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Old 06-05-2012, 04:48 AM   #1
y'all better put some respeck on my name
 
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Reclusive billionaire selling ‘enchanted island’ in B.C. for $75M

Pretty darn nice but would someone spend $75 million on this island or an island somewhere hot.









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After 18 years of transforming B.C.’s James Island from an abandoned industrial town into a star-studded island retreat, reclusive U.S. telecom billionaire Craig McCaw has put the property back on the real estate market for $75-million.

Although the island is easily spotted from nearby Sidney, B.C., there are few locals who know the goings-on of the 342-hectare property, which is equipped with a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, a fake western village and a fleet of themed electric cars — all shielded from public view by a tight security detail.

A Post reporter visiting the island in 2006 was greeted at the dock by an island keeper driving a white Hummer equipped with a steel cage containing a German shepherd trained to sniff out invaders.

“Security hasn’t been a problem in recent years — this fellow is fairly good at what he does,” said Mark Lester with Sotheby’s International Realty, who is overseeing the sale.

Mr. McCaw made his fortune as CEO of McCaw Cellular Communications, a U.S. cell phone pioneer, and is among a generation of billionaire Washington State tech giants, a group that also includes Amazon founder Jeffrey Bezos and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Intensely private, Mr. McCaw has packed the island’s six guest cottages with a steady stream of VIPs, including music producers Quincy Jones and David Foster and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. In 1999, at the height of his wealth, Mr. McCaw celebrated his 50th birthday by shipping in set designers, vintage cars and even a high school band to complete a nostalgic reconstruction of his Centralia, Washington hometown.

“Obviously, when you’ve got an island like this, anybody that the current owners have invited to the island are like ‘wow,’” said Mr. Lester. “There’s a reason they call it an enchanted island.”

By 1994, when Mr. McCaw purchased the property for $26-million, it was in disarray after a failed plan to transform it into a high-end retreat anchored by a golf course. “This was once an awful place … nothing but a bunch of contaminated soil and about 1,200 miserable-looking deer that had eaten just about every bit of grass there was.” a staff member told the Post in 2006.

The billionaire appointed a staff and set to work moulding it into a model of environmentally friendly development. Gas engines and pesticides were virtually banned from the property (even the Hummer was on its way out), invasive species were ripped out and one-fifth of the island was permanently shielded from development by land covenants. To address the herds of emaciated deer, Mr. McCaw eschewed an island-wide cull in favour of birth-control shots.

In addition, Mr. McCaw’s company spent millions to clean up a toxic landscape left over from the James Island’s days as a far-flung munitions hub for the British Empire.

Located well outside the range of German U-boats and saboteurs, factories on the tiny Pacific island produced as much as one twelfth of all Commonwealth bombs set off in WWI. At its height, the CIL-owned facility — and accompanying company town — hosted a community of 800 people packed into company town complete with a schoolhouse, a honeymoon cottage for newlyweds and even its own Chinatown, all nestled amid towering Douglas Firs. Of course, residents had to eschew guns and fires lest a stray spark or bullet accidentally obliterated their explosive, if picturesque island home.

After the plant was closed in 1978, all the town’s salvageable homes were barged away to neighbouring communities, where many of them still stand.

The plant’s warehouse, now dubbed the Powder Wharf, is the only surviving relic of the island’s industrial past. “It’s now a complete entertainment centre; there’s a pool table, there’s shuffleboard, old arcade games, a bar and a prep kitchen,” said Mr. Lester.

On the island’s south end is a “western village” made to look extra-authentic by being constructed entirely from reclaimed Oregon cedar. A general store at the centre of the village offering racks of rain coats, gumboots and other West Coast necessities for guests. “Everything’s free, of course,” said Mr. Lester.

A rustic-looking barn stands near the island’s grass airstrip. Although the island was briefly settled by Scottish farmers in 1874, the barn itself was purchased on Quadra Island — more than 200 kilometres to the north — and transported in pieces to its current site. A 5,000 square foot cedar house, its roof covered in sod, comprises the main residence.

Mr. McCaw last put James Island up for sale in 2001 in an effort to ratchet back costs after he saw his fortune drop from $7.7-billion to $2.7-billion due to the collapse of the Dot Com bubble. “He’s selling it because he hasn’t been there in over a year and a half … he wasn’t using it,” Bob Ratliffe, vice president of McCaw’s Eagle Ridge Investments, told Postmedia in 2001. Originally listed for more than $70-million, the price had dropped to $49-million by 2003, before the sale was scrapped altogether.

Since 1995, James Island has been the focus of a land claim by the Tsawout First Nation, who held a permanent settlement on the island until they were pushed out in the early 1900s to make way for the munitions plant. “It was the understanding of our leadership of the day that upon dissolution of the factory, we would have the island reinstated to us,” Tsawout spokesman Floyd Underwood said in 2001.

Last November, the Tsawout had already announced plans to file their second claim on the island. “We’ve got a lot of history there,” said Eric Pelkey, the Tsawout’s senior treaty officer, saying that the island was the site of pitched battles with Haida raiders from the North and remains the site of an unmarked Tsawout cemetery.

“We’d really prefer to have it returned to us; it was our island,” said Mr. Pelkey.

This time around, Mr. McCaw told the Wall Street Journal in an email that his family “adores being on the island.” All he provided by way of explanation for the sale was that it was spurred by “a perfect storm of kids’ activities and no one wants to be left behind.”

Reclusive billionaire Craig McCaw selling
National Post.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:21 AM   #2
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Same guy just paid $35 million for a 250 GTO

This $35 Million Ferrari Is The Most Expensive Car Ever
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:37 AM   #3
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I want this so bad. Having your own island being so close to home, a dream come true.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:40 AM   #4
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RS group buy? lol
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:43 AM   #5
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I'd say relatively 75 mill is a decent price considering a few good friends of ours have places on savary island that are just over 1 acre and have been appraised at over a million
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:36 AM   #6
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if i had $75M to blow, i'll spend a lil more and get something in the carribeans

see necker island, now thats paradise
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:57 AM   #7
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I would have that perimeter road paved to perfection and the people playing golf would have to deal with the sound of me racing around it at any point during the day.

That is paradise.

Berz out.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:19 AM   #8
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A wealthy person could buy an island in an area with better weather than McCaw's place at a lower price.

$28 million for the island Bird Cay in the Bahamas. -better weather, modern amenities, and great beaches. -perfect place for parties:



10 of the Most Expensive Private Islands in the World
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:53 AM   #9
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I would not like to purchase the possibility of a land claim....

I would take an island here, instead of the Caribbean. One good hurricane and you're done.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:17 AM   #10
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John McCaw's (former canucks owner) brother... cool.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:51 AM   #11
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$35 million – Hog Cay, Bahamas



"Hog Cay is another island for sale in the Bahamas (they have a lot of island there). For your money here, you’ll get 681 of lush, tropical paradise with a two storey main building with incredible sea views. The island also comes with its own 2,500 foot airstrip, for when you need to travel by one of your private jets, of which you’ll no doubt have several."
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:54 AM   #12
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Better to use that money on a tropical island .....
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:25 PM   #13
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what happens when pirates comes and robs your house
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:22 PM   #14
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problem with the bc island is if the first nations succeed in their land claim, you're out a $75mil island
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haha i can taste the cum in my mouth
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Old 06-05-2012, 03:18 PM   #15
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"Ok...you can have the island back, buuuut I'd like to be compensated for the improvements made. The house is worth 25 mil, the airstrip 10, the golf course 30 and the grounds and such make up the remaining 10 million. Peace!"
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Old 06-05-2012, 03:43 PM   #16
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75mil is reasonable when you consider Shaunessey homes can go for $22mil.

I wonder what the monthly money burn rate is? $200K a month? I am sure food is stocked, grounds are manicured perfectly, top end staff....
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Old 06-05-2012, 03:58 PM   #17
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what happens when pirates comes and robs your house
You're fucked.

If you can afford an island you can afford to hire your own security team.
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Old 06-05-2012, 03:58 PM   #18
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problem with the bc island is if the first nations succeed in their land claim, you're out a $75mil island
if that were to happen, like Gridlock said i'd have 10 excavators digging up everything on the island and leaving nothing but holes to fill

that or i'd just buy tanks to line the perimeter of the island
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Old 06-05-2012, 04:00 PM   #19
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If they made claim to the land, I would think the government would have to purchase the land from the seller before giving it back to first nations.
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Old 06-05-2012, 04:29 PM   #20
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i guess housing isnt the only thing in bc where you pay twice as much for two times less plus bad weather...looking at that list of top islands for sale almost all are cheaper and better than this 75 mil one, location-wise
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Old 06-05-2012, 05:59 PM   #21
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ultimate zombie apocalypse safe house..?
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:11 PM   #22
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Perfect spot for a real-life Harpers Island.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:33 PM   #23
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COLD DEAL!
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:39 PM   #24
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I would sell my left nut for that island, no questions asked
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