Almost a year ago now, I followed the signs just south of town to Rum+Bean coffee shop and the beginning development called Mahogany Bay Village. (You can see exactly what I saw here – it was June 2014.) The coffee shop was open but not much else.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been seeing pictures on Facebook…of delicious coffee drinks and Key Lime Pie in a mason jar and I decided to go down there again.
And I found changes…LOTS of changes. And impressive ones. Overwhelming plans. I think I was more shocked by this progress than by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Blackadore plans. And that’s saying something. Perhaps because it is in “my backyard”. Here’s what I saw and what I learned.
The entrance is just past this sign. Let’s just say that this population number is about to change.
The gate and the driveway…
A wide expanse…that will soon contain a bistro, a gastro-pub, a general store – a village. Here is the area, on Google maps, that we are talking about here.
I hope you can see this map – it’s a triangular expanse in the center. Let me know.
I stopped in at Rum+Bean first for a really delicious coffee. Beverly makes a mean cappuccino.
And the shop is just beautiful…and, as I later found out, the design of this whole development is…phenomenal. I don’t want to throw that word around but I LOVED the aesthetic. Love.
I went next door to meet one of the salesmen, John. The office is gorgeous as well…
Even a beautiful photo of San Pedro’s famous Coconut Leo.
Beautiful bleached pine, a bit of Nantucket or the Hamptons…just beach chic. I know very little about design by this work is beautiful.
There is plenty of information about the developers, designers and sales crew.
Here is Robert Helms, Sales and Marketing Director, giving a video update to investors and potential investors for March 2015. (It’s about 8 mins long but gives a thorough overview.)
And some information about the wood they are using from mainland Belize. Only specific mahogany trees that are marked in areas that devoted to sustainable forestry.
The plan…I mean…wow. Right now, I took a walk down just the first two of the seven streets. Phase One, to be completed next January 2016, will be a Great House, the village and 202 resort rooms managed by Scout Hotels.
Almost 80% of Phase One is sold to investors. The resort is marked in red. And there was a book on the table showing how the first street will look…
When the current developer bought the property, it had been filled and there were four starter houses on it. More modern in style…they still stand but are very different from what Mahogany Bay is putting together.
Here are the newer buildings. They actually work with about 150 Belizean and Belizean-Mennonite craftsmen near Belmopan – making the cottages and structures…the furniture…everything. It all arrives on the barge and the buildings are pieced together shockingly quickly.
Here are some of the resort buildings.
Here is a look at the townhouse and the seawalls that are going in along the “streets”…lined with baby mangroves.
As is the highest speed internet. I asked John how they would deal with that in Belize – where the highest speed available is 16MB but it can be unreliable and uber-expensive. He mentioned “microwaves”…maybe satellite? Because they are building a “Great House” and they will need corporate amenities.
A HUGE meeting spot is to be built – by January 2016 – conferences, weddings -16,000 sq feet!!! A spot that will be handicap accessible and house up to 500 people!
Let me get to the part that I loved…the interiors. LOVE THE DESIGN…if I didn’t say that already.
The first cottage I saw.
I could not stop touching this table. The plans here are immense. 202 hotel rooms and the Great House opening January 2016 and in later phases, houses for permanent residents. Unbelievably ambitious and…right under my nose and I had no idea.
A gastro-pub! Food sheds! Kids Kamps! OH! And perhaps the most interesting part to me. I asked “How do you make a sale to a person that says they love your design but came to Belize for the sea?”
The answer – “we own a significant piece of beach front property” – and there will be frequent shuttles back and forth. To the beach club.
And try as I might…I could not get it out of him. Where is this property? East side? West side? Hmmm….a mystery. Please let me know if you have an idea!
For more information on Mahogany Bay Village, see the website. And watch the video posted above. You can also read about the hurricane “proofing” in the designers’ blog.
And know…I bought my own coffee!
The coffee shop and the sales office are open from 7am to 7pm if you want to stop by. It’s JUST south of Victoria House on South Ambergris Caye.
The only question this…and other development here on the island begs is…how many people can fit on Ambergris Caye?