At a press conference on 29 May, Virgin Islands Leader, Premier Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith assured that the McAlphine Prospect Reef development was still on the table, and that the developers were conducting a feasibility study.
Hon Smith told reporters: “You would recall that some months ago I made an announcement that we invited a particular organization to develop Prospect Reef. That still stands, but the organization has not moved forward with the project as yet.”
Nonetheless, Dr. Smith said that Government was not going to sit and wait, but he did not fully outline the alternative plan. “The developer indicated that they need to do a feasibility study before going forward with the project. Of course this is reasonable, but we decided not to just simply sit and wait,” the Premier said.
McAlphine was selected to develop the Prospect Reef Resort and transform it into a four/five star property. The announcement was made by Premier Smith at a press conference on 12 November 2013.
At that time Dr. Smith disclosed that on 5 April 2013 Government sent out a tender notice inviting suitably qualified long-term firms to express interest in developing the site, and based on the presentations made, the decision was taken to further pursue two of the proposals. The developers were asked to produce detailed proposals that could be evaluated through a formal process of evaluation, negotiation and selection. “In the end, On October 24, Developer McAlphine was successful in securing the opportunity to transform the property into a world-class luxury resort,” Dr. Smith said.
McAlphine intends to develop the property over a period of three years, and the development includes the construction of villas, hotel suites, recreational facilities, conference facilities, branded condominiums, office space, and restaurants on the property. The company proposes to spend up to $100 million dollars in carrying out the development.
Premier Smith told reporters that Government was in the final stages of negotiating the development agreement and as such he was unable to dilvulge any additional information.
When asked if he would classify the arrangement as a buyout or a lease, the Premier said: ”Well you know we are developing the final agreement between government and McAlphine and as soon as that is complete I will be able to give the details.”
Dr. Smith was also asked if the McAlphine development can be classified as a public private partnership: “It is possible that it may be classified that way, but I see it as a project which will be taken on by McAlphine, developed, run and managed by McAlphine.”
As it relates to local participation in the project, Dr. Smith said that local participation is always encouraged in all government projects, but he declined to elaborate if there was any in the Prospect Reef development: “I cannot tell you at this point what local participation there will be in this project.”
Premier Smith added that he did not think it would be necessary for government to put funding to the project.