Connect with us

Development

Expansion Plans Approved for The Fred Hotel in St. Croix

Published

on

The Fred Hotel in Frederiksted, St. Croix

The expansion of The Fred Hotel in Frederiksted has received conditional approval from the St. Croix Historic Preservation Committee (HPC). The approval was granted during the committee’s monthly meeting in April, following a presentation by architect Clarence Browne.

Clarence Browne presented the hotel’s expansion plans to the HPC, outlining the construction of new structures and the refurbishment of an existing building to increase the hotel’s capacity. The proposal includes the addition of 24 guest rooms through the refurbishment of a building near the corner of Strand and Fisher Streets and the construction of a new structure on an adjacent vacant lot, adding another 10 rooms. The project aims to integrate these additions seamlessly with the existing architecture to maintain the area’s historical aesthetic.

During the meeting, HPC members and Mr. Browne discussed several critical aspects of the design, including how the new structures would integrate with the existing buildings without disrupting the streetscape. Special attention was given to the roofline connections and ground floor privacy, with innovative solutions such as replacing ground-level doors with windows equipped with door-sized shutters and masonry infill to preserve privacy and aesthetics.

Parking was a significant point of discussion, with HPC member Phil Codrington questioning the provision of additional parking spaces. Mr. Browne noted that the hotel’s owner was exploring options to secure additional parking spaces in Frederiksted to meet zoning requirements without compromising the waterfront property’s aesthetic value. Despite the challenges, Browne remained optimistic about finding a solution that would satisfy both parking requirements and community needs.

The HPC’s deliberations also touched on regulatory challenges, particularly zoning restrictions related to parking. Sean Krigger, director of the State Historical Preservation Office, pointed out that the HPC lacked the authority to waive these requirements. He suggested that incorporating parking within the new buildings could be a solution, a strategy that Mr. Browne agreed required creative thinking.

Ultimately, the HPC approved the expansion plans on the condition that the parking issue would be addressed in the final design. The committee expressed their appreciation for the efforts to enhance Frederiksted’s charm, with chair Collette Woodsoon Burgess commending the hotel’s contribution to the local beautification efforts. The approval marks a significant step forward for The Fred Hotel as it prepares to welcome more guests to the historic area of St. Croix.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Development

VIHFA Submits Finalized Amendment to Mitigation Action Plan for HUD Review

Published

on

The Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority (VIHFA) has officially submitted its finalized Second Substantial Amendment to the Mitigation Action Plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for review. This amendment, shaped by extensive community feedback from recent public meetings and online forums, is expected to receive a response from HUD by July 2024.

“We are deeply grateful to the Virgin Islands community for their active participation in shaping this plan,” said Dayna Clendinen, VIHFA Chief Disaster Recovery Officer. “By prioritizing and investing in critical infrastructure projects, workforce development, small business growth, and economic stabilization initiatives, we can build a more resilient Virgin Islands. This comprehensive approach strengthens our communities, equips them to withstand future storms, reduces environmental impact, and fosters a thriving future for everyone.”

Key Highlights of the Second Substantial Amendment

Increased Funding for Infrastructure: The amendment increases funding for Infrastructure and Public Facilities from $363 million to $423 million. This additional support will finance the second phase of the Veterans Drive Improvement Project, which includes stormwater improvements, minimized erosion and pollution, and enhanced pedestrian mobility and safety.

Enhanced Economic Resilience Programs: Two new programs have been introduced to bolster economic resilience and revitalization:

  • Entrepreneurship Resilience and Innovation Program: Funded at $8 million, this program offers additional support for small businesses.
  • Workforce Development Mitigation Program: Also funded at $8 million, this program focuses on critical local training initiatives.

For more details, the finalized Second Amendment to the Mitigation Action Plan can be viewed on the VIHFA website.

Continue Reading

Development

Lawmakers Approve Leases for Sejah Farm and Rumina Construction, Bolstering Local Economic Growth

Published

on

The Senate Committee on Budget, Appropriations, and Finance has approved two lease agreements of government-owned lands to support a local farm and a construction company, fostering economic development in the Virgin Islands. The bills now await approval from the 35th Legislature and Governor Albert Bryan.

Sejah Farm Lease

Bill No. 35-0261 authorizes a lease between the Government of the Virgin Islands and Yvette and Dale Brown, owners of Sejah Farm of the Virgin Islands. The 15-acre property, located at Plot No. 9-P Estate VICORP Lands, Prince Quarter, St. Croix, will be used for farming and related activities.

Senator Marvin Blyden, presenting the bill, emphasized the importance of the twenty-year lease for the farm’s ongoing livestock and crop production. Sejah Farm operates an agricultural learning center, teaching animal husbandry, soil improvement, and value-added production. The annual rent for the property is set at $225.69.

Mrs. Brown outlined the farm’s use of the property, which includes livestock grazing, organic crop production, and poultry, meat, and egg production. The farm supplies fresh meat and vegetables to local and overseas markets, focusing on bolstering the territory’s agricultural sector.

Rumina Construction Lease

Bill No. 35-0255 details a multi-year lease agreement with Rumina Construction, LLC, for land at Submarine Base, No. 6 Southside Quarter, St. Thomas. The lease allows the company to use the land for an equipment and material storage depot yard, construction company office, and related purposes. Senator Blyden noted that the lease supports a local business that provides essential services to the community.

Rumina Construction, involved in several hurricane recovery projects, employs twelve Virgin Islanders. Franklin Victor, the company’s owner, reported significant investments in property improvements, totaling nearly $100,000 since the original lease.

The bills will proceed to the Committee on Rules and Judiciary for further consideration.

Continue Reading

Development

Debate on Sidewalk Bar Proposal Ignites at Historical Preservation Meeting

Published

on

The St. Thomas-St. John Historical Preservation Society convened on a recent Tuesday to deliberate on several matters, including a contentious proposal for a new sidewalk bar at Meada’s Plaza in Cruz Bay. The plan, which calls for tearing down an existing concrete slab and erecting new structures with subtle lighting and movable seating, sparked a lively debate over aesthetics, public parking, and the complexities of navigating the permitting maze within historic districts.

Sean Krigger, the director of the State Historical Preservation Office, voiced his reservations about the design elements of the proposed bar, particularly the herringbone pattern intended for the perimeter wall. He suggested that the design might clash with the existing architectural style of Cruz Bay, which leans towards a more modern aesthetic. “The flooring might handle the design, but on a wall, it becomes too conspicuous,” Krigger explained. He proposed exploring the use of stone, which is prevalent in the district’s construction.

During the discussions, the perennial issue of parking resurfaced, mirroring concerns raised at a similar meeting of the St. Croix Historic Preservation Committee. Enrique Rodriguez, a committee member, pointed out that the proposed site for the sidewalk bar had been originally designated for parking. The local zoning laws currently do not allow the Historical Preservation Committee (HPC) to waive these parking requirements, a point Krigger emphasized. However, Kurt Marsh, another member, noted that the developers possessed a nearby parking lot that might serve as an alternative parking space, pending approval from planning authorities.

The committee also considered whether to approve the project conditionally, pending the acquisition of all necessary permits. Krigger strongly opposed this, stating, “We should not approve projects that do not fully comply with zoning and building laws.” This sentiment underscored the committee’s commitment to upholding legal standards rigorously, contrasting with the more flexible approaches sometimes observed on other islands.

Architect Clarence Brown expressed frustration with the convoluted permitting process, recounting instances of being shuffled between departments without clear guidance. “It’s baffling that every agency points to another, and yet we’re expected to have all approvals in place before moving forward,” Brown stated.

Ultimately, despite Krigger’s objections, Marsh proposed granting conditional approval, dependent on confirmation of the alternative parking arrangements and necessary adjustments to the design plans. The committee unanimously agreed, marking a significant step forward for the proposed project at 6B Vester Gade in Cruz Bay, St. John, despite the noted challenges and procedural hurdles.

Continue Reading

Trending