After months, years really, of planning, we’re ready to break ground on building a unique new concept for guests visiting St. John. We have been following the real estate, rental and overall economy of St. John and the Virgin Islands for over 20 years looking for an angle that would allow us to live here full time, and still pay the bills. It’s tough down here! We think we have come up with a perfect solution.
My name is Tom Buttermore and several years ago, my wife Lori and I built Apito, a private villa we rent through VRBO and HomeAway. We have really enjoyed working with our guests over the years and maintaining an excellent place to stay on St. John. We’ve been discussing for years how to start “Career 2.0” after our kids were raised and college degrees were achieved. We decided a while back that property management was the right route for us.
We know that most people who have visited the island before, or have done their research ahead of time, want to rent a private villa with a pool so they can really enjoy the experience and not feel like they’re being “nickled and dimed” to death at a hotel or forced to eat mediocre food and watered down drinks at some generic all inclusive. There are very few hotel options available, no all inclusives, and while the existing hotels are beautiful properties, they are still hotels. I have flown over 2M miles in my professional career and have stayed at every manner of hotel imaginable. No matter how nice, they were all still just hotels with additional charges for silly things. It was just plain aggravating!
We also know St. John is a great place for single, married and family vacations as well as for weddings, reunions or large family vacations. The accommodation options for these latter groups are severely limited.
So, we created a mission statement on this new and very versatile concept and set out to make it happen!
Our mission is to acquire land on the island of St. John for the purpose of developing small, self-sustaining, short-term private villa communities, targeting environmentally sensitive, comfort loving, adventure seekers of all ages.
Clean, modern, stylish accommodations nestled amidst pristine landscaping framing epic views will be the hallmark of our brand. Our primary focus is on couples, families or large groups seeking a genuine St. John adventure, who desire clean, fully air-conditioned and state of the art accommodations in an environmentally sensitive development. We will catch and purify our own water, generate electricity from the sun and generally be as close to “off the grid” sustainable, luxurious living as possible. We are unwilling to sacrifice comfort, style or quality.
We then quantified our mission into a core set of principles for choosing a site to build our concept. We had three primary criteria:
1) Breathtaking views & tradewind breezes
2) Easy access from a well paved road
3) Close to beaches, markets and restaurants
To make this concept viable, we realized we needed to acquire a minimum of 1.5 acres to make it work. Most residential real estate on the island is zoned R-1 which allows for 2 “kitchens” per .5 acre parcel. Thus, acquiring 1.5 acres of R-1 zoned property allows us to build up to 6 “kitchens”, or individual private villas on three contiguous parcels. By having 6 villas sharing the same property, we could take our savings and build a great, shared resort class pool for our guests and create beautifully landscaped private grounds.
Calichi @ Picture Point represents the first incarnation of this “micro-resort” concept. We will be building a total of 6 fully air-conditioned villas: 4 2BR/2BA villas and 2 – 1BR/1BA villas.
Each 2BR/2BA Villa is fully appointed for your stay – no matter how long! Full A/C, modern appliances and plenty of room to relax indoors or outdoors. Dish HD Programming in both the Living and Bedroom insure you can keep up with teams and latest shows.
Our 1BR/1BA Villas are as spacious as our 2BR villas with the only difference being one less bedroom and bathroom. There is no need to sacrifice when all you need is one bedroom!
The villas will be spread out across 1.75 acres, each villa will be private and nestled into the landscape with a minimum of disruption to the surrounding environment. This private villa enclave will share an amazing pool area with a 65′ lap pool, shallow water entry and an infinity edge with breath taking views. There will also be two covered, pool side pavilions and plenty of space to spread out.
Fortunately, we were able to find a perfect piece of property which met, and exceeded, each of our objectives. Here’s a conceptual overview my buddy Mike created using the site plan we created earlier this year. It will change, but should give you a pretty decent idea of where we are heading.
On November 1, 2015 our offer was accepted to acquire two parcels of land totaling ~1.75 acres ~1200′ above Coral Bay and 6 minutes from shopping, grocery stores, restaurants and bars.
Located just above “Picture Point”. Here’s a partial view I took on my iPhone from below the property. You know the view has to be fantastic if the view is above “Picture Point”.
This parcel is located off of Constanza Road in Coral Bay, with fully paved access to the property.
With the following grocery stores, restaurants and bars close by: Cocolobo Plaza, Love City Mini-Mart, Dolphin Market, Oasis, Skinny Legs, Pickles, Indigo, Ship Wreck Landing, Miss Vie’s, Miss Lucy’s and Sweet Plantain’s.
North Shore beaches, the East End, S.E. Shore beaches and Ram Head are all a short drive away.
We submitted our Earth Change and Building Permits to DPNR on the 20th of May and received approval and permits in two weeks! That may seem like a while, but in Virgin Islands time, the Flash couldn’t have done it any faster. Needless to say, it has been a long time getting to this point, and we are getting ready to break ground.
I hope you’ll follow along as we build an awesome place to choose for your honeymoon, family vacation, wedding, reunion or whatever your situation might be.