An Update: Mahogany Bay Village Really IS The Largest Development on Ambergris Caye

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.

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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.

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The gate and the driveway…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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Here is a look at the townhouse and the seawalls that are going in along the “streets”…lined with baby mangroves.

IMG_9492These canals lead to the lagoon and people, if desired, will have boat slips and there will be a central marina with a dive shop and tour center.

While I was there, I watched a parade of about 20 foot palm trees coming in to be planted.  This area is pretty barren right now and they said that landscaping for beauty and privacy and the tropical feel are critical.  They are testing flowers, shrubs, all sorts of gardens right now.  It’s a top priority.

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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.

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IMG_9491Just a few more pictures…do you mind?  I was swooning.

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Cow horns for hanging robes…IMG_9498

This gorgeous chair produced on the mainland.IMG_9501 IMG_9502 IMG_9503 IMG_9507 IMG_9508 IMG_9510

I could not stop touching this table.IMG_9511 IMG_9512The 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.

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The only question this…and other development here on the island begs is…how many people can fit on Ambergris Caye?

 

 

 

 

 





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  • Wow, it’s beautiful. LOVE the design aesthetic, just like you. But like you, I do wonder about the island infrastructure being able to support something of this magnitude. I do wish them success, though; it’s gorgeous and looks so more well suited to a Caribbean island than most of the developments on Ambergris Caye.

  • dj

    you’re kidding right ? The design aesthetic ? This place look like a cheap Florida tract housing development. Little boxes, little boxes… If you look at it from the air, which you can do everytime you fly in, it looks like its connected to the sewage lagoon.

    • Belize Blog

      I’m so not kidding…I love the low level, wooden simple construction (thinking Nantucket cottages) more than I love a HUGE concrete resort that could easily be located in Vegas or Orlando. And the interiors really had me swooning. I love that look. I AGREE that landscaping is a PRIORITY…or else it will look like boxes on the lagoon…

  • Lonni Simpson Skrentner

    I wonder where their “beach club” is going to be located? I wonder about the houses for permanent residents – how expensive? I do like the pictures of the furnished areas.

  • tjamison

    While this looks beautiful, it saddens me to see these huge developments on the island (these are purely selfish emotions). When our family first visited AC I fell in love with the natural local feel of the island, while there were small resorts it still retained a local non touristy atmosphere. I prefer to rent a house, I prefer to put my money into local business’s, not a mega resort. I am not comfortable with staying in a glass world protected from the local culture and experience’s of the island. When I go on vacation I want to vacation in their world that happens to be blessed with one of the most beautiful locations in the world, I want to leave my way of life behind not bring it to the island. I know this kind of development has its pro’s and cons for the Country and I wont pretend to know the ins and outs of them. While I love a good iced mocha I would rather drive to town and purchase from a local shop. My opinion only and to each his own and will always wish for the best for AC and her residences.

    • BluenoseDuo

      I completely agree; the beauty of AC lies in the (relative) lack of big resorts and the joy of mingling with the friendly locals. This development, and others planned up north, will turn the island into just another nameless Caribbean destination. Sad, but inevitable I suppose.

      • Belize Blog

        I agree with you both…I want things to stay like when I first visited…but…inevitable. Thanks for the comments!

  • lifeagain

    Reminds me of summer time at the New Jersey shore (south). We would cram 15 to 20 people in those nice wooden shacks and have the greatest times at night and obviously a life time of memories. You could here every body’s families talking, snoring, fighting and other stuff because the cabins were soooo close together. Beautiful pictures and it seems like a nice place.

    • Belize Blog

      HA! Perfect analogy!

  • Notimpressed

    Since Dave Mitchell is involved in this development, I would guess that he will take people by boat to the “not so secret” beach at his other development Grand Belizean Etstates. We all should hope that this new venture doesn’t sit empty like the other venture.

    • Belize Blog

      It sounded to me like Dave was no longer involved. That they purchased the land from him? This I will need to check on!

  • TheParadiseGuy

    Toured the entire development and stopped in at the Rum & Bean last week. A very responsibly done and esthetically pleasing development. It will look much better as the landscaping goes in. Great place to live or invest or both. If you have not been out to take a look for yourself, I recommend you do so.

    • Belize Blog

      I don’t know prices…or any of the “hard details” so that is definitely up to the investors…thanks for the feedback.

    • Franck Robert

      hey, so you move to AC?

  • islandgirl

    They really only want investors (right now) for the Hotel portion. The houses will start at $500,000.00 US. This is very ambitious and will languish like most ambitious projects that get sold many times. For those prices you can get reef side beach front property. There are a number of positions available…several slick offsite sales people wanted, internet marketing, and similar. Hopefully the Mennonite and other mainland vendors are getting some well paid business out of the deal.

    • Belize Blog

      We will see…sigh.