Virgin Islands Premier Inks $200M Deal for Norman Island Development

Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith (pictured at right), and owner of Audubon Holdings, Dr Henry G. Jarecki during the signing of the Norman Island Development Agreement. Photo: GIS

The Government of the Virgin Islands (VI) inked a Development Agreement worth in excess of $200M, with Audubon Holdings, to develop Norman Island as an environmentally conscious, luxury residential and tourist destination.

The Agreement was signed between Premier, and Minister of Finance, Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, (AL) and Audubon Holdings, owner, Dr Henry G. Jarecki.

Venued at the Government’s Central Administration Complex, those present for the simple signing ceremony heard that the plan, for the Norman Island development was developed in association with the Atlanta-based, US development company, Bullock Mannelly Partners (BMP).

Green Space

The project anticipates leaving over half of Norman Island as green space and maintaining the island’s long-standing reputation as one of the VI’s premier tourist destinations featuring the iconic 132-acre Bight and world-famous Caves.

Principal of BMP, Mr Alan Bullock, told those gathered, “…we see exciting synergies between the roles of the Norman Island team and BMP.”

According to Mr Bullock, by “combining each party’s relationships and experiences, we will create the most environmentally friendly and attractive destination in the region, if not the entire world…Bringing this type of world-class development to the BVI as part of the community’s recovery process is a privilege for all involved.”

Tourism Resurgence

Premier Smith in his remarks said, the agreement marks an exciting time for the VI and its resurgence in the tourism industry.

“As we continue to re-introduce and re-invent our tourism products and services, it is imperative that we take the necessary steps to ensure that we create products that are environmentally sustainable and attractive to our residents and visitors alike,” he said.

Commenting on the agreement, Dr Jarecki said, “…this project offers an exciting opportunity to create hundreds of business opportunities and good jobs and establish a model for environmentally sustainable development.”

The project envisions the construction of an all-new tourism destination that will expand the existing facilities offered by the popular Pirate’s Bight restaurants with the addition of another restaurant, a floating pool, a beach bar, and a water sports centre.

The plan also includes sites for three potential 20-30 room hotels, boat slips for day visitors and residents, a spa, and an observatory.

It also provides ownership opportunities for 75 to 100 residences discreetly nestled within the island’s 610 acres.

Cabinet Decided

The decision to pursue the investment with Dr Jarecki, was had during a special meeting of the VI’s Cabinet held on October 29, 2018.

It was decided at the time, “the Government of the VI shall enter into an Investment/Economic Development Agreement with AUDUBON Holdings Limited for the development of Norman Island, as a Hotel Resort and that the terms included in the draft Agreement shall be the basis for the negotiations with the developer for entering on the Government’s behalf, a final Investment/Economic Development Agreement and/or Planning, Development Agreement.”

Willy T, a floating restaurant and bar, was kicked out from the south-west of the Bight at Norman Island upon its return to the Territory.

Norman Island is owned by Dr Jarecki, who also owns Guana Island in the VI.