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Land was on sale for next to nothing, and we decided yes it was worth owning some. Twenty years later our 17 acres are worth about US$20 million, but alas we don't own it anymore. We did a small sub-division and sold off 30 half-acre lots to our friends and their friends. We built a nice wooden clubhouse with a clay-colored tile roof in what is now a widely copied ASEAN style. And we set up Railei Beach Club
Chang Tai and his band of carpenters built the clubhouse and the first houses there and, being from Thailand’s dry Isan region, they ate any monitor lizards they could find. But after they left, the wildlife came back and flourished. Gibbons, macaque, and langur (or leaf) monkeys, sun bear, and over 100 species of birds thrived in a low density tourist development where the little village kids no longer shot at them with sling shots. The birds and animals are all still there and prove to me that eco-tourism can indeed help protect a natural environment.
Many things were learned from this epic project.
Control the clearing. When clearing the land of scrub, watch the workers every minute
Low density doesn’t pay .Low density doesn’t pay but do it. If you want to maximize revenue from a beautiful piece of land, build as much as you can on it. BUT If you want the maximize all the good things in life – like trees, wildlife, and the luxury of open space, keep the density low. Half-acre lot provide privacy and preserve the surrounding nature. And don’t allow the houses to take up anymore than 18% or less of that half-acre or some people will replace nature with bricks and mortar, a poor trade.
If you find something beautiful, hold on.It’s not just the $20 million we lost by developing this gem of a property, it’s also the chance to do your own creative thing to carefully preserve, enhance, and share it with others.