Calling all billionaires. Now is your chance to bid for a coral atoll ecosystem in one of the most pristine parts of the world. Widi Reserve is a coral atoll archipelago with more than 100 uninhabited tropical islands and is a true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sustainably develop and help conserve flourishing ecosystems.
Sotheby’s is leading the sale of Widi Reserve, which is being auctioned at no reserve, meaning there’s no minimum price and it will be sold regardless of price. Live bidding will occur at Sotheby’s New York as well as online at Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions. Bidding opens on December 8 and concludes on December 14, and bidders from anyone in the world can participate. Sotheby’s is also working in partnership with JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group.
“Simply put, the auction format is the most efficient way to quickly identify the most interested and most qualified buyers wherever they may be,” says Zachary Wright, the executive vice president of Asia Pacific at Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions. “The owner is staying involved in the project and can play an active role in the development as required. However, the Reserve rightly requires a major partner who can help execute the vision for it to become one of the world’s most sustainable, low footprint, and conscientious luxury travel destinations.”
However, this isn’t your typical private island purchase. Indonesian law doesn’t allow private ownership of islands, however shares in a business with development rights can be sold to anyone. PT Leadership islands Indonesia (LII), the development firm, has spent years master-planning, designing, and licensing this land to create a very environmentally sensitive, low-density luxury resort and residential development. They are working alongside world-renowned architect and hotel designer Bill Bensley, an American architect known for his luxury hotels throughout Southeast Asia—namely including Capella, Rosewood, Shinta Mani, JW Marriott, Four Seasons, Intercontinental, and many more.
The area is exceptionally special, as it’s one of the most intact coral atoll ecosystems in the world. In total, there’s over 93 miles of powdery, white-sand beaches, as well as thriving coral reefs and deep-sea, nutrient-rich waters. It’s more dire than ever to purposefully conserve the area while allowing people to enjoy this beautiful region of the world. In addition to the coral ecosystems, the islands are home to hundreds of rare, endangered species like blue whales, whale sharks, and over 600 documented species of marine mammals, fish, birds, insects, and lizards—surely with more to be discovered. Some atolls are home to shark pupping areas and nurseries for endangered marine species.
Whoever acquires the islands is constrained by the conservation laws already in place. The 780,000-acre area is a Marine Protected Area with 25,000 acres of rainforests, mangroves, lagoons, lakes, and beaches. The goal is to invite conservationists, guests, and future homeowners to enjoy the area and live in harmony with nature. It’s also free from major plastic pollution, deep-sea drilling, shipping lanes, and minimal poaching, meaning ocean cleanliness here is much better than other parts of the world. The region is ripe for diving, including deep-sea diving and free diving, local travel to nearby destinations in Southeast Asia, boating, and more.
“Any development activity undertaken will need to conform with codes and planning guidelines, as agreed with the Indonesian Government,” Wright says. “Activity will be closely monitored.”
There are limits on how much development can be done, and each structure must fit requirements of an eco-friendly resort or residence. The sustainable development capacity is 500 keys spread across 17 islands and the total number of potentially developable islands is 25. It must be as close to 100% natural and sustainable as possible. There will be a Widi Reserve Conservation Center with cutting-edge research programs, like tagging, tracking, and monitoring of critically endangered species. There are also potential plans to construct a 1,000-meter runway on one of the largest islands for easy access to and from nearby destinations like Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cairns, and Jakarta, among others.
“The Widi Reserve forms a key part of the government’s wider strategy to encourage marine-led sustainable tourism in the area,” he says. “As such, the current plans include at least 50 eco-resort keys, however there is huge scope and flexibility for other projects, including individual luxury hotels, private residential homes, or island estates.”
Potential buyers can also now book private virtual showings ahead of the auction.