By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
A St. Joe official broke the company’s silence this week regarding a May 18 announcement that the company had suspended sales at SevenShores, its high-rise development planned for Perico Island.
In a document e-mailed to local media on Tuesday, June 5, Jerry Ray, vice president of corporate communications for St. Joe, responded to a series of questions, several of which were e-mailed to the company by The Sun following the announcement, three weeks ago.
According to Ray, the company suspended sales for two reasons.
"Entitlements took much longer that expected, which delayed construction and sales when the early 2000 condo market was attractive to buyers," he explained.
"The market has changed dramatically since the plan and expectations were established. All aspects of the project were based on market research that was done at a time when the market conditions were much more favorable."
Ray said site work would continue on the lake, the entrance and the marina, however, work on Building II, the first condo building slated for construction, and the clubhouse is being re-evaluated.
Regarding the marina, Ray said, "While the St. Joe Company owns both SevenShores and the adjacent marina, they are two separate projects and not contingent upon one another. The plans and timetable for the marina and its possible retail uses are still being evaluated."
Ray said the company would retain its sales center but the staff there would focus on research and market studies.
“We’re launching into an extensive market research program as part of our evaluation process," Ray explained. "Our goal is to re-evaluate, measure and analyze current demand and trends, so we can better align our future product offerings before moving forward with sales."
Ray said that while the company feels the pricing of the condos was extremely fair for waterfront property, it would give customers the option of receiving 100 percent of their deposit back. However, he did not reveal the number of units that have been sold or a timetable for the re-launch.