79.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Friday, May 20, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesMaho Bay Gets One-Year Reprieve

Maho Bay Gets One-Year Reprieve

After many months of uncertainty and anxiety, Maho Bay Camps on St. John announced late Friday that it had received a one-year lease extension: the campground will stay open through June 2013.

“But we really can’t keep going like this. It’s way too stressful,” owner Stanley Selengut said Saturday from his home in Boca Raton, Fla.

Selengut said this extension will be the last short-term one he accepts because, without a long-term lease, he can’t invest any money to bring the property up to snuff. He said that while he’s buying things like new sheets, much-needed infrastructure repairs are not on the agenda because he won’t get a return on his investment. He said a 12-year lease would allow him enough time to recoup his investment.

The original 36-year lease was set to run out on Jan. 31, 2012, but Selengut got a six-month extension until July 2012, so he wouldn’t have to close up shop in the middle of the busy winter season. The campground was taking reservations only until May 2012 to give it time to shut down operations before the lease ended.

Advertising (skip)
Advertising (skip)
Advertising (skip)
Advertising (skip)
Advertising (skip)

The Trust for Public Land has been unsuccessful in negotiating the purchase of the 14 waterfront acres where the campground sits. The land sits within the boundaries of V.I. National Park, and if the Trust could negotiate a deal, the National Park Service would eventually take ownership of the land.

The land owners, Giri-Giri Corp. have the property on the market for $23 million, but Selengut said that’s about twice what it’s worth.

If the Giri-Giri Corp. can’t sell it, Selengut said. They face a big job if they want to continue to operate the campground when this latest lease extension expires.

“It takes an army of four-hour workers and staff to keep the place in decent shape,” Selengut said, referring to the campground program that provides free tent accommodations for people who spend four hours a day on maintenance and other chores.

If the Giri-Giri Corp. finds a buyer, the land could be developed to include a hotel, condos, or private residences. The owner would need various permits, and opposition to granting those permits is likely by people who don’t want development beyond the existing campground.

Selengut also owns the adjacent land where his Harmony Studios sits, but that property is unlikely to stay open if the campground closes.

He said that, from a business standpoint, he’s probably better shifting all his operations to his Concordia Preserve, which has tents with facilities, as well as condos. Selengut has been gradually expanding operations at Concordia because the fate of the Maho Bay property was uncertain.

Selengut said that he expected to charge winter rates until Maho Bay was slated to close next summer, but he will now reduce those to normal summer rates during the 2012 summer season.

While he said he’s pleased not to be closing Maho Bay in May, business at the campground is not as good as he’d like, in part, because airfares are high over the holidays.

“We have 18 spaces for Christmas,” he said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,718FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more

After many months of uncertainty and anxiety, Maho Bay Camps on St. John announced late Friday that it had received a one-year lease extension: the campground will stay open through June 2013.

“But we really can’t keep going like this. It’s way too stressful,” owner Stanley Selengut said Saturday from his home in Boca Raton, Fla.

Selengut said this extension will be the last short-term one he accepts because, without a long-term lease, he can’t invest any money to bring the property up to snuff. He said that while he’s buying things like new sheets, much-needed infrastructure repairs are not on the agenda because he won’t get a return on his investment. He said a 12-year lease would allow him enough time to recoup his investment.

The original 36-year lease was set to run out on Jan. 31, 2012, but Selengut got a six-month extension until July 2012, so he wouldn’t have to close up shop in the middle of the busy winter season. The campground was taking reservations only until May 2012 to give it time to shut down operations before the lease ended.

The Trust for Public Land has been unsuccessful in negotiating the purchase of the 14 waterfront acres where the campground sits. The land sits within the boundaries of V.I. National Park, and if the Trust could negotiate a deal, the National Park Service would eventually take ownership of the land.

The land owners, Giri-Giri Corp. have the property on the market for $23 million, but Selengut said that’s about twice what it’s worth.

If the Giri-Giri Corp. can’t sell it, Selengut said. They face a big job if they want to continue to operate the campground when this latest lease extension expires.

“It takes an army of four-hour workers and staff to keep the place in decent shape,” Selengut said, referring to the campground program that provides free tent accommodations for people who spend four hours a day on maintenance and other chores.

If the Giri-Giri Corp. finds a buyer, the land could be developed to include a hotel, condos, or private residences. The owner would need various permits, and opposition to granting those permits is likely by people who don’t want development beyond the existing campground.

Selengut also owns the adjacent land where his Harmony Studios sits, but that property is unlikely to stay open if the campground closes.

He said that, from a business standpoint, he’s probably better shifting all his operations to his Concordia Preserve, which has tents with facilities, as well as condos. Selengut has been gradually expanding operations at Concordia because the fate of the Maho Bay property was uncertain.

Selengut said that he expected to charge winter rates until Maho Bay was slated to close next summer, but he will now reduce those to normal summer rates during the 2012 summer season.

While he said he’s pleased not to be closing Maho Bay in May, business at the campground is not as good as he’d like, in part, because airfares are high over the holidays.

“We have 18 spaces for Christmas,” he said.