Hurricanes devastated properties across the U.S. Virgin Islands a few years ago, including on St. Thomas, where the former Bluebeard Beach Club resort lost the roofs on all seven of its guestroom buildings, which also all suffered significant moisture damage. Several smaller structures were so badly damaged they needed to be demolished. Club Wyndham, operators of the timeshare property, along with its homeowners’ association, decided to see the destruction as an opportunity to rebuild better and rebrand the development with a more upscale appearance. Three years later, the renamed Limetree Beach Club reopened, with new amenities and upgraded metal roofs featuring a signature blue finish that make the resort easy to spot, by land or by sea.
Hurricane Irma hit St. Thomas as a Category 5 storm with peak winds of 178 miles per hour. Just two weeks later, Hurricane Maria, also Category 5, blew through the Virgin Islands, creating even more damage. Not long after, general contractor J. Benton Construction, based in St. Croix, put together a design-build team to assess the damage to the Bluebeard Beach Club. Included were architects Silverberg Associates, which has its own St. Croix office (along with another in Princeton, New Jersey), and roofing contractor Central Roofing, a Jackson, Mississippi, firm that has worked with J. Benton Construction on other USVI projects.
“This project was very similar to a total rehab project,” said Dave Rutberg, Silverberg Associates’ project manager on the job, describing the interior and exterior damage suffered by the buildings that survived the storm. “We had to basically gut everything to the structural members, so we were left with a blank canvas. We tried to be sympathetic to the original buildings on the site.”
The building team opted for a two-phased approach to the restoration effort, focusing on the guestroom buildings first to get them weathertight. Then, they took on the services buildings that all needed to be replaced – including a check-in facility, gym and pool lanai – relocating them on the property to maximize views and allow room for more expansion. This new construction also included an additional building for guestrooms designed with accessibility in mind.
The previous roof was also metal, but with a Spanish-style tile pattern in a terra cotta finish. The new roof features PAC-CLAD Tite-Loc Plus panels from Petersen in the company’s Interstate Blue finish. Central Roofing specified the panels in .032-gauge aluminum to better withstand the salt spray prevalent at the coastal location. Chris Creely, Central Roofing’s manager, says the choice was an easy one for him to make.
“I’ve always had a good relationship with Petersen,” Creely said. “They provide a quality product, and they understand unique projects – for example, in the middle of the ocean.”
With his previous experience working in the Caribbean, Creely was familiar with the challenges the remote location can pose. “Over there, everything is just more work,” he said. “If you’re short three boxes of screws, it might take a week and a half to get them from the States – there are always logistical issues.”
But those experiences also put the roofing pro in a good place when it came to the Limetree Beach Club project. He’s licensed in the USVI, which makes working with the local building authorities easier. And he has assembled a team of installers over multiple assignments in the region, which helped work move along on schedule.
With construction complete, the resort has been happily accepting guests again to the reimagined Limetree Beach Resort. Creely said he’s proud of the part his team played in getting the popular vacation spot back in business. “I think we did an excellent job, and the general contractor was more than pleased,” he said.