“Sustainability” can be a slippery term in the best of circumstances. Add “eco-resort” to that and you have a recipe for greenwash. Organic soap, low-flow shower heads, and encouraging guests to hang up their towels for one more use before washing is all well and good, but does not a truly sustainable eco-resort make. There are exceptions, of course, and one of the best examples I’ve seen is Monterey Bay Shores, a planned eco-resort located in Sand City, along the scenic Monterey Peninsula on California’s north-central coast. The seafaring, agricultural region made famous by John Steinbeck.
The project is the brainchild of developer Ed Ghandour and has been for him a sixteen-year journey. As with most journeys spanning such lengths of time, it has has presented significant challenges and setbacks, all of which, in the end, have helped bring to fruition what Ed hopes will be a new way of thinking about sustainable development for everyone involved, from government and business to environmentalists, local communities, and, indeed, the world.
Today marks the formal announcement of the project, currently set to break ground in March. If all goes according to plan, Monterey Bay Shores will be completed in late 2010 or early 2011 and consist of 105 hotel rooms, 63 hotel/condo units, and 85 residential units. But there’s a lot more to this story than the prospect of more hotel space on the Monterey peninsula. I recently met with Ed to discuss his journey, what he’s learned in the process, and how those lessons learned have shaped Ed’s vision, not only for Monterey Bay Shores, but for defining the very concept of sustainability.
“We are driving forward the nascent green development trade with a team of hand-picked sustainability experts that are pooling their knowledge to ensure every aspect of this project is environmentally profitable”, says Ghandour.Click to continue reading »