CUL DE SAC:--- Following decades of interests indicated by numerous parties for the purchase of the Mary's Fancy Plantation House and surroundings, APS, St. Maarten's general pension fund administrator, has reached agreement with the property owners for its sale and purchase.
The signing of the pertinent notarial deed took place on Monday at the offices of notary Meredith Boekhoudt, witnessed by representatives of APS and heirs of one time owner Elisabeth Reitz, who first came to Mary's Fancy from Germany in 1975 and purchased the property from Tom Vincent.
The ownership of the property had changed hands several times in the twentieth century.
With the original structures and ruins located in Cul-de-Sac with entrance on the L.B. Scott road, the estate was once home to the famous Gianni's restaurant, which boasted countless international celebrities among its patrons. The restaurant had been established under the ownership of and was operated under the management of the late Miss Reitz.
Mary's Fancy Estate's main house, across from Emilio Wilson Estate, was used in the past for social gatherings between government leaders and the general public.
Today, the original ruins are located in a populated living area with dense vegetation growing around all buildings. These include a large boiling house, a domestic construction and a bake oven, which are among the older structures preserved on the estate.
For APS, the purchase of the historic landmark represents a genuine opportunity to preserve and protect part of St. Maarten's patrimony and history.
The estate remains an interesting subject for archaeological and architectural research, which has already indicated that certain walls of the boiling house, for example, may have been built in several periods.
APS has committed itself to not only preserving the estate but to also maintain its historical and ecological importance as its contribution to the country's heritage. This in addition to subscribing to the aspirations and wishes of the environmental community of St. Maarten.
"We are certainly in favor of restoring, as much as possible, the older structures on the estate, including the plantation house, originally used as sugar factory, and which was constructed in the latter part of the 18th century. As a well-intentioned corporate citizen, our fund recognizes the estate as a national symbol, which should, by all means be protected, as a contribution to the country's nation-building initiatives", says APS director Kendra Arnell.
The pension fund administrator, she says, embraces this unique opportunity to protect this estate, its structures and surroundings that have played a meaningful role in St. Maarten's. Future generations should be able to experience and discover their own connections to these grounds as well, says the APS official.
APS chairman of the board Franklyn Richards says that the fund is "particularly excited about this particular investment, considering the opportunities granted for a future injection into the island's economy, by designing a future project on the estate that would be both viable and self-sufficient".
The acquisition of this irreplaceable historic place is in keeping with the investment goals of APS, which are executed through a carefully planned investment program, designed to safeguard pension capital and generate a minimum rate of return on the long term, in order to ensure that pension benefits can be paid to APS participants, when the time arises, say APS officials.
While the estate has been home to a sizeable number of dogs, throughout the years, provisions have additionally been made to ensure the well-being of the remaining dogs that were under the care of the late Ms. Reitz.
APS Press Release