Revitalization was the theme at a press conference today when St. Croix Renaissance
Group LLP announced that it has taken steps to acquire and redevelop the 1100-acre
St. Croix Alumina site. The site is currently owned by Alcoa World Aluminum
and Chemical Corporation who purchased the facility from the Virgin Islands
Alumina Corporation (VIALCO), a unit of Glencore International AG, in July 1995.
The refinery, located on St. Croix's south coast, adjacent to HOVENSA Oil Refinery,
has been idle since December 2000.
Myron Allick, a native of St. Croix and partner in St. Croix Renaissance Group, announced that the Group has signed a Purchase Agreement with Alcoa World Aluminum and Chemical Corporation to acquire the refinery site, where bauxite has been processed into alumina for more than 30 years. The proposed plan will attract industrial and recreational businesses to the site, creating hundreds of jobs for local residents, while enhancing and protecting the property's many natural and historic resources.
Both parties anticipate full acquisition to be complete by the end of April or early May 2002. The 13 employees that are currently employed by Alcoa will be offered positions with St. Croix Renaissance and additional positions will be available as the full development of the site proceeds. Although the use of the site will not involve alumina production, former employees of the site will be given first preference when new jobs are made available.
The St. Croix Renaissance Group is a partnership between Brownfields Recovery Corporation (www.brownfields-recovery.com), Energy Answers Corporation of Puerto Rico (www.energyanswers.com), and Myron Allick of St. Croix.
On April 2, 2002, the St. Croix Renaissance Group responded to the Government of the Virgin Islands' Request for Proposals to provide interim management of solid waste on St. Croix. The proposed plan involves baling, wrapping and storing St. Croix's municipal solid waste for eventual use as a fuel at a future on-island thermal conversion facility or for some other final disposal solution. It also includes the recycling and reuse of metals, glass, and other materials; composting, management of hurricane waste and programs for management of junk cars, household hazardous waste, and other difficult materials in the waste steam. The proposals are now being evaluated.
In its proposal, the St. Croix Renaissance Group outlined plans to use portions of the St. Croix Alumina site, including existing buildings and equipment, for these operations. Mahoney stated that the reuse of these existing buildings for the Island's waste management operations will not only result in cost effective solution but will ensure that the solution will be operational by the December 31st deadline for closure of the landfill.
Continuing with its theme of resource recovery and sustainable development, Mahoney laid out the team's plans to attract new businesses to the site that can effectively use many of the site's existing amenities, including its buildings, infrastructure, deep-water port, and capability for producing energy and water. Examples included the development of a sustainable aquaculture and seafood processing facility that would use the facility's large storage tanks to grow shrimp and fish, and a brick manufacturing facility that would use the red mud from the former alumina operations to make high quality bricks and floor tiles. Mahoney stated that the ultimate goal is to attract business that together will comprise what he described as an "eco-industrial park" that would fully utilize the roughly 300 "industrial" acres in the center of site.
For the remaining 800 acres, Mahoney discussed several potential recreational uses that would be open to the public, including a cruise-ship homeport, a docking and marine facility, nature trails, and a lake for kayaking and fly-fishing. He emphasized that the St. Croix Renaissance Group envisions these activities to providing more opportunities to attract tourists and enriching the rich culture and offerings in Fredericksted and Christiansted rather than to compete with them.
The St. Croix Renaissance Group will make every effort to restore and preserve the property's natural and historic resources, and has already begun to work with several local experts to analyze its historic ruins and ecological assets. The Group expressed a commitment to initiate an on-going, open dialog with local residents, civic groups, and business and political leaders throughout the planning and redevelopment process to ensure that local ideas are heard and that important concerns are addressed.
The proposed St. Croix Renaissance Group project has the potential to create hundreds of new jobs and become a strong stimulus for St. Croix's economy. It will use the valuable site infrastructure to attract environmentally and economically sustainable industries to the Island and create numerous business opportunities for existing local companies as well as emerging local entrepreneurs. It will also help to protect St. Croix's precious natural environment.
For more information contact:
St. Croix Renaissance Group
(340) 778-2323 extension x265 or (340) 719-8900