John deJongh among other local dignitaries.
First American Group projected a completion date for the luxury time-shares of sometime in the 2008/2009 winter season. Prices ranged from $950,000 for a prime period in a three-bedroom spa villa to $335,000 for a fall period in a hillside cottage.
While several model units were completed and tours offered to St. John real estate agents, the units didn’t move as quickly as sales agents had predicted. Within a few months, construction at the site slowed and eventually halted all together in 2009 with a little more than half of the project complete.
Since 2009, First American Group and its finance company, European bank WestLB AG, have been battling in local courts.