James Island (Sotheby’s International Realty photo)

Billionaire enters deal with developer over James Island near Sidney

Article from Arizona-based developer indicates partnership with Craig McCaw

A new partnership involving billionaire Craig McCaw is apparently bringing an Arizona-based luxury developer toJames Island, a privately owned island off the Saanich Peninsula.

According to an article in a publication from developer Discovery Land Company, the company recently formed a partnership with McCaw, who bought the island in 1994 for $19 million.

Details on the partnership and development plans are sparse within the article — it’s unclear if McCaw is retaining ownership of the island, which is located near Sidney — but the story mentions plans to develop “fewer than 100 or so housing sites on two- to five-acre lots.”

Black Press Media has reached out to Discovery for comment.

The developer specializes in building private, luxury residential communities and resorts, according to the company’s website. The apparent James Island development would likely be one of the company’s smaller developments, the article states.

The island, which McCaw listed for sale for $75 million several years ago, was valued at close to $57 million as of early January of this year.

The 770-acre parcel is the second largest privately owned island in the region and, currently, features a 4,500-square-foot main house, six guest homes, a private airstrip and an 18-hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus.

McCaw purchased the island from a developer who was planning a subdivision of more than 300 houses, according to Discovery’s article. The island was, at one point, home to an explosives manufacturing company, and McCaw spent more than $5 million removing remnants left by the plant from the island.

The Tsawout First Nation launched a lawsuit last year against Canada and B.C., suing for the return of the island. The lawsuit alleges James Island was part of the 1852 treaty with then-Governor James Douglas.

READ ALSO: Tsawout First Nation sues for the return of James Island

READ ALSO: Here’s the one property among B.C.’s 10 priciest that’s not in Vancouver


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