The V.I. Economic Development Authority board unanimously approved a tax break application from By-the-Sea Resort Properties LLC on May 7 to open a new 68-key independent boutique resort within the 397-acre enclave of The Preserve at Botany Bay, on the west end of St. Thomas.
According to a release from the Economic Development Authority, the project will entail a $25 million capital investment projected to create at least 45 new full-time jobs over a multiyear phased development.
“We are delighted to see investors remaining interested in investing in our territory despite the pandemic,” EDA Chief Executive Officer Kamal Latham said in the release. “This exciting new project in St. Thomas’ scenic Botany Bay reflects a significant vote of confidence in our territory.”
The By-the-Sea Resort officials reportedly expect to make a minimum capital investment of $25 million in the three-phase development project. Representatives of this hotel anticipate hiring at least 45 full-time employees upon completion of the hotel.
“We anticipate that construction will begin in July 2021. Receiving an approval of the application for tax incentives is a critical step for this project in Botany Bay and, more broadly, the USVI. It shows that even during this uncertain time the USVI economic climate remains open to investment and, as an optimist, I think the tourism future for the territory is a bright one,” owner Jesse Ferrer said in the release. “The hotel will encompass individual cottages and will be constructed to preserve and celebrate the existing flora and fauna. We believe it will be particularly attractive to visitors seeking to have units that are separate from each other and in a serene and breathtaking natural environment.”
Ferrer is a Dallas, Texas attorney. He also owns land in Dallas where he is planning to build a 13-story tower, with an office space, restaurant and residential unit.
A boutique resort has been discussed by Botany Bay’s developers since at least 2000.
Botany Bay Partners previously began developing a gated residential community at the location, with Timber Resorts. In 2009 it sought a Coastal Zone Management permit for a reverse osmosis water supply system that the partners said they hoped would help bring in financing for the hotel portion of the project.