Leonardo DiCaprio to Build Eco-Resort on Belize Island

DiCaprio is taking on a new trailblazing role, this time as an hotelier. Last Friday, the Oscar-nominated actor announced intentions to develop a 104-acre private island off the coast of Belize.

In a report from the New York Times, DiCaprio and his partner revealed plans to transform Blackadore Caye into a luxury eco-resort to open in 2018. In partnership with Delos, the real estate pioneer in healthy indoor living, they will construct 68 resort villas and 48 private houses. Initial renderings show an arc-shaped string of separate villas on a platform over the water, as well as artificial reefs with fish shelters underneath.

Some properties are expected to be sold privately, and cost between $5-15 million each, while others will be available to guests. To reach the island, visitors would take a 15-minute boat ride from San Pedro, a vacation spot in Belize. Stays at nearby luxury resorts cost around $2,000 per night.

Nearly 10 years ago, the movie star purchased the island for $1.75 million with Jeff Gram, the owner of Cayo Espanto Island Resort, another private island property. The project is Dicaprio’s latest crusade of environmental activism. He also intends to rehabilitate the island which has suffered from over-fishing, deforestation and an eroding coastline. Blackadore Caye is the first resort to follow guidelines under the Living Building Challenge, a rigorous sustainability standard for building projects.

Plans to restore the area’s ecosystem include a nursery that will grow indigenous marine grass for manatee conservation. Mangrove trees will also be replanted in place of an invasive species. The resort’s impact on the island’s environment will be closely monitored by a team of scientists, engineers and landscape architects.