CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands -- Owners of the old Yacht Haven Hotel site here in St. Thomas will begin demolishing the dilapidated structure March 13 and will launch construction on a $150 million hotel and marina project by mid-September.

Plans for the waterfront site include a 160-slip marina, a yacht club, a 70-room hotel, 12 timeshare condominiums, a 25,000-square-foot convention center, four restaurants, an amphitheater, and retail space.

IN-USVI, which owns the property, said the five-month demolition project, "will proceed slowly and in strict accordance with federal and local environmental protection requirements, because of asbestos throughout the structure."

Hurricane Marilyn battered the Yacht Haven Hotel in 1995, from which time it has stood vacant. Until then, the hotel had served as the headquarters of the island's vibrant charter boat industry.

Tourism officials are confident that the planned development will revitalize the marine industry as well as create jobs and provide a fun place for visitors and locals.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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