Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Governments buying Islands

USA: Conservation Group Forced To Place Private Island Back on the Market

Just over one year since being snapped up by a conservation group, heart-shaped Harbor Island in Maine has once again been placed on the private island market.

Harbor Island, Maine - Image Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

Harbor Island, Maine – Image Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

As one of the key trends on the private island market, avid readers of Private Island News will be well aware of the increasing amount of governments and conservancies buying islands. In the case of Harbor Island (Maine), it seems the tables have turned, however – just 15 months after buying the island, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust have taken the unusual step to place it back on the market.

As reported by Private Island News early last year, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) bought the heart-shaped island for USD 2.35 million in December 2013 with the hope of preventing developers from destroying the natural and peaceful character of the island, which is home to verdant forestland and an unspoiled coastline.

Despite initial optimism, the MCHT failed to raise enough money to cover the full purchase price, however, with complications regarding the island’s substantial mortgage forcing the group to reluctantly place the picturesque private island back on the market for just USD 1.275 million – over a million dollars less than the price paid for Harbor Island back in 2012.

The dramatic price drop is not without its reasons, however, and certainly doesn’t signal a more general malaise across the Maine private island market. Indeed, whilst the trust was unable to keep hold of the island, they were able to make good on their promise to conserve it, succeeding in creating a series of deeded provisions that restrict development and allow limited public access.

Whilst the conservation easements ensure that a large-scale development is out of the question, Rich Knox, director of communications for the MCHT, was able to confirm that the construction of a small house would be permitted, albeit further away from the shoreline from the island’s previous property, which was recently struck by lightning and reduced to ashes.

The MCHT’s senior project manager explained in a statement to Private Island News that the arrangement was made to satisfy a variety of desires for the property: “Our conversations with councilors and the community have made it clear that this outcome is appreciated. It will balance continuation of the town’s property tax income potential with a conservation result that maintains the integrity of the island and provides permanent access for the public.”

To read more about Harbor Island head over to Vladi Private Islands: http://www.vladi-private-islands.de/en/island+buy+harbor-island+maine+usa/

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