Actor and sustainability advocate Leonardo DiCaprio has big plans for a small island in Belize. Nearly 10 years ago, DiCaprio purchased Blackadore Caye, a 104-acre island about a 45-minute boat ride from the Belize airport and closest to the town of San Pedro. The uninhabited island has been subjected to deforestation and erosion of the native mangroves that make up much of its coast. DiCaprio plans to to not only develop a resort community that will care for the ecosystem its built it, but restore some of the environment already negatively impacted.
DiCaprio joined forces to develop the resort with Paul Scialla, the chief executive of New York City-based developer Delos. Purchased initially for $1.75 million with Jeff Gram, owner of island resort Cayo Espanto, the resort will include such measures as man-made reefs to restore offshore ecosystems and mangroves. This is a particularly important move in Belize, which is home to the planet's second largest reef system.
Scialla is already known for similar developments, the most notable of which is a design and health-focused condominium on East 11th Street in Manhattan, the penthouse for which recently sold for nearly $40 million. Residential development will also take place on Blackadore Caye, where sustainably-built homes will be put up for sale with a price tag between $5 and $15 million.
The chief architect for the resort project, which is expected to welcome its first guests in 2018, is Jason F. McLennan, founder of the Living Building Challenge. The island resort will adhere to the Challenge, and is expected to grow an already burgeoning ecotourism industry in Belize. It will be the first resort to follow the tight requirements set for the Living Building Challenge, and many of the Delos-tested health amenities including LED lighting and air quality purification will be included in the design.
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Read more about the Blackadore Caye project from The New York Times.