The St. Croix Renaissance Group is pleased to announce the purchase of the former St. Croix Alumina site from Alcoa World Aluminum and Chemical Corporation. Myron Allick, Patrick Mahoney and Jack Thomas, the principal partners in the group, finalized the acquisition of the property at a closing in Miami Florida on Friday, June 14, 2002. David Mugar, who has long been a part-time resident of St. John, where he owns Starfish Market and the St. John Marketplace, and who is the cofounder and chairman of partner company Brownfields Recovery Corporation, was a driving force behind the acquisition and the sustainable development planning for the site.
According to Myron Allick, a native Crucian and partner in the Renaissance Group, "The 30-year history of alumina production at the site has ended with this purchase and a new "eco-industrial" future has begun. St. Croix Renaissance Group plans to redevelop the site and attract industrial and recreational businesses, eventually creating hundreds of jobs for local residents, while enhancing and protecting the property's many natural and historic resources."
St. Croix lost more than 400 jobs with the closure of the Alumina refinery, but St. Croix Renaissance Group has already begun building their core staff. On Monday, a meeting was held with the 13 remaining Alcoa employees and plans were presented to shift them to the Renaissance operation. According to Laverne Hodge, who worked with three of the previous owners of the site - Martin Marietta, Vialco, and most recently, Alcoa, "I am excited about the plans that the Renaissance Group has for this site. St. Croix needs new businesses and new jobs, and this project could give a real boost to the economy of the Virgin Islands. I am looking forward to working on what seems to be a very exciting project."
The Renaissance Group will work with through the Department of Labor to publicize any job openings and has begun a dialogue with local groups that will assist in training as jobs become available. They will be targeting former alumina employees, local skilled laborers and native professionals that are currently working off-island due to the lack of challenging careers at home.
Jack Thomas, President of Brownfields and partner in the Renaissance Group, described the acquisition as an outstanding opportunity that required "committed and motivated investors, as well as partners that have a proven track record in managing environmental contamination, recovering resources from waste, adapting structures to new uses, redeveloping land, attracting industries; and training a work force." He recognized that the future success of this project will require "community support and involvement; new relationships with local and international companies; and collaboration with government, schools and universities, and our neighbors at Hovensa and Port Authority."
St. Croix Renaissance is committed to developing the 1244 acre industrial site on the south coast of the island in a manner which will bring economic and environmental benefits to the residents of the Virgin Islands. The Group has identified numerous assets of the site which they feel will attract new businesses including its ability to provide industrial tenants with:
The site is zoned I-1 Heavy Industry which allows for the widest range of industrial
activity and several businesses have already expressed an interest in locating
their operation at the site. St. Croix Renaissance Group is also exploring the
potential relocation of existing island businesses in non-industrial areas to
this more appropriate site.
Presently, the Group is working to maximize the water-making capabilities of the site and to begin the process of reactivating the coal fired power plant on site. The site has desalinization facilities with a daily generation capacity of two million gallons. The site's existing coal-fired powerhouse is capable of generating 40 MW of electricity. The exhaust gases from the coal plant are controlled by a baghouse that was completely renovated in mid 2000 to meet all current air emissions standards. In addition, the site has two oil-fired steam boilers and several diesel generators.
According to Patrick Mahoney, President of Energy Answers Corporation and Partner in the Renaissance Group, "Our ultimate goal is to attract business that together will comprise what is often referred to as an 'eco-industrial park'. Eco-industrial parks follow the principles of industrial ecology, a discipline based on the idea that industrial systems should be designed to work in concert with natural systems not in isolation from them. In practice, this works in two key ways.
The Group envisions that an eco-industrial park would comprise the roughly 300 "industrial" acres in the center of this 1244-acre site. The long-term sustainable development plan for the site, developed in consultation with local environmentalists and experts in sustainable development defines the opportunities which exist. They include:
In April, the St. Croix Renaissance Group responded to the Government's Request
for Proposals to provide interim solid waste management services 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 Renaissance site is the only
location in St. Croix which is properly zoned and appropriate for these activities.
The proposal outlined plans to use portions of the Renaissance site, including existing buildings and equipment, for these interim waste management operations. The former hydrated alumina building is an ideal structure, already equipped with power and supported by the industrial infrastructure, that would be used to receive the waste from the waste haulers, inspect and remove some materials for recycling, bale the waste and wrap it in plastic. The baled and wrapped waste would then be stored in the former bauxite storage building until a long-term solution is in place. The reuse of these existing buildings, roadways, and infrastructure for the Island's waste management operations would not only result in cost effective solution but could help the government meet the December 31, 2002-deadline for closure of the landfill.
With the eco-industrial park focused on the 300 acres, St. Croix Renaissance is evaluating a cruise-ship port with fuel, water and other provisioning services and recreation for passengers and a commercial docking facility and marina. Increased tourist activity in the area could support recreational uses that would be available to residents as well. These may include improved beach access, restored historic ruins, golf, nature trails, and a lake for kayaking and fly-fishing. In implementing these recreational amenities, the Group is committed to restoring and preserving the property's natural and historic resources.
Regarding the recreation area and pavilion at the entrance to the Renaissance site that had become a popular area for soccer teams, joggers, and community groups, Myron Allick said, "We plan to open the recreation area up to the public once we have developed fair scheduling procedures, secured the necessary liability coverage, and performed some badly needed maintenance."
St. Croix Renaissance Group is committed to developing the former alumina site to its fullest potential. The project has saved a dozen jobs this week and will provide more in the near future with the potential to create hundreds of new jobs and to provide a new stimulus for the local economy. It will attract environmentally and economically sustainable industries to the Island and create numerous business opportunities for existing local companies as well as emerging local entrepreneurs. Importantly, 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
St. Croix Renaissance Group
The St. Croix Renaissance Group is a partnership of entrepreneurs and companies with strong experience in redeveloping industrial property and firm commitments to establishing a new economic foundation for the island. St. Croix Renaissance Group is comprised of: