Boulon Center, above. Willis late determined the tax records listed the property as 19.4 acres rather than its actual .41 acres. Now he is waiting for his refund.
CRUZ BAY — St. John businessman Albert Willis knew there was something drastically wrong with his tax bill, but he paid the $35,000 tax on the $4.5 million assessment of his Boulon Center commercial building in Cruz Bay anyway.
“I didn’t want to take any chances,” Willis told the eight senators at the Oct. 28 hearing in Cruz Bay on the drastic increase in St. John property taxes.
The owners of St. John Car Rental, one of the island’s first car rental agencies, and more-than-40 year residents of St. John, Albert and Lonnie Willis have assembled several valuable real estate investments in and around Love City including their car rental agency building and The Fish Trap restaurant complex near Wharfside Village and the Boulon Center which towers over the traffic roundabout.
It was the property tax bill for the three-story Boulon Center, the “pink elephant” on .41 acres at the intersection of the island’s half-dozen numbered roads, which caught the eye of the Albert, known for the cowboy hat covering his mane of white curls.
“I checked with the tax assessor and found out I was taxed for 19.4 acres.”
Knowing Albert — and Lonnie’s — business acumen, they paid the property tax bill early to get the 5 percent early payment discount.
The refund could be the hard part.