When asked what they would do if they had all the money in the world, most people put buying a private island at the top of the list.
Sadly, these dreams usually go unrealised, because most people aren’t eye-wateringly rich, and because even if they were, they rarely come up for sale. It’s especially rare they come with as much development potential as this one in the Bahamas.
Located in the Berry Islands, which is well known for boating and fishing and is just 30 miles from Florida, this large private island stretches out for 711 acres. With 12 miles of shoreline, there are 13 white sandy beaches to choose from, extending for seven miles in total.
“It’s rare for an island of this size and with such huge development potential to come on to the market,” says Walter Zephirin, managing director of luxury Caribbean specialist 7th Heaven Properties, which is handling the sale of the land. “It’s ideal for a luxury residential developer.”
Once, it was also the perfect hideout for celebrities and the aristocracy. British eccentric Marion Barbara Carstairs – who often dressed as a man and went by the name Joe – bought the island in 1934. The daughter of an American heiress to the Standard Oil fortune, she was also a British army captain and speed boat racing champion who was known as “the fastest woman on water” and the “Queen of Whale Cay.”
Carstairs retired to the island where she entertained royalty – the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in particular – and celebrities including Marlene Dietrich. Carstairs built several historical buildings during her time on the Berry Islands, including a great house, guest cottage, music room, museum, sea plane hangar and lighthouse. These still exist, although many have fallen into disrepair and need some TLC from a new owner.
Its development has been divided into two phases, with 155 lots extending along the southern coastline, most of which span one acre of land, and 105 of which sit on the oceanfront. Some of the lots have already been developed into family homes. There are another 60 lots on the northern section of the island, with preliminary government approval for development, making it a perfect project for a residential property tycoon or hotelier.
“These kinds of islands appeal to individual buyers looking for their own private hideaway, as well as commercial investors seeking a special development opportunity,” says Zephirin. Guests can arrive by boat, seaplane or the island’s 4,000sqft paved airstrip. There’s also a 2.5 mile long waterway at Whale Cay that, if dredged, could become a marina.
So what are you waiting for? Stop island hopping and get island buying. It’s a bargain at $20m.
• Visit 7thheavenproperties.com