Even today, as we motor along the coast, two celebrities are being wined and dined at the Bakers Bay Club's north end; a luxury tent community in place to woo during initial construction phases. At night, the sales crews take them by golf cart to the island's settlement. "Things went crazy last night when Lance Armstrong was at Nippers," explains a witness. "His Bakers Bay entourage grabbed at his shorts while he went tabletop."
Kate Hudson is here too. Getting names like this is big-time for Bakers Bay. Signing up celebrities means sales. In the world of gated golf developments for the mega-rich, a star is like a good book review. And Meldman wants good book reviews. The website for one of his developments advertises this, "from unsolicited, free car washes while they're out on the course, to sliced tenderloin at the 10th tee box, Meldman makes certain his customers have everything they could possibly want...need a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs? No problem..."
Meldman grew up in Arizona during the same era that the gated McMansion community was popularized in the state. I read that Mike's favorite executive jet is a Dassault Falcon 2000 and his favorite car is a Bentley GT Continental. He likes the BMW X5 and his favorite wristwatch is a Rolex Submariner. His favorite actress is Angelina Jolie and his hunting rifle of choice? A Tikka T3 30-06. Mike's favorite pet is his chocolate lab, "Shadow."
Mike explains his development philosophy in Executive Golfer Magazine, "There are several ideologies that we strictly adhere to when making a determination of whether or not to invest in and develop a property...we pursue projects with minimal entitlement risk...we try to avoid protracted zoning and approval processes that make it difficult to predict when you will be able to bring your product to market...we are able to move swiftly and are able to judge market conditions on that day...Typically, we are grading or under construction within a very short time period after purchasing a property."
This explains a conversation in Marsh Harbour between a Bakers Bay construction manager and a contractor: If it takes us less than 10 years, we get filthy rich. If it takes us 10 years, we break even. If it takes us more than 10 years, we lose money.
And so, in an island environment where things sometimes happen at their own pace, the Bakers Bay Club executives appear entranced by a single motivating factor - speed, and lots of it. Speed is money. If anything gets in the way, make sure it gets eliminated.
Our small boat floats north to Joe's Creek. As the main mangrove channel of Great Guana Cay, Joe's Creek is the island's estuary. Tiny adolescent sharks and barracuda breed here. Hundreds of species of coral reef fishes and marine invertebrates begin their lives in the safety of the tangled mangal net. Bonefish also breed here.