Homeowners used to be able to rely on some real estate truisms that have been around forever. One of them was Mark Twain’s, “Buy land; they’re not making it anymore.” Another came from homespun humorist Will Rogers: “I been buying ocean frontage because they aren’t making any more of it!” You might think the old sayings would be around for a while longer, but last week there were two pieces of news that could put that in doubt.
On Friday, came the CNBC report: a pilot program creating communities that are “off the grid and on the ocean.” It’s called “The Floating Island Project.” Its promoters envision a future with hundreds of new countries that float on the ocean. With 18 islands belonging to our town, Greenwich residents might dream of becoming “seasteaders” right here in our backyard– but the first project will be a bit further away, according to seastanding.org.
This island is slated to consist of twelve buoyant platforms floated in a French Polynesian lagoon. The 35’ wide country will support homes, shops, community spaces, a number of tech startup business ventures—and its own government. But Greenwich residents aiming to escape terra-bound property taxes would be wise to exercise caution, since the costs of construction seem to be in the optimistic stage, at “up to $50 million.” As CNBC says, the details are “in the works.”
The second, less amusing exception to the Twain/Rogers truism is currently making headlines that are more prominent and a lot scarier. The land mass of Big Island Hawaii is demonstrating the millions-of-years-old volcanic process of gradually creating a new island. The newbie is named Loihi (“long” in Hawaiian). Mark Twain’s observation about not making more real estate didn’t specify a timeline, but it should remain apt for the near term. Loihi won’t break the ocean’s surface for about 50,000 years.
Fortunately, the reality for Greenwich residents who are readying a residential move of their own can count on being able to list and sell a good deal more rapidly. Meanwhile, we can dream about falling asleep with water on all sides of us some day.