condo-Coral Princess and others
My father is looking to purchase some properties as investments to manage in his retirement and I am trying to do some preliminary groundwork before we contact realators and make a visit. I think he would like a versatile unit which could be rented out for longer term periods as well as possibly by the week to vacationers.
Anyway some friends stayed at some condos called the Coral Princess and said nice things about hte place and location. I found one listed for sale over the internet for 155,000. Can anyone tell me about the Coral Princess complex, location, proximity to Christainsted and beaches, safety, etc.... I am just trying to get an idea of what our money will get us in this price range, the unit seems relatively inexpensive and makes me a bit wary.
Thanks for all of your help.
Coral Princess is one of the small condo devs. along that part of the island. I do not know it's current situation. The condo dues are somewhat lower, I think around $5000 a year because they do not have insurance. That is, they are "self insured". It would be good to make sure that they have enough reserve to fix up after a problem or a storm. If not the owners would be assessed whatever amount is needed for repairs. This condo is not alone in going without insurance, but it does present a certain risk.
There are several different condo units along that area and you should look at each one and compare the cost and more importantly the rental possibilities. There are many excellent Realtors who can help you. Alexandra Bentley is kind enough to post on this website and has been very helpful to others in the past. I'm sure she can give you some current information on this property.
As an investor the "good" condos that are in safer neighborhoods and that rent easily for short or long term are on the high end of the price scale. Coral Princess would not be a good investment for short term rentals, they are not nice enough or in a good enough neighborhood. What is popular in the Caribbean are multi-unit houses. Plenty of property managers that will manage houses and condos on all 3 of the islands.
Thanks for the responses. Not terribly concerned about making a great return on the condo. It would be nice to be able to rent it for a few months during the year to offset the costs. My father seems most concerned with whether it is in an area he could be comfortable letting his highschool and college age grandchildren come down and stay for a month or so at a time during the summer, christmas breaks etc...
most lenders will not initiate a mortgage on a self insured property for obvious reasons.....be careful with those type properties.
Wow, a place for the kids to come etc.....so much depends. To me, the supervision matters--A little story. ..We started coming/owning on stx when our youngest were about 3 or 4. I can remember my husband, as the years passed and during the boom times in the 80's, when the island was busy, and fun with lots of tourists all year round, saying how great he thought it would be for the boys to take a year or a winter when they got out of college or thereabouts, to live in stx and work( and play). Then, things changed on island, and we spent more time here and perhaps knew more about life here- the crime, the drugs, the drinking, Aids, the lifestyle of many of the younger continentals-the next thing I can recall hubbie saying was that once the boys were 18 he wasn't going to let them even visit stx! Well, naturally they still came to visit, but never by themselves, and we long ago moved away from "condo row" to another area of the island.
Wow thanks Beachy illuminating post. I was hoping you could expound upon some things for the sake of my curiosity. I am assuming the Coral Princess is on "condo row"? Is this a bad neighborhood, is it near to all of the public housing i have seen mentioned on the board? Would you be quite susceptible to crime(muggings or assault) while staying at Coral Princess or the "condo row" in general? Lastly just out of curiosity what kind of behavior do the continental youth engage in? Are these people that have moved down with their families, or just young people that moved down for an "island" lifestyle? Is their debauchery really any worse than all young people get into on college campuses and on spring break etc...?
I just wanted to add a little more info about coral princess. although several years ago the complex was a little run down, over the last several years there have been new owners and board members that have greatly improved the appearance and condition of the property. Many of the units have been refurbished and it is a great little community. Being close to the water has drawbacks with corrosion, but listening to the waves breaking and having great views more than compensates. Another drawback for some people would be that there is no airconditioning. But with breezes and ceiling fans you can be comfortable and save alot on electricity.
Previous posters were correct on expenses, monthly fee is around $350. and there is a water charge of 6 cents/gallon, but that doesn't include toilet water as that is a separated system. Self insurance fund could use improvement, at this point i believe it is at 250k, and increasing about 25k per year. there is a total of 24 units in complex. lenders will provide their own insurance for approx. 2% of coverage per year.
Although not on "the condo row", which i would consider the mill harbour, colony cove area, there are 3 condos in a row, grenada del mar, coral princess and cruzan princess. Coral and Cruzan are both small complexes with and interesting design with alot of freestanding buildings that only have upper and lower units. I had heard from someone that Coral was the first condo complex built on the island, not sure if it is true, but it was built in 1968 and the construction is all poured concrete, which so far has stood the test of time.
As for safety in the area, not sure it is much different than any other area. The condo area itself is gated and there is no beach access. the parking area is adjacent to the street and not gated, so that is the only area exposed to the public.
There are a couple of owners who have been doing weekly rentals, both at coral and at cruzan princess, with modest success.
Both Coral Princess & Cruzan Princess have a mixture of occupants that includes full-time owner occupants, part-time owner occupants, long-term tenants, and short-term vacation tenants. While Coral Princess is a self-insured complex, Cruzan Princess carries wind storm insurance. Their monthly HOA dues aren't much different, so Cruzan Princess often gets the nod if a buyer is choosing between the two. It is easier to get a mortgage for Cruzan Princess units. There are a variety of other condo complexes your family might want to consider. I can send you a write-up that gives some descriptive information on most of the island's condo complexes if you provide me with an email address to send it to. Mine is firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to contact me directly for that information. The descriptions of the various properties might assist you with focusing your search if some of the properties sound more like what you are seeking than others.
I would consider this "condo row" which also extends to Pelicon Cove (along the water/shore) where there have been several incidents of muggings/crime on the shore, even into a women's hotel room at Hisbiscus and several outside the condos we are talking about here...in the parking lot..that is essentially hugging the road.
Granda del mar is at least off the road, you have to enter a little wall...following attacks and "lurking in the bushes" incidents is (may have already) putting up a secure gate similar to St C.
When my fiance's parents came to visit and we (in daylight) walked from Grenada Del Mar, along the road, to Hisbiscus (about 1/2 to 1 block away), to show them the beach... a couple drove up and asked us "Is everything OK?" we were all cheery, "Sure...just taking a stroll" (although I was hestitant - I read the papers everyday and had friends attacked in this very area) and then the couple looked concerned and said "OK...well BE CAREFUL"... essentially... 'WTF are you doing walking along here...setting youself up for something!!' I'm sure they thought we were dumb tourists that didnt know better.
Owning one of the condos anywhere in the area from Club St Croix on down to the Cruzan/Coral/Granada area is not a bad thing, so long as the buyer goes into it with their eyes open, and knows what they want from the unit, as well as doing the necessary due diligence to determine if a particular complex will suit. Some properties are more or less expensive; some are better suited for long or short-term rentals, or geared to on-island or snowbird residents. You need to know what you want from it, and then investigate things like management, financials, infrastructure etc. Then things like security become items to investigate, too. You have to be comfortable in the complex and the neighborhood, and everyone has their own level of comfort. We have owned condos on island, and rented them successfully, used them ourselves some, and for the most part sold them at a profit, even though it was before the most recent uptick in values. We personally were more comfortable in other areas of the island, but that does not mean they were/are bad.
As far as the "young continentals "etc lifestyle issues--it's a combination. In a "live here" situation, some of the issues/problems are likely the same as in a place like Jackson Hole, or Vail, with the transient young adults coming for the opportunity to play as well as work, BUT we have observed what seems to us to be an unusually high number of continental kids and young adults who have encountered problems, particularly with alcohol or drugs, within a relatively short time after coming to live on stx. Perhaps it's the availability, or the limited number of after-work social activities on the island that don't include alcohol--and the drugs, especially soft ones, are so very very available. It might be something like the college freshman going wild when they are away from home for the first time, but it does get scary. We've also seen some young adults come here and do well...but we feel it not to be a necessarily positive environment, and didn't think that any of our sons or their friends would gain enough from living here to justify what we felt to be the risk, and we told them all so.
Your situation, though, with plans for vacationing grandchildren, is different. As long as there are adults along or available it can be a great place to visit. We wouldn't have come for twenty-some years if it wasn't. We spent a lot of time here with them, and still do. I've lived here full time, working on island. But as a visitor/tourist, the uneasiness I always felt with my kids and their friends was likely because I feel stx is not a good place to do stupid things, and kids sometimes do stupid things, or make dumb choices. In our "other life" in northeast suburbia, the stupid choices or such would not put my kids in the kind of danger they might encounter on stx, partly because their life was in a more homogeneous community up there. Make a wrong turn here and you are in a bad neighborhood. Walk a block or two too far in town and you might encounter folks that you don't want to meet on an empty street. I must admit, however, that the only time my kids were robbed it was just up Church Street from the Sonia's Bracelet store, as they were getting into their "island" station wagon (which drew one son's comment that no one would ever take them for tourists driving THAT!!), and they had not been drinking. It could have happened anywhere, but would not have necessarily been 5 guys with knives and a gun, and it might not have taken 2 hours for the police to show up. Luckily no one was hurt, but then we had to deal with visiting kids whose driver's licenses had been stolen, and who had no id to fly back to their homes in the states, and no police report ready by the days they were supposed to leave. Try explaining that to NY parents on the phone, after they've heard about the knives and the gun! Then, another time, they had a tire blow after they hit a pothole on the road that goes from Sunny Isle up past the hospital. They did not have any cell phone service in the spot where it happened, and it was about 10 at night. Either the spare was flat or the jack wouldn't work or something, so they could not change the tire. Two police officers stopped in a patrol car. Listened to the story, and said they had to go, and left the kids there, Told them they couldn't make a call to their parents, nor a tow truck or anyone else. Just left. Thankfully someone we knew came driving by, recognized our van and stopped, and helped change the tire. Unfortunately the guys did not get the police officer's names or car #. Might not have mattered anyway, the complaint likely would have been ignored.
We never let the boys come without an adult, and we kept tabs on where and when. Two of them come now as adults, and one actually is living here now. One son has no interest in ever coming back to stx. They all have lots of friends who love the island because of the visits they have made to our home. We've even got now-married couples (friends, not my sons) who plan to come to stx and adopt from the animal shelter when it's time to get their dog, because they fell in love with the stx shelter dogs that belong to our neighbors and mostly live at our house.
So, if you and your father go into it with all the necesary information, I say go for it. Just keep your eyes open and make smart choices, and enjoy all the great things and wonderful people that make stx such a special place.
great post - factual, to the point, no rhetoric...no smileys!!
Just a whole lot of common sense.
Beachy- I agree with Jane. Excellent post. Honest and true.... nice way to address many of the issues those of us that leave felt and experienced- but with no negative connetation to the wonderful good people on island and fun things it does have to offer. But spot on about real issues.... police leaving,etc.
I appreciate your outlook and hope as time continues on... my recounts of my life there reflect more the joy and not the fear.
Thank you for being able to address such touchy subjects that this board covers so that all can benefit hearing both sides, without starting pride-wars between the "malcontents" and the "smiley brigades".