Shell island is different from most in that it is constructed not of Ferrocement but of sea shell like material known as seacrete.
Starting from the bottom each level was made out of wire as a frame and lowered into the ocean, the whole structure being supported by floats. As it formed it got heavier and larger floats had to be added. The process involves passing electricity through the wire frame, and it just forms, by creating deposits on the wire that grow so fast as to fill in the holes. Divers make regular inspections of progress and move the contact points for the electric contacts about so as to control the thickness of deposits in each area. They also add colored dies or add thin colored sand to get patterns into the shell.
Once the main structure has been grown its time to go and drill some holes and fit water out and air in points. Pumping air in and forcing the water out brought the entire island to the surface. Some other areas still had to be pumped out. The whole inside then had to be allowed to dry, and then interiors fitted.
The top could have been covered with earth and planted but we have decided not too, this island is a work of art, and we have non slip walk ways and seating areas, with statues also grown by the same process.
There are no homes on the surface, all are within the island itself, and we have a lot of shared facilities. The concentration being on quality, this is a very up market island, with many of the units being owned by extremely wealthy people who have a number of homes.
I live here, and look after island services and the needs of both residents and owners who make infrequent trips. I also own a number of the units which are let out at a rent related to the quality and status of this island.
Units have proved to be a fantastic investment for owners, the more they increase in price the more select they are and the more their value increases. Currently we have a list of people who would just love to get units should they come available.
So although compared with many of the spectacular and large islands, we are very small, and I do not have the ambition or drive of many, I believe we have an exciting island.
So how did I manage to get the funding together, well quite simply really, I marketed time shares in the units, with an option where I could buy them back at twice the price people paid for them. The time share sales funded the construction without any difficulty and I had about 20% of the units free at that point. These I started to sell as luxury units, at a high price but still with the option for me to buy them back at twice the amount later. The sale of these allowed me to buy out groups of timeshare people, and sell more units, by the time this had been done I owned 45% of the units. I then put the price up drastically to 5 times what it had been the day before and started selling some of my holdings, each one I sold I bought 2 more back at the option price. Before long I had either sold the units at the highest price or owned them. Many of the the ones I owned were let out and I sold some occasionally at even higher prices, should one come on the market at a price below the last one I sold I buy it, and sell another when I can at a higher price. The law of supply and demand plus pricing history and select owners and tenants has done the rest. Currently I have around 28% of the units, and I am holding at that point for the moment.
Of course this sounds far simpler than it was, each one bought back had to be upgraded, and extra luxuries added, the units now are far higher quality than the time share units were, although the basic structure is the same.
How much do the units rent out for, well if you need to ask you couldn't afford it, sorry.
Could you do the same today, I don't know, I had thought about developing a second island, but quite honestly I couldn't spend more money if I made it so why bother. On the other hand I am sure there will for many years be opportunities for those with the power to dream and to turn their dreams into a reality.
Copyright New Atlantis.