Photo: Courtesy of wollwerth
The waterfront route around the centuries-old downtown of Charlotte Amalie in Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands, is one of the most attractive drives in the Caribbean (caribjournal.com). On one side, you can see the heart of historic Charlotte Amalie, anchored by the shopping on Main Street (caribjournal.com). On the other side, you can take in the green-hilled view toward Hassel Island and Water Island (caribjournal.com). And now, thanks to a major new revitalization project, Charlotte Amalie is getting a fresh look and is positioned to become what could be the next great waterfront downtown in the Caribbean (caribjournal.com).
The improvements began with historic Main Street. The government spent about $16 million to remake the street with Euro Cobble pavers and widen the sidewalk, adding hand-laid, blue bit stone to further beautify the area (viconsortium.com). Renovations also included new street signage, replacing water and sewer lines, and new telecom and electrical underground (caribjournal.com). The Main Street project celebrated its completion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 27, 2021.
Currently, the USVI's Department of Public Works is in the midst of a nearly four-year phase one that will total $46 million (caribjournal.com). Changes will include: remaking a quarter-mile of road along the water as well as adding two new traffic lanes, a new seawall, a landscaped median, improved storm drainage, and, most notably, construction of a new waterfront promenade, ranging from 5 to 25 feet in some places (caribjournal.com).
Next will come phase two, which is even more ambitious. Phase two will extend the project around the USVI Legislature, adding a new water feature and making the historic King's Landing Wharf its centerpiece (caribjournal.com). There will also be an even more extensive promenade, ranging in some places to 70 feet, and outdoor dining opportunities across from the waterfront. As Derek A. Gabriel, Commissioner of the USVI Department of Public Works, explains, "The biggest objective is to create more outdoor space and make the area more visually appealing. This second phase, which would go somewhere north of $100 million, is hoped to be put out to bid by the first quarter of next year" (caribjournal.com).