On Tuesday, the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority heard testimony on several applications and one compliance matter regarding tax incentive benefits in the territory.
Coconut Grove LLC, Ferrer LLC, Morabeza Capital Management, LLC, Spyglass Capital LLC, STR Management LLC and Tysam Tech, LLC filed new business, modification or extension, and change in ownership applications. Representatives of each business outlined their reasons for wanting board approval for their requests, the structure of their businesses, and even how they will give back to the community.
Coconut Grove LLC was represented by Erika Kellerhalls and Lee Steiner, who presented an application for benefits for Magens Bay Management and Hull Bay. Steiner said that they are seeking tax incentives as a way “to offset high debt.”
The Hull Bay property currently has an 18-room guesthouse that focuses on a farm-to-table movement with active participation from guests. Many board members expressed excitement about the project, including Agriculture Commissioner Positive Nelson. “That is the direction that tourism is going in … that green concept,” he said.
Ferrer LLC focuses on providing assistance to injured claimants relating to prescription drugs, defective products, or hazardous chemicals. Representatives Marjorie Roberts, Jesse Ferrer and Cynthia Ferrer addressed the board. Ferrer LLC wants to change its category designation, modify its minimum employment requirement from 10 to five employees, extend its tax benefits for an additional 10 years, and separate its annual contribution to the Territorial Scholarship Fund from its overall charitable contribution.
Board members were cautious about the company truncating its number of employees. Co-owner Cynthia Ferrer said that “computers and the internet have made it more efficient with less people” and added that “opportunity for growth will be in adding the family office.”
Roberts included in her testimony that under a separate program, the Ferrers are developing a 68-key independent boutique resort at Botany Bay that will receive tax breaks.
STR Management LLC also filed for a modification to change its category designation, modify its minimum employment requirement, and request an extension of an additional 10 years. The company provides financial and human resources management and consulting services and was represented by Amar Shazad and Renee Andre.
Regarding Morabeza Capital Management, LLC, the company wants to change its ownership structure. It provides financial analysis, advisory, consulting and family office support services for high-net-worth families located outside the U.S. Virgin Islands.Erika Kellerhalls and managing member Primo Beadling presented their testimony to the board.
Additionally, Spyglass Capital LLC was represented by Doug Barnes, Damien Lysiak, and Gregory Ferguson, who presented their testimony seeking to be considered for tax incentive benefits. Spyglass Capital focuses on investment management. Likewise, St. Croix-based Tysam Tech LLC, which focuses on engineering and environmental services, seeks to be considered for benefits.
Board members admired the tenacity of Tysam Tech owners Channing Smaiere and Trinity Austrie who service clients in refining, terminal storage, rum distilling, construction and development, concrete and asphalt plants, resorts, and government agencies, and are seeking to find solutions to environmental problems in the territory.
“We’d like to use the EDC benefits to expand our project opportunities beyond the territory as well as provide more continuous services,” said Austrie. The duo spoke about developing a waste minimization facility on St. Croix and using gasification.
The applications will be voted on at a later date.
In executive session, the VIEDA board voted unanimously to:
• Table the petition for the change in the ownership structure of Morabeza Capital Management, LLC pending additional information from the organization;
• Granted tax incentives to Tycheros Capital Management VI Inc. and Northside Ventures LLC;
• Established 56 King Street LLC as a wholly-owned disregarded entity of Systilogic LLC;
• Amended the charitable contribution and internship commitment for WVJD LLC’s tax incentives to a minimum of $20,000 to charitable causes in the first year and $25,000 in the second year, with 55% of its annual education assistance going to the Education Department and no more than 50% of remaining contributions to be provided in-kind.
Regarding compliance, Alpine Group USVI requested a temporary waiver of its minimum full-time employment requirement. The VIEDA board granted the request, reducing the full-time employee requirement from 10 to five for 2023. Erika Kellerhalls and managing member Primo Beadling presented their testimony to the board
Members Wayne Biggs Jr., Gary Malloy, Jose Penn, Phil Payne, and Nelson were present.