SXM Construction feature
|On the left is a photo of the new fish market being built on the site of the old one next on the west side of the Dutch bridge. On the right is another look in April 2007 after its dedication. Simpson Bay was founded by Danish fishermen. In Jan 2008 there were a few fishermen here at times, none of the shops are in use, and the S has fallen off the "[S]impson Bay Market" sign.|
|This is a composite of the Mangrove Building going in across the street from Marci's MegaGym 2000. On the right is the Travel Inn which has Endless Summmer Beachwear on the ground floor. That's the BVV cement factory on the left skyline.|
|This is how it looked in April 2005.|
|This is how it looked in February of 2006. McDonalds is in operation with a drive-through and a clothing store is in the bottom right. La Suite Restaurant has opened above that and closed in the summer of 2007.|
|Lynette's old building at the end of the airport runway is finally being refurbished and reopened. Hans Meevis has opened his jewelry studio here and the next store is the Casa del Cigar. On the right is a home furnishings store. Calypso King Beau Beau and I were together on stage at Lynette's many years ago. His career went into a major tailspin until the patrons voted me off the stage. He has recovered and now he has Beau Beau's Restaurant at Oyster Bay Beach Resort where he performs frequently. This is a new photo from April 2005.|
|This is the new airport terminal being built across the street from the existing terminal. This shot top left was taken from the exit filter lane of the existing terminal heading toward Maho in April of 2005. In theory, a new road will start near Lynette's and skirt the lagoon to arrive at the right hand side of this new terminal. After that, you will have the choice of heading left to get to the old road and Caravanserai/Maho. Turn right and you go around the back side of the hill and arrive at Mullet. Vero at Antoine Restaurant supplied the center photo on 12 June of 2005. She said that the new airport road had just opened. Top right right is an artist's rendering of the completed project. On the left above is a shot taken in December of 2005. On the right above is a shot taken from Prince Rental Car's booth at the exit from the old airport in January of 2006. The new terminal is now in operation.|
|This is Caravanserai in March of 2009 taken from the deck of Random Wind as we sailed by during the Heineken regatta. The photo on the left was taken from the south and shows a project that was called a see-through in the bad old days of Houston real estate. Look closely and you can see the lovely blue sky of the Caribbean through the building, not a good sign if you intend to vacation there soon. On the right, things look a little closer to completion, but I wouldn't start packing anytime soon. There are no workers in the photo, but this was on a Saturday. Then again, many people work a six day week down here.|
Here's what's happening in the lowlands. The borders here are not exact and don't take this as a legal ownership document, but here's our best guess. Between Cupecoy Beach Club and Sapphire on the Caribbean side were two large plots of undeveloped land and a private villa. These plots are being developed as the Cliff from Tendal Real Estate and the Erato family's Rainbow Beach Club.
The next bit of undeveloped land was across the street from Sapphire and on both sides of the street after Ocean Club. We always heard that it belonged to the Turk who owned Princess Casino. There were three houses on the property about a dozen years ago. They were bulldozed and the land was scraped at that time. About six years ago a bit near the parking lot (which appears to be little more than beach access) was scraped again, removing some beautiful bougainvillea. The entire area was scraped again in 2005, a sign was up, and a sales office was built. This plot also includes the land across the street all the way down to the lagoon. If you remember the stone entrances that flanked the road as you drove through here, they said The Villages of Cupecoy and now the new sign says Cupecoy Village and leads to another almost content-free website. The map on their billboard shows an access lane to the beach next to Ocean Club that is considerably smaller than the current parking lot area. The other side of the property shows a new parking area.
Next to this is Shore Pointe. They have scraped the land, backfilled a bit, and built a website. They claim they own oceanfront, so they must have the portion of land that was cleaned up and had a huge seawall built at the NW end of Cupecoy. There was no construction equipment on the site and the website was almost content-free in May 2005, although you can sign up for more info. In August, there was a bit more on the site (still no floor plans, but prices ranging from $1.2 to 3 million US), and a spokesman for the developer, Bay Red Enterprises, said that all necessary permits were in place and constructiuon will begin soon. Summer of 2006 has brought some plot plans, floor plans, higher prices ($1.9 million to $3.5 million), and the claim that seven of sixteen have sold.
At the top, La Samanna, owned by the Orient Express group, is expanding over the border (the dotted black line) into the corner of the lagoon, where they will be putting up condos, villas, shops, and a marina into something they will call Cupecoy Yacht Club and Villas. It will be something like the Simpson Bay Yacht Club. They have already destroyed much of the rock that wall marched through the brush as it marked the border, presumably because they are moving the road from the thick dotted black line to the dotted blue line. This will get traffic to the edge of their property rather than through the center. Having said that, the forms for the reinforcing wall to support the new roadway seem to have been removed in mid pour in early April 2005 and no constrction equipment is on site, but things are moving along in 2006. See below.
Hemmed in between Cupecoy Village and the Orient Express project is Las Arenas, now Pharos.
Rainbow Beach Club and The Cliff
|This is Rainbow Beach Club, being built by the Erato family of Pointe Pirouette. It's across the street from The Inn at Cupecoy. That's David Foini's black Mustang just pulling out. He's the owner of La Gondola which is just a few feet down the street at the Atlantis Casino complex. Next to this is The Cliffs, another highrise condominium project.|
|On the left is The Cliff and on the right is Rainbow as they were in April 2005.|
|These photos from Vero at Antoine Restaurant were taken in June of 2005.|
|These photos were taken in December of 2005. The Cliff will be a very imposing structure. Rainbow Beach is lower and the residential section appears complete on the outside. No comment on the interior. The rest of the property between the residences on the cliff and the road is being filled in by commercial buildings totally blocking any view.|
|This photo was taken in March of 2006. The Cliff is a very imposing structure, dwarfing its neighbor, Rainbow Beach, and blocking their view to the east. It's even higher than Sapphire. By May of 2006 some people had closed on their units in Rainbow Beach and had moved into the building, although they had to travel through all the construction in the front to get to their car park and building on the cliff. They were very nice units with great views to the SW.|
Med School area
|Most people don't notice this area on the high ground behind Atlantis Casino on the way back to the Summit Resort. The med school is visible, but the enormous amount of building to house the students is not. Several buildings have already been constructed. Several are in progress and this amount of cleared land suggests several more are coming.|
This is the sign for the Cupecoy Village, selling lots that run from Cupecoy Beach to the lagoon. Click the photo for a version with various things identified. Below is the unoccupied sales office with overgrown grass in Feb 06. No sales are noted on the board and the website was blissfully content-free in the summer of 2006.
|This is a tractor ripping up the scrub across the street from our condo at Sapphire Beach Club. The white birds are cattle egrets, called such because the generally follow cattle around and eat the bugs that the cattle scare up out of the grass. When the get tired, they ride the backs of the cattle. In this case, they are adapting to new technology and are following the tractor.|
|The Cupecoy Villages' sales shack was vandalized around the beginning of March 2006. After a week or so, they came and cleaned it up. On the left: still no other signs of life. On the right, a shot taken on 6 March, showing signs of life. Those are goats investigating the possibilities of purchasing a lot at Cupecoy. There is nothing happening on any of this property as of February 2007 or January 2008.|
|The two photos on the left were taken in December of 2005. This is the NW end of Cupecoy featuring the seawall that was built several years ago, taken apart, moved about 4 meters out onto the beach, objected to, and moved about 2 meters back by the Shore Pointe Development. Currently there isn't much action, but it is the holiday season. Destiny, one of the beach boys, says that business is way down because there is almost no beach and the excavators run all day long. The one on the right was taken from the beach bar in early Jan of 2006. Not much beach at the far end. Below is the beginning of February (left and center) and middle of February (right). Given waves from the SE, the NW end of the beach fills in with sand. The previous week put about 30 feet of sand in front of this seawall. Will it stay?|
|This is how it looked about two weeks later. The rollers stopped. The sand stayed. There are umbrellas and people all the way to the NW corner. There is now more beach here than at any time that I have seen it since Hurricane Lenny in 1999. I admit that I have only spent five months each year living above Cupecoy Beach, so I may have missed something.|
|The photo on the left is from December of 2006. The villas are rising up above the seawall, but there is still quite a bit of sand on the beach and Danny, the beachboy, says it was pretty good all summer. The other two are from late March 2007. There's plenty of beach, but it is right underneath the million dollar villas that are hard by the shore. Personally, I think the babe behind the newspaper is a million dollar view, but I'm not sure that all the owners at ShorePointe will feel that way. At that point, the open beaches of St Maarten may bump into the closed minds of some multi-millionaires.|
Cupecoy Yacht Club
|This is a composite of the new project in our corner of the lagoon near the Dutch/French border in Cupecoy. The Orient Express Group, owners of La Samanna, just over the hill are spreading out over the border. This building arrived in a container and the steel frame was erected in a matter of days and by virtue of working under lights into the evening it looked substantially complete in a week or so. The project is eventually going to resemble a Mediterranean Village. It will be called Cupecoy Yacht Club and Villas. Below is the Feb 2006 state of the sales office. The board shows no sales.|
|This is the same view taken in December of 2005. The mangrove swamp has been ripped out and the corner of the lagoon is being filled in with sand. This is the far western end of the lagoon and given the prevailing tradewinds from the east, this is where everything that floats ends up. Hurricanes also tend to push things here and the mangroves lasted through Luis and Lenny and many more over the dozen years that we have watched. There is a new concrete black building on the right of the photo and several containers on the property. The new road in center of the photo on the right leads up and over the border toward La Samanna.|
|In this shot from late Jan 2006, they are demolishing the cottages that existed on the waters edge near their dock on the lagoon. Note that they have filled in the corner of the lagoon right up to the dock pilings. On the right is an artisit's rendering of the approach via the lagoon.|
|In this shot from 22 Feb 2006 (top), they have started to build ever closer to us and continuing work on the building across the street from the sales office. On the left, the Putzmeister (I am not making this up) was pumping concrete up onto the second story. They are also jackhammering the coral alongside the slave wall for the roadbed that will see the main road moving from between their buildings to the western border of their property.|
|Here's the action on 23 March. The new road is being cut in along the back of the property at a much shallower grade. You can also see the newly cleaned up sales shack for Cupecoy Villages in the foreground of the photo on the left.|
|On the left is the action on 7 April. They have moved a lot of earth around, possibly getting close to final grade in some spots. On the right, taken in early May 2006, is the new road poking through the stone wall at the top of the hill where it will rejoin the exisitng road. Note Sapphire Beach Club and The Cliff in the distance.|
|Above is a photo from December 2006. It was taken in the week they opened the new road across the border. You can see how much more of the lagoon they have filled in and a new building is growing to the right of the sales office.|
|Above is a photo from February 2007. It doesn't look much different as they have been pounding pilings and sheet metal into the ground recently. Also in February, they put up lots of flags and a squadron of tethered blimps as they announced a delay in the schedule.|
|These are photos from December 2007. Pharos is now blocking our view of Shore Point, not at all a bad thing. Orient Express is working hard. On the right you can see the beginnings of the "lighthouse" at the entrance to their marina as depicted in the artist's renderings.|
|This photo was taken in late October of 2008 from Parc Lagon.|
|This photo was taken in late October of 2008. They have blocked off the end of the lagoon and are digging out the marina. Sharp eyes will see a few new docks in the background.|
|This was new in May of 2006. This shed appeared and between Cupecoy Yacht Club and Cupecoy Village. I'm not sure what slice of this action belongs to them, nor am I sure how one enters this sales office. By the time we returned for the 2006/7 season, they had put in some stairs and are now progressing on a building behind the sales office. The Cupecoy Cove sales office is to the right of the Arenas office with ShorePointe going up on the left in the back and Cupecoy Yacht Club behind all of them. The original sign said Arenas because it was leftover from a project on Simpson Bay. This is now called Pharos.|
|In January of 2008, work has slowed to a crawl as I can only see a handful of workers on site. It is so ugly that it makes Ocean Club's high rise look good. The photo on the left was taken in December of 2008. More work has been done, while other projects have disappeared down the memory hole. The name has changed to Blue Mall. In February of 2009 they were pretty busy putting in a below grade structure next to the blank wall highrise. That's the Puttzmiester pumping concrete to form a floor and beam system.|
The Cove at Cupecoy
|The sales office is up on the road next to Las Arenas, but the property is down on the lagoon. This is an observation platform at the water's edge that allows potential buyers to look back at some flags showing where the various properties are. The property is between Parc Lagon and Delfina Hotel, which is now another project. At present (Jan 2008), there is nothing happening on the site and the sales office is for sale. I am not making this up.|
|Keep going through the lowlands and you'll reach the salt pond. On the left is the rather large villa built in 2004 and on the right is the current construction project. Note the huge pile of sand required to give this place a beach! The center and right photos below are from Feb of 2006 and show that they have filled in the eastern edge of the pond and are providing access to the project from there.|
|These photos were take as we drove from Bay Rouge past the old Belle Créole property. Cleaning the roadside may not be significant (left), but cleaning out around the utility area does suggest some activity (center). On the right is the old entrance, now clearly visible with a bright shiny chain and new lock. It is quite possible that the utility area is the pumping station for sewage on the French side. It needs work. No action detected on the rest of the property in Feb 2007. In January 2008, the westernmost open bit of land on the lagoon was being cleared. I'm not even sure this belongs to the Belle Créole although we have been told they own both sides of the road.|
|US Import, the supermarket next to the French Bridge, is growing and getting a facelift. They have taken over the bakery area next door and rearranged the entrance. The new sign is easier to see and drops Export from the name. Given that much of their food comes from France, the name is still a mystery, but it's a good market, getting bigger and better with this effort, and it's quite convenient for those of us in the lowlands.|
|This is the newish Ferry Dock on the waterfront in Marigot. It's consderably nicer than the previous ragtag affair and on the right is a new breakwater to keep the swells in the Anguilla Channel from upsetting the megayachts that marigot hopes to lure to Marina Fort Louis.|
|This is the view from view from to Sunset Café looking to the left of Grand Case Beach Club. It's going to be a private villa. On the right is from April of 2006.|
Coral Beach project
|The Coral Beach project is going up in front of the Oyster Bay Beach Resort, in front as in between them and the road, not between them and the beach.|
Coral Beach Feb 08
|This is the boardwalk expansion in Philipsburg. They started at the Captain Hodge Pier in the center of town where the previous project ended and are heading west. They are pounding sheet piliing into the sand, will pour a concrete footing, and pave that with bricks. Vero at Antoine Restaurant supplied these photos on 12 June of 2005.|
These photos of the boardwalk expansion are from September and October. The first is rather early in the project. The middle shot was taken from near the center of town looking to the west over the new section. The right hand shot was taken from the apartment above Antoine Restaurant looking back toward the center of town. On the left is Vero from Antoine Restaurant standing on the new section near the restaurant.
Below are photos from Jan of 2006. Lots of rain has turned the hills green and lots of cruise ships have filled the beaches. The last photo is the end of the boardwalk at the Sea Palace Hotel.
Westin Dawn Beach project
|I've seen more accomodating prisons, although this does lack razor wire and we've heard good things about the interior. So maybe this is like the country club prisons for white collar criminals. On the left is the approach from the south. At least they have parking. On the right is a view as we headed up the hill to Oyster Pond. The greenery in the foreground was alongside the road.|
|Here it is at the end of February 2007. The shot on the right is a closeup showing that it might not be so bad when the palm trees fill out. If they hadn't completely scraped the lush vegation away, including a mangrove swamp, it would look good now. Below is the panoramic shot showing how they dominate the beach. Both were taken from across the bay at the deck of Beau Beau's Restaurant.|
Wajang Doll project
|This is the old Wajang Doll Creole cottage on Front Street. On the left is the roof of the original house and behind to the right is new set of condos going up. The photo on the right is the after version. Nice looking set of condos and the original Creole cottage looks even better.|
Cay Bay project
|This is the clearing and site prep at Cay Bay in late January 2008. You can see this from the lookout near the snack shack on Cay Hill on the road from Simpson bay to Pburg. This used to be the only pristine section of land from Cupecoy to Philipsburg. The panoramic shot below was taken from Random Wind as we sailed by during the Hieneken Regatta in March 2009. The project was eventually called Indigo Bay, the site was cleared, and all the equipment was parked by January of 2009 as the economy tanked.|
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