Development

Are ‘Crystal Lagoons’ headed to Charlotte?

Rendering of the planned SoleMia Crystal Lagoons in partnership with LeFrak and Turnberry. The 10-acre lagoons are part of the $4 billion North Miami project.
Rendering of the planned SoleMia Crystal Lagoons in partnership with LeFrak and Turnberry. The 10-acre lagoons are part of the $4 billion North Miami project.

They aren’t making new land, as the old adage goes, but there is a company out there that’s seeking to make new waterfront land.

Uri Man, CEO of Miami-based Crystal Lagoons US, was in Charlotte last week drumming up business for the company. He said he’s got one deal under negotiation in Charlotte and one in Asheville, which could be signed and announced in the coming months.

So, what exactly is a “crystal lagoon?” It’s a water feature, basically, that uses proprietary ultrasonic and “disinfection pulse” technology to purify water with lower chemical and energy costs. The water, typically several acres, is clear and blue, providing a centerpiece for waterfront dining, an amenity aimed at for-sale and rental housing, and a venue for recreation. The artificial bodies of water come with white-sand beaches and docks for small boats, if desired.

The privately held company has announced 11 projects in the U.S., where it is making inroads after starting 300 projects worldwide. The largest will be a 90-acre project in Dubai, which is under construction.

“Our lagoons provide real estate developments with substantial quantifiable benefits such as increases in pricing, sales velocity, higher rents and in many cases the lagoons are being used to transform otherwise non-viable development sites into viable development sites,” said Man.

Part of the company’s pitch is that its lagoons are cheaper, easier to maintain and more eco-friendly than golf courses, which used to be a major draw to build new communities around. A crystal lagoon costs between $200,000 and $250,000 per acre to build and $2,000 to $2,500 each month to maintain, per acre.

So, what do you think? Would you like to see this sort of amenity replace golf courses in master-planned communities?

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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