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Revitalizing Pan Am Pavilion

Pan Am Pavilion has been a Christiansted destination for decades, offering quaint boutiques, small offices, and restaurants. If you haven’t been there, I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of the beautiful entry from Strand Street with it’s historic Danish brick arches dripping with ferns. Like many buildings and businesses on St. Croix, this little gem recently changed hands. We are thrilled to report that Derek Shupe acquired the property in 2020, and gave us a tour to show us his vision for Pan Am Pavilion.

Many of you know Shupe, but for those who haven’t had the pleasure let me just say he defines the term ‘go-getter’. He has already opened several successful restaurants on St. Croix, including Christiansted favorites Shupe’s on the Boardwalk and Brew STX. Successes aside, what we love most about Shupe is that he’s truly invested in the St. Croix community and the people who live here. Now, he has taken the earnings from his other businesses and is reinvesting them into Pan Am Pavilion…and his obvious passion for revitalizing the space is infectious.

Derek Shupe (pictured in the blue shirt) celebrates being named 2019 Businessman of the Year by the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce.

First and foremost, the buildings and grounds themselves were refreshed in 2020 when this blog was originally written. New paint, solar panels, and better lighting were just a few of the items we discussed that he addressed first. Shupe’s goal, which he has done a great job of meeting thus far, is to beautify and rehab the area inside and around the pavilion so it’s a more attractive place for people to spend time. These renovations, especially better lighting, provide a welcoming and safe gateway from Strand Street to the Christiansted boardwalk. By making this area safer and more attractive Shupe hopes to encourage patrons on the boardwalk to also check out the businesses along the pavilion and up on Strand Street.

Pan Am Pavilion as seen from Strand Street

While many of your favorite Pan Am businesses remain, there are also a few exciting new additions. Staying in the pavilion are Pan Am favorites: Purple Papaya, Steele’s Smokes & Sweets, The Boardwalk Parlour, Ruba’s Nail Oasis, Many Hands, Cruzan Creations, Jolly Treasures, Toast Diner, St. Croix Surf Company, and Shupe’s on the Boardwalk. New to the pavilion are a couple of restaurants that are sure to become new foodie hot spots. On the Strand Street end of the pavilion (in the old Nelthropp & Lowe location) is the new casual fine dining restaurant, Estera, which features some of the original historic brickwork inside. At the other end of the pavilion, near Toast, is a fun and creative walk-up taco stand. There will also be some new boutiques coming in for all of you shoppers out there.

Pan Am Pavilion as seen from St. Croix Surf Company near the boardwalk

As for the second level of the Pan Am Pavilion, including the former Parrot’s Cove and Tivoli Gardens locations, we’ll have to wait and see. Although part of the upstairs space may continue to be used periodically for special events, the possibilities for the second story are endless…so stay tuned.

In the Fall of 2023, Shupe also redid the flooring and drainage of the pavilion, and did a huge renovation on his namesake restaurant to take advantage of the underutilized upstairs area. The upstairs of Shupe’s on the Boardwalk now has a new bar, new decking and flooring, an outdoor lounge, and will be hosting some great live entertainment from stateside DJ’s and musicians in the coming year.

All of us here at GOTO would like to say congratulations, Shupe, on your newest venture! We can’t wait to see the Pan Am Pavilion get the love and attention it deserves, and to see you bring this fabulous property to its full potential in the coming years.

-Jennie Ogden, Editor

Updated: November 2023

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