SCHOONER BAY development Targets Growing most of their own Food

Monday November 7th, 2011
Schooner Bay, Abaco

Schooner Bay, Abaco

THE SCHOONER Bay development in Abaco is aiming within 10 years to produce 75 per cent of the food it eats itself, and is employing renewable technologies to reduce its power bills.

James Malcolm, Schooner Bay's marketing director, explaining that the developers' construction/development methods would "pay ecological dividends for years to come", said the use of solar water heaters would cut power bills in the development by one-third.

And, through the use of geothermal energy for air conditioning and cooling properties, Mr Malcolm said the developers would slash power bills by a further 50 per cent.

"We feel fairly vindicated in our philosophy that while it takes more time, and more attention to detail, building in that way will pay ecological dividends for years to come, for our children and grandchildren," Mr Malcolm said.

Of the 120 lots placed on the market for sale two-and-a-half years ago, some 50 had been sold to buyers of whom 75 per cent were from Nassau.

"We have an amazing group of initial buyers who we call pioneers. They're diverse," Mr Malcolm said. "We're building at a very slow and deliberate pace. That's a key to sustainability - to not bite off more than you can chew.

"We believe we are a model for redevelopment. One of the reasons for our success is affordability. People are getting into Schooner Bay for lots and homes at $350,000. This not about $2 million and foreign buyers."

In a previous interview, Mr Malcolm said the international market is not being ignored. "There's been a lot of interest in the UK, a lot of interest in Canada," he said.

Marketing efforts were set to ramp up in late fall, going into winter and early Spring, and he added: "We're taking a very aggressive marketing approach in Canada between now and April. Canada is important to us, very important." Schooner Bay, Mr Malcolm said, had also linked up with a real estate partner in this venture. The 100-acre The Commons, set aside for businesses, was also set to grow in 2012.

Already hosting the studio and gallery of Bahamian artist, Antonius Roberts, a Bahamas National Trust office and Abaco Nature Tours, the eco-tourism operator, Mr Malcolm said Joe's Ribs, a southern-style barbecue restaurant/eatery option, was set to open its doors there by year-end.

He added that "another big milestone" had been the hiring of former Kerzner International executive, Glen Kelly, as Schooner Bay's harbourmaster and town manager with effect from September 1, 2011.

"He's the first executive in the team focused on building the tangible place," Mr Malcolm said.

Examining Schooner Bay's development model, he added: "All the developments that have withered on the vine, starting in the early 2000s, their model was sell it out and get out within three years.

"Our model is very simple. Real places take time. I'm going to live here, and so are my kids. That's what it's going to take."

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