Our latest Project of the Week investigates the most recent updates on Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio’s private island eco-resort in Belize near the world’s second largest barrier reef.

Upon its completion, the Blackadore Caye development is billed to be the greenest island resort ever built, and the world’s first ‘Restorative Island’ project designed with sustainable building techniques that restore and regenerate the surrounding ecosystem and reverse the effects of climate change.

Stalled schedule

However, there have been some project hold-ups since DiCaprio and business partner Jeff Gram bought the island in 2005 with this green intention.

The Belizean resort was first announced in 2015 with an opening slated for 2018, but this was then pushed back to 2020.

However, according to a contact involved in the project who spoke to TOPHOTELPROJECTS database researchers, covid lockdowns created a pause in construction. Last month, a further outreach from our analysts confirmed that the project is still under planning, and now has a completion window of Q4 2023.

Media reports have suggested that local protest groups stalled the development for fears that the development would do more harm than good in this delicate ecosystem. Blackadore Caye Development Group stressed that plans would only move forward if the property meets the most rigorous environmental and ecological standards.

Original intention

Blackadore Caye has been specified to feature 116 rooms, comprising 68 villas, 48 estate off-the-grid homes and a private clubhouse. Luxurious amenities will be centred on The Blackadore Village, which will comprise three world class restaurants, a spa and wellness centre, and the Deepak Chopra Center for Renewal and Anti-Aging.

The resort’s design is intended to restore and reinforce Blackadore Caye by replanting mangrove, replacing invasive species with native species, enhancing soil and habitat and creating additional armature for reef and fish breeding. Additionally, over half of the island has been set aside as a protected wildlife preserve. Plans also call for a research station on climate change and habitat impacts, leading restoration programs and more.

The island’s infrastructure has been designed under a unique conservation framework, developed by top biologists and ecologists who have studied ways to support and preserve the island’s habitat and biodiversity during construction. The development will be completely powered by renewable energy and designed to increase the biological health of species on the island and in the waters around it.

US-based developer Chris Allen + Associates is partnering with compatriot architects McClennan Design and Coates Design Architects on the project, while New York-headquartered Restorative Hospitality is the management company. Several further businesses are also consulting on the development: Clevenger Associates from Washington state, plus Canada’s Integral Group and Associated Engineering.

Many TOPHOTELNEWS articles draw on exclusive information from the TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database. This subscription-based product includes details of thousands of hotel projects around the world, along with the key decision-makers behind them. Please note, our data may differ from records held by other organisations. Generally, the database focuses on four- and five-star schemes of significant scale; tracks projects in either the vision, pre-planning, planning, under-construction, pre-opening or newly opened phase; and covers newbuilds, extensions, refurbishments and conversions.

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