The Story of Mahogany Bay Village
This is the story of what happens when two equally passionate yet diversely accomplished people – one a born educator – the other an entrepreneur – together set out with a bold ambition – to help people live better lives – really – seriously.
We know in this day and age that’s unusual – in the age of real time updates about what your friends are eating (really?!?); self centered endeavors and divisive politics – why – WHY – WHY – would people do that?
Welllllll, that’s an easy question to answer – you see when you’ve been there and done that for 30+ years in your career, have a legacy of good works behind you – and you get to that 50ish age where you get to choose if you want to do another ‘deal’ or make a difference – you look at the calendar and know that time is running out – so why not go big? go bold? Why not?
So with the enthusiastic encouragement and support from collegial relationships built over decades – Robert and Beth went out and found a place upon which to leave their imprint – built a team of likeminded, brilliant, creative, passionate, fun people with unquantifiable gifting – with the vision to build a community with an ethos committed to that bold ambition…because in the end if you’re going to work this hard…you should make a difference- right? RIGHT!
Leverage what you know…then fill in the holes
Robert, what can you say about Robert? It would take volumes to tell the whole story (in fact a book has been written ‘Equity Happens’) – a natural front of the room guy, born teacher (not a lecturer), real estate market forecaster, #1 podcaster (Real Estate Guys Radio), Eagle scout, husband/father, quick wit with an even temper – who’s introduced people to over $3b in real estate opportunities and seen them succeed, that’s Robert. He’s seen every type of transaction, in most every type of market – both in the world and within the complex context of economic cycles…yet through this kaleidoscope he’s able to navigate to where the puck is going (thank you Wayne Gretsky!) and shares that information with others. WHAT??? Yes, you read that right, he shares that information ([email protected] (#*$(@???). WHY??? Because Robert’s core being is ‘education for effective action’. He wakes up thinking about it…spends all day creating and curating information to share with others and isn’t satisfied until more people are able to serve their friends, families and communities by making educated and well timed investments into the one hard asset class that has made more millionaires than any other in the world.
Less interested in his return than the investors, he’s the eternal standard bearer for fighting for the little guy, the hard working gal that wants to learn, earn and build a passive income portfolio so they can realize their life purpose…pretty nice huh?
Now Beth on the other hand is a bird of a different feather…no books have been written…nope, she leaves a trail of buildings and innovations behind her – 2014 home of the year in Washington DC? Check. Build a $3b (that’s b as in Billion) semiconductor facility in 13 months? Yup. How about Genetech’s Advanced Biopharma Facility? Of course. Create the team that built the first Artificial Intelligence credit scoring system (today you know it as FICO) in the early 80’s (big hair/shoulder pads on Wall Street, remember??). Ok, that too. Where others see a problem, Beth sees an opportunity to invent/optimize and change the world around her. Built from old Yankee stock (pre Mayflower!), careers in both technology and real estate development, she’s a team builder/leader, enthusiastic optimist with a heavy dose of realism cultivated during her New York tenure, wife/mother/grandmother and avid knitter – every day is spent learning, experimenting, and failing forward…all towards finding the perfect intersection of design, economy, and utility.
Her core??? ‘doing what’s right, right’ – making a statement with real life choices, people over obscene profits – she driven to find the next healthy step in everyone’s life and to facilitate and encourage…that’s pretty nice too, right?
Ok, so that’s the two founders…a market guy – a building gal…soooo, if he will find it will she will build it?
It’s all about the . . . market, period
At the turn of the century, after together developing in 9 different markets in the US product directed at retail, multifamily, residential and office uses…Robert believed there was an emerging market on the horizon – a market defined by changing demographics and economics – a market made up of baby boomers, life rebooters, adventure seekers and memory making families that were looking to do life a bit different. A place where they could find a home for their hard earned capital and invest in a place that would return economically, pay dividends on their personal and family lifestyle and satisfy their desire for social contribution and adventure, even a place to start a new business.
This place ideally needed to be within the US timezones, less than 6 hours by plane from 50% of the population of the US, have a secure social/political climate, English speaking (preferred), inviting to foreigners, beautiful, be a net exporter of food products and natural resources and offer a financial and tax advantage for US citizens. Two years and thousands and thousands of air miles were expended to complete field due diligence trips, finally Robert closed in on Belize, turning aside Mexico and other Central American and Caribbean countries. As Robert reported, ‘when I got off the plane in Belize, I felt more at home than I do when I get off the plane in Miami…I was welcomed with open arms, people were happy to see me, wanted to help me and share their culture with me…and were interested in me – what made me tick – I’d found a country I could partner with.’
Market analysis showed that tourism was the prominent economic sector (with 70% going to Ambergris Caye) and growing by double digits annually, the product and market were emerging, hotel room rates were high as it catered to the adventure traveler and not the bargain tourist, land was scarce but available if you looked hard enough and there was a small but highly skilled craftsman construction force available.
Robert put his The Next Next investment pin on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize.
That was 13 years ago and since that time, the streets have been paved, a bridge connects the two portions of the Caye (replacing the rope ferry), the first cappuccino machine has arrived in the country, new airlines including Southwest and Copa service the country, hotel product has been developed (most before the crash of ’08) yet none larger than 70 rooms and no international standards or brands…oh, and by the way, the world found out about Ambergris Caye as it was voted Island of the Year in both 2013 and 2014.
Who are we . . . the vision is created
Understand the opportunity – define the personality – then define the product…that was the next step for the team and the personality became clear – New Heart of the Caribbean; then the product – Basecamp for Belize Adventure. Let’s unpack each of these…
New Heart of the Caribbean… well obviously we’re new and in the Caribbean; but so is Belize (it gained independence in ’81, it’s new, being discovered and as it does it’s developing who it is). But it means more…it’s about Heart, giving back to all who encounter/engage with Mahogany Bay, it’s the ethos, the culture we create as we do our life work – [remember We Help People Live Better Lives!] we’re the New (see things different), the Heart (give back), within this new, emerging market in the Caribbean, Belize – more on this in a moment.
Basecamp for Belize Adventure defines product we deliver to our traveler guest…we believed from the start that the Next Next in hospitality would be authentic, experience travel – where the guest and locals mingle, exchange ideas – where the traveler yearns for memories, life changing and challenging experiences that enrich their lives, a belief that informs our every decision on creating the project and affirmed by Bill Marriott in 2015 when he proclaimed his model of standardized experience dead and experience travel the future. We’re all tired of the big box, faux experiences and digital encounters – give me something raw, real, thought provoking and surprising.
Basecamp means providing easy access to have Belize YOUR way, snorkel, fish, beach comb, eat local, drink rum, Maya ruin, zip line, swim, dance, drum, laugh, cry, pet the local dogs, make a papusa, bird watch, croc hunt, river kayak, waterfall swim, dive down 150’ in a blue hole…on and on and on…oh and don’t forget to eat the street meat, its fabulous…oh and offer the kids a ride on your golf cart to school (how many can you fit…my record is 10 so far)…kick a soccer ball – life in Belize is to be lived and shared.
The project is centrally located with easy access to everything you want and is designed to let you live as much like a native as you want (or you can turn on the A/C), your choice…but you’ll still be surrounded with hand crafted mahogany and hardwoods sustainably harvested and lovingly built by craftspeople that yearn to share their talents and country with you.
What if . . .
We like to think of things in the context of a triangle, with stakeholders on each side: Guests, Team and Owners, then ask the questions, What if we built a world class international 4-star resort that guests gave 10-star happiness ratings to and referred to their friends and couldn’t wait to come back to? What if we built the team and catalyzed the creation of 50 new Belize companies that would serve the project and the community and build skills, jobs and families? What if our owners had the flexibility to annually adjust their stay at Mahogany Bay based on their lifestyle?
We see that success in all three areas are mutually required and create a symbiotic relationship that yields returns for the individual, the family, the community and the country, that’s good right?
So what does that mean? It means for the Owner, years of knowledge on the ground and building sustainable companies with over 200+ employees and 180+ local vendors and deep relationships with all government agencies – allows us to build a product at a quality and value unmet by others in our market. It means bringing the first world class hotel operator to Belize to deliver a guest experience that exceeds expectations therefore richly deserving the price for accommodations. It means investing and building the largest home building company, furniture company, and fixture company in Belize that services not only Mahogany Bay but other major developers in Belize and now exports to other Caribbean countries and the US, that means sustainable businesses with long term employment and career growth opportunities in a new sector (value added manufacturing) that has never been done in Belize before.
Taken together, a right priced product with an above market hotel revenue and the flexibility to adjust the amount of personal use per year from 0 to 100 percent, allows the owner to right size their ownership for their ever changing lifestyle and make a ownership choice that endures…and grows as Belize matures.
The opportunity awaits, we’re excited to share our story and look forward to the future chapters.