Nice New SKN Consulate in Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA; Value $28 MILLION (with an M)

Stay tuned, there may be more to this story. . . . like Mr. — excuse, Counsel General — Axelrod really donated the manse to St. Kitts-Nevis . . .  well, stay tuned, anyway. . .  .


—– Forwarded Message —-

Sent: Sun, June 27, 2010 5:40:09 AM
Subject: COUSIN IN VANCOUVER SENT ME THIS NEW INFO / The SKN Federation is broke and they spend 28 million on this!

Successful businessman enjoys position with St. Kitts and Nevis
 By Grania Litwin, Canwest News Service June 26, 2010

Todd Axelrod’s home in Uplands serves as the consulate of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Photograph by: Adrian Lam, Canwest News Service, Canwest News Service

Christopher Columbus discovered the sunny Caribbean islands of St. Kitts and Nevis in 1493.  Todd Axelrod first laid eyes on them five centuries later and immediately fell in love. He has returned about 40 times since 1992, and became a citizen of the country when offered the post of consul-general and special envoy to the prime minister in 2008.  “I went on holiday, met some wonderful people and it was instant chemistry,” said the New York-born businessman, who moved to Victoria 10 years ago.

Axelrod, who now spends part of the year in Victoria and part in the Caribbean, is the most senior diplomat on Vancouver Island. While many nations have consulates in larger cities, the consulate of St. Kitts and Nevis is the only such institution in Victoria.  St. Kitts and Nevis is a two-island nation in the Caribbean, about 2,500 kilometres from Miami and due east of Jamaica. Previously a British protectorate, it became a sovereign nation 26 years ago and has a population of 50,000.

Axelrod, 60, uses his own home in Uplands as the nation’s consulate.  “I’m a dollar-a-year man and very privileged to represent this country,” said the businessman, who made his fortune on Wall Street before moving to Canada.  His role as consul-general is to help raise the profile of St. Kitts and Nevis in Canada, particularly in the western half of the country. Although the islands’ tropical climate and rich history are relatively well-known in central Canada, they are lower on the radar in the west.

Axelrod, a lifelong entrepreneur, will also play a role in stimulating business between Canada and St. Kitts and Nevis.  “My function is to help evaluate business plans, see if they have merit, find out how we can fast-track ideas, open doors. I might see a need and identify a person in Canada who can bring something to the country,” he said. “Most of all I analyze opportunities. I think Victoria and St. Kitts and Nevis should become sister resort destinations — and they’re all islands.”

Axelrod has been asked by the government of St. Kitts and Nevis to help develop a historical tourism plan. Small wonder, considering he is a renowned antiquarian, with the largest private collection of historical documents, autographs and manuscripts for sale in the world. His company, Gallery of History Inc., carries an inventory of about 190,000 documents, signed by everyone from U.S. presidents and Nobel Prize winners to explorers and other famous figures — including Beethoven, Jesse James and Einstein.

Axelrod is passionate about history. “And we have a rich history in St. Kitts and Nevis. Everybody took a shot at owning us, including many pirates,” said Axelrod, who was on the board of the National Museum of American History, part of the Smithsonian Institution, for eight years.  “I’m trying to create a critical mass for historical tourism. We already have great forts and some great museums, but we have to give people more reasons to visit, especially if they are going to take three or four days just coming and going from the West Coast.”

He said the islands are an easy jaunt from Toronto, but a long trek from Victoria.

It’s worth the journey, he says, citing the islands’ natural beauty and lively arts scene, which features such contemporary artists as Kate Spencer, Robert Humphreys and Marvin Chapman.  “[The islands are] full of charm — like the Caribbean was 100 years ago, with wonderful arts and crafts.” The golfing is also excellent, he said, and the Four Seasons Hotel, considered among the top two or three resorts in the world, reopens in December after being closed for two years after hurricane Omar hit the islands.

Axelrod is so enamoured with the small nation he relinquished his U.S. citizenship to become consul-general. “I’m not a longtime diplomat, so I’m still learning. But this is a chance to make a difference.”  He said he is inspired by the country’s prime minister, Denzil Llewellyn Douglas, who is also minister of finance, information, technology and sustainable development, sports and culture.

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Date: Sun, 13 Jun 2010 10:47:45 -0400
Subject: The Federationi is broke and they spend 28 million on this!

$28-million Victoria house now a consulate

Uplands residence known as Sweet Pea bought by St. Kitts and Nevis, two Caribbean islands

One of the most expensive houses in Canada — a waterfront Uplands home listed for sale a year ago at more than $28 million — is now a consulate for St. Kitts and Nevis, two lush Caribbean islands.
The 15,900-square-foot house, called Sweet Pea, is set on a hectare of land with more than 450 metres of waterfront. The house at 3195 Humber Rd. has seven bedrooms, an indoor swimming pool and spa, doors covered in gold leaf, manicured grounds, a desalination plant and an enhanced security system that slides shutters over windows at the touch of a button. When it was listed by Sotheby’s International, it was advertised as having a media room that would suit the likes of movie mogul Steven Spielberg.
It also has a colourful local history. It was formerly owned by Frank Hertel, who fled to Venezuela and Germany in 1986 after being charged with conspiring to evade $1.2 million in back taxes under the federal scientific research tax-credit program.
He was arrested in London in May 2009 and is to be extradited to Canada to face the criminal charges.
The current owners are Pamela and Todd Axelrod. The couple had the house on the market with Sotheby’s, but it is no longer on the Sotheby’s website. According to documents filed at the municipality of Oak Bay, a business licence for the property was issued two months ago.
Although it is zoned single-family residential, a home-based business is permitted, said Oak Bay chief administrative officer Mark Brennan.
The licence application states that business is done by telephone, fax and computer. The business does not qualify the property for tax breaks, Brennan said.
Outside the gated house is a flagpole with the flag of St. Kitts and Nevis and a gold plaque saying it is the consulate for the islands.
Consulates generally provide aid and information for people from that country.
John Allen, the honorary consul-general for St. Kitts and Nevis in Toronto, said the Victoria office would raise the profile of the country in Canada. Allen said Toronto, Victoria and the High Commission in Ottawa are the three consulates for St. Kitts and Nevis in Canada.
He did not know why Victoria was chosen.
“I had no idea it was there,” said Oak Bay Mayor Christopher Causton. “Perhaps it should be mandatory for the mayor to personally go to St. Kitts and Nevis.”
Such consulates are common in residential areas of larger government cities, such as Ottawa.

About Bruce

Work for sustainable development of small islands and the Chesapeake Bay; ex-Peace Corps (Volunteer and staff) in LA & Caribbean; cruised Caribbean on S/Y Meander for three years; like small tropical islands, French canals, Umbria, Tasmania, and NZ. Married 52 years to the late Kincey Burdett Potter (see President of the now-sunsetting Island Resources Foundation.
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