PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Virgin Islands Research & Technology Park Unveils Mandated Development Project

The RTPark is proud to announce its proposed construction of the Virgin Islands Tech Village

Published Thursday, August 6, 2020

 

Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands August 6, 2020 - The Research and Technology Park (RTPark) is proud to announce its proposed construction of the Virgin Islands Tech Village in Estate Lower Love, in accordance with the legislative mandate of promoting sustainable economic development that created the RTPark back in 2002. 

The Virgin Islands Tech Village will consist of 60 units of residential housing, 10,500 square feet of commercial space, a 120 room teaching hotel, a 300-person capacity conference center, and a solar microgrid.  It will also include significant agricultural investment, with 60 percent of the land dedicated to agricultural use, ranging from farming to innovative programs and agribusiness development.  The project, estimated to cost around $40 Million, will serve as another step in the economic revitalization of St. Croix.

RTPark Executive Director, Peter H. Chapman, hails this multi-faceted sustainable development project as the perfect opportunity to address the resulting economic diversity, housing, educational, and workforce development needs of St. Croix, which is still recovering from the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria in September 2017 and, more recently, the current economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “We are excited about initiating the Tech Village project because it not only allows us to fulfill the strategic priorities and mandate of the RTPark, especially during the economically trying times of this pandemic, but also supports the expansion of academic opportunities for the university community,” said Chapman. “The location and close proximity to the RTPark headquarters and the University is crucial to the collaborative and innovative spirit that we expect to create at the village.”

The RTPark’s affiliation with UVI--an HBCU/land grant institution--supports the Park’s innovative mission of furthering educational, agricultural, and technology-based initiatives that broaden the potential for community development throughout the Virgin Islands. Combining private equity capital managed by a Black-owned economic development finance advisory firm, Renaissance Equity Partners (REP), with favorable bank financing and federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding, will make this vision a reality.

Robert K. Jenkins Jr., Senior Managing Director of REP, welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the RTPark to facilitate the development of the project--the first of its kind in the territory.

“The St. Croix projects represent the type of transformative projects our Renaissance HBCU Opportunity Fund (the Fund) was organized to assist. We organized the Fund, together with the nonprofit HBCU Community Development Action Coalition, to help attract the private equity capital required to successfully develop catalytic real estate-oriented economic development projects on or near HBCU campuses. We are honored to have received organizational support from the Kresge and Rockefeller Foundations and to have recently been named to the Forbes OZ 20 List of Opportunity Zone Catalyst,” said Jenkins. 

The added highlight of this venture is the project's commitment to sustainable agriculture on several fronts to include actual farming, education, technology, agri-tourism and most importantly sustainable job creation working in conjunction with the UVI Cooperative Extension Service, the VI Energy Office, the Department of Agriculture, and the Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition (VIGFC).

Sommer Sibilly-Brown, Executive Director of VIGFC, said it’s been a pleasure to work with the RTPark on this project because of the level of transparency, accountability, and willingness to incorporate all aspects of economic development.

“The Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition believes in food security, sovereignty, and sustainability,” said Sibilliy-Brown. “The RTPark Sustainable Tech Village project encompasses all three of those aspects, and we see space for exponential growth for the future of agriculture in the territory.” 

The RTPark is aggressively expanding its footprint here in the territory. A project of this magnitude embraces an ascending trajectory when the global pandemic, that being COVID-19, has ravaged global economies, particularly the U.S. mainland. The RTPark looks forward to working with all the public agencies and private entities that will undoubtedly make this necessary development an unquestioned success.

“We thank Governor Albert Bryan Jr. and his administration for their support of our proactive approach to innovative economic development and look forward to our continued collaboration in moving this project across the finish line,” said RTPark Board Chairman Edward Thomas. “The RTPark’s contribution to this collaborative effort between private entities, government agencies, and the non-profit community has been a wonderful experience. We understand how partnerships like this will produce long term community benefits for years to come.”  

For media and partnership inquiries or interview requests, please contact RTPark Business Intelligence & Marketing Manager, Sydney Paul, at sydney.paul@uvirtpark.net.

Client Testimonials

We have been part of the RT-Park program for almost three years now.  The application process was straight forward and we had plenty of dialogue and feedback prior to our approval.  My only regret is we didn’t do this sooner.  It is satisfying  knowing that we are partners with UVI and enabling the education of the next generation .  We also love living in the USVI.  People are warm and welcoming and the pace of life is amazing healthy.  Most days it feels like a working vacation.

Andy Hemmert, President , HRMT, LLC

In January 2012 my business was underway as a Tech Park entity. It has been a wonderful seven years. The Tech Park has always been supportive, easy to do business with, and is making a positive impact on the islands. The Tech Park organization is professional and efficient. They have created a friendly business environment that has been a pleasure to work within and a great experience overall. I would encourage any eligible entity to consider joining us in the Tech Park.

Louise Stapleton, LNL Publishing

There are many unique treasures to living here. I’ve discovered a passion for mountain biking. My children have learned to sail. With a small community, you get to know people quickly. We found they went out of their way to make us feel welcome. When considering the move, a top concern was the children’s education. We found a quality school our kids love, with a dedicated faculty. In fairness there is an adjustment period. You learn to navigate island life, master shipping logistics, get to know a new culture, and take in some of the most beautiful ocean views in the world.

David Thompson, Exigo

Our firm, The RainTree Group, came into the UVI RT Park program in 2018.  We didn't have much experience in the USVI and followed the advice of the wonderful RT Park staff and other RT Park tenants.  The application process was transparent and straightforward.   The simple concept of the Park is mutual benefit - your company gets some tax incentives that allows you to grow your business more quickly and the USVI and UVI gets additional tax base, employment opportunities, and scholarships for deserving students.  The business environment and life in the USVI is slower paces and less stressful as the mainland, and without question the biggest business hurdle is communications, so find an office location where you have investigated the broadband options. Come and join us, you won't regret it!

James Salter, VosCom dba The RainTree Group