Thursday, April 25, 2024

Island Market

USA: America’s Man-Made Islands are Making News

Mega-million dollar projects on artificial islands are most often associated with exotic, wealthy places like Dubai and Bahrain – however, the media has been turning an eye to some interesting island developments in the USA.

(Image of Star Island Copyright Mark Averette)

Star Island, Florida

The aptly-named Star Island in Miami is a perennial media favourite, due to the plethora of celebrities that call this small man-made isle home. With some of the highest property values in the United States, it’s no wonder that the famous and wealthy like Gloria Estefan, Madonna, P. Diddy and Shaquille O’Neal have all reportedly owned a palatial estate on Star Island.  It may be tempting to try to visit, but a guardhouse holds watch at the foot of the causeway connecting the island to the mainland – if you want a glimpse of this ultra-luxurious isle, you’ll have to see it from the sea. You can take one of the many boat tours offered of Biscayne Bay by companies like South Beach Boats, which will also give a peak of Miami’s other man-made gems like Palm Island and the Venetian Islands.

Viridian Lake Island, Texas

Of all of the places that one would expect to find a private island, Arlington, Texas is likely quite low on the list. However, an impressively large project to construct a man-made island has just broken ground in this up-and-coming city. Developed by Hufflines Communities as part of a $2 billion residential, retail and office development in North Arlington, this island oasis will feature 70 multi-million dollar homes. Located near a prestigious golf course, it will no doubt be luxurious – and according to the developers, it will also be eco-friendly. In an article in the Star-Telegram, a Hufflines spokesperson said that the project will preserve 1,100 acres of wetland and feature green spaces and lake habitats. The Lake Veridian development will hopefully benefit many kinds of wildlife, not to mention be a sign of life in the moribund US housing market.

Treasure Island, California

(Image of Treasure Island from Google Earth)

San Francisco – famous for the Golden Gate Bridge, steep hills, and a vibrant culture – has always been one of the most desirable cities to live in the United States. However, with high demand will inevitably come high property values: in a 2010 survey by the Home Listing Report, the city ranks as the 4th expensive area in the country, with a four-bedroom home averaging at US $1.33M, versus a national mean of only $350,000. However, this tight market may soon receive an influx of new, centrally-located housing, in the form of Treasure Island. A 400-acre former naval base in San Francisco Bay has just been approved for a massive new development that will include 8,000 homes, as well as retail space and restaurants. Just 5 minutes from the city centre by ferry in a notoriously traffic-congested city, this will surely be a man-made paradise for future residents.

Arc Island, Florida (and possibly the world)

While this island is just speculative, the proposal from 30-year old British entrepreneur Ben Way to build a floating island in the Miami harbour certainly made headlines! Way, a self-described multi-millionaire and technology entrepreneur, is currently raising funds through the online venture capital site to begin research on an “expandable superstructure” powered by green technology: essentially, a floating city the size of Manhattan with the ability to travel the globe. His plan, however, may include dropping anchor in Miami’s harbour, at least initially calling the city home. Way’s plans may run into some problems, however – from the description of his idea on the Kickstarter website, he believes Arc Island can be a sovereign country, a geopolitical impossibility.

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