This self-sustaining private island in New York is on sale for $17.6 million

columbia island

This self-sustaining private island comes with space and serenity that is to die for

It’s not every day New Yorkers get to escape the ferocity of the city for a dose of fresh air. Sleepy locales, like the Catskills and Hudson Valley, have become increasingly popular choices for a second home. But if you’re a weekender set on something a little more original and ambitious, how about a private island, just 30 minutes from Manhattan’s shores?

Columbia Island, which is situated at the mouth of the Long Island Sound, has just hit the market for $17.6 million and comes complete with a luxe 523-sq-m home.

This elegant fortress is equipped with a state-of-the-art kitchen, four bedrooms, two bathrooms and, of course, epic views of New York’s skyline. Al Sutton, the island’s current owner, told Bloomberg the property might appeal to someone “who wants privacy but also high-profile bragging rights.”

As a bonus, the island and the dwelling are also completely self-sustaining. There are solar panels on the roof for energy; a desalination machine to provide clean water; a septic system which gets emptied by a private service; and a high-tech sprinkler system.

Moreover, the property can brave any storm, literally, with a 1.5-metre-thick concrete sea wall and automatic storm shutters. No small amenity in the post-Sandy era.

Sutton, who lives in Manhattan, says the “fast boat” is a 30-minute ride from the island to the East 34th Street heliport. No doubt that beats traffic-addled three-hour trek upstate on a Friday afternoon.

So, why is a man who spent $10.8 million and 11 years of his life developing this oasis giving it the flick? The complicated construction took its toll on Sutton, who is now in his 80s. “A simpler solution for my desire for a Zen retreat would have been to rent a rowboat from City Island for $13.50,” Sutton says.

The property is available for purchase through Patti Anderson at Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty. A second secluded retreat, the largely undeveloped neighbouring Pea Island, is also included in the $17.6 million price tag, in case one island hideaway is not enough.

Columbia Island