Q: What links Spain with New York’s Mohawk River Valley, 240km-long, beginning just west of the state capital, Albany? A: They have both seen a sudden rush in eco-developments.
Safflyn Corporation is planning a $53m housing project with 100 solar and wind-powered homes surrounded by athletics fields, walking trails, a golf course and driving range.
Manhattan-based Caledonia Advisors picked urban Utica on the Upper Mohawk, 370km north-west of New York City.
It spent just over $500,000 in 2007 for an entire city apartment block that includes the 100,000 sq ft, 19th century Doyle Hardware Building in Utica’s historic Bagg Square. This state and national landmark building, long a cherished haven for hardware fanatics, faces the city’s 1914 beaux art-style Union Train Station. New York City residents would have a four hours and 20 minute train journey, changing at Albany, before walking across the street to their loft apartments.
Like Safflyn, it predicts interest from buyers in the second-home market and among internet-linked home/office workers.
SPAIN’S property market has suffered the same fate as the US in the past 12 months. But, amid the downturn, there are the green shoots of a new trend towards eco-resorts — a far cry from the high-rise concrete apartment blocks of the Costas.
Spain is the perfect environment for eco-resorts. It has abundant sunshine, a good sea breeze in many places, a relatively fragile environment and water shortages are a constant worry.
One eco-resort under way is Gran Monovar Ecociudad , 30 minutes’ drive inland or 45 minutes by train from Alicante on the Costa Blanca. Sustainability and building a community where eco-homes and environmental principles are at the forefront of a development where apartments start from 110,000 Euros.
Eco-features of the community include solar thermal panels to provide energy for hot water, and grey water (non-sewage) recycling, airflow taps and rainwater capture to ensure water conservation is a priority. Composting and recycling facilities will minimise waste, and timber is from sustainable sources.
Another is Las Torrentas, a sustainable development of 149 houses near Calasparra in north west Murcia , approximately an hour’s drive from the coast. The community is being constructed with an avowed aim to minimise CO2 emissions. House types range in size from 186 to 232 sq m, excluding pools and gardens, which are standard. Prices start from 240,000 Euros .
Also in the region is Nova Polop, located at Polop, three miles from the Mediterranean on the north Costa Blanca . A community of about 2,000 contemporary homes, 67 are being released for sale in the first phase. Prices start from pounds 142,282, excluding VAT at 7 per cent, for a two-bedroom apartment.
Eco-features include highly insulated properties with thick walls that keep the interiors cooler than the outside temperature, and solar thermal panels for water heating. Energy back-up will largely be from solar and wind via Spain’s major renewable energy supplier, Iberdrola.
Rainwater will be harvested for irrigation, grey water recycled, and low-flow taps and reduced-flush toilets fitted as standard.
Gran Monovar Ecociudad 020 8133 5546; www.ecociudad.co.uk
Las Torrentas 0800 38 98 199 ; www.lastorrentas.com
Nova Polop 020 7224 2202; www.blauverd-habitat.com
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