One company’s innovative technology overturns the real estate mantra of “location, location, location,” allowing developers to transform unexpected sites into desirable destinations by creating massive, crystal-clear lagoons.
By Sarah Binder
Las Vegas’ top hotels are known for their see-and-be-seen pool scenes, complete with buzzy DJs, trendy mixologists, and the occasional celebrity, all centered on a luxurious pool. Enjoying more active pursuits such as kayaking and windsurfing is out of the question—after all, this is the desert, not the Caribbean. Until now. Wynn Resorts recently announced it will add a 38-acre Crystal Lagoon to its resort in Las Vegas, bringing water sports and sandy beaches to the strip.
Crystal Lagoons was conceived when founder and chairman Fernando Fischmann developed a property on the coast of Chile where the ocean’s cold temperatures and strong currents were too dangerous for recreational use. To solve this problem, Fischmann dreamed of building a large, crystal-clear lagoon that would provide a safe place for people to swim and practice water sports.
“The technology did not exist, so Fischmann opened a laboratory and invented a new way to clean water, which became the Crystal Lagoons technology,” says Uri Man, U.S. CEO. “He is a true visionary, changing the paradigm of real estate development by enabling developers to create their own destinations.”
How is the company able to provide Caribbean-blue waters to locations such as Texas, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates? A proprietary liner system boasting special UV characteristics allows the crystal-clear water to appear vivid turquoise with the reflection of the sky. The environmentally sustainable technology allows almost any type of water — including fresh, well, brackish, and salt water — to express the company’s famous blue color.
Through disinfection pulses and an ultrasonic filtration system, the lagoons use up to 100 times less chemicals than swimming pools and 50 times less energy than conventional filtration systems. “Our internet platform monitors, controls and operates the lagoons from a central location, including all the hydraulic, biochemical, and mechanical systems,” Man explains.
Man’s extensive background in real estate development allows him to better understand the challenges developers face and how they can leverage the Crystal Lagoons amenity to increase measurable value. “Our lagoons provide developments with substantial quantifiable benefits, such as increases in property and rent pricing, and sales velocity,” he says.
Beyond their striking aesthetics and potential return-on-investment, Crystal Lagoons allow nearby residents to lead more active lifestyles by making beach life and water sports accessible to any location in the world that has a water source. People of all ages can enjoy swimming, paddle boarding, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and more. Man adds that the company is sharing its technology with several cities, counties, and state parks to bring lagoons to the general public and create thousands of jobs. “Public lagoons can completely transform the lifestyle of the general public, while improving surrounding property values and enhancing tourism,” he says.
In addition to its contributions to local communities, Crystal Lagoons is helping to address the worldwide potable water crisis by continuing to introduce innovative solutions. The company recently has partnered with the Fraunhofer Institute of Germany to build the first desalination plant that uses no energy.
“Anywhere in the world there exists a thermo-electrical power plant and access to salt water, free fresh water can be produced by connecting the power plant to a Crystal Lagoon. We use the plant’s heat to push our clear, clean water through a membrane,” explains Man. “Our goal is to have a huge impact on worldwide humanity.”
Crystal Lagoons’ Buzz:
• 300 lagoons completed to date in 60 countries
• 13 projects announced and 40-plus in negotiations (in the U.S.)
• The Las Vegas lagoon will be larger
than 40 football fields
• The company has received several ‘Green Fast-Track’ patents from the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
• A 10-acre lagoon uses 30 times less water than a typical 18-hole golf course and 50 percent less water than a park of the same size.
• Crystal Lagoons typically cost $200,000 to $250,000 per acre to build, with maintenance costs of $2,000 to $2,500 per month per acre.
• Innovation Award from Governor Rick Scott of Florida
• Keys to the City of Miami
• Best New Business Award from the Miami Chamber of Commerce
• National Environmental Award of Chile
North Miami * Florida
SoLē Mia Miami, a 183-acre master-planned community on one of the largest remaining undeveloped parcels in South Florida east of Biscayne Boulevard, will feature an approximately
10-acre lagoon, with a second possible in the future.
St. Johns County * Florida
A 14-acre Crystal Lagoon will be built as an amenity of Twin Creeks, a master-planned community between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. Twin Creeks will feature an upscale single-family home community with private beaches.
Sharm El Sheikh * Egypt
At 30 acres, the Crystal Lagoon at Citystars Sharm El Sheikh is the current Guinness World Record holder for largest man-made lagoon in the world. It’s also Crystal Lagoons’ first mixed-use project where the company’s technology will be used for both recreational and water desalination purposes.
Dubai * United Arab Emirates
Dubai’s luxury residential project, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City – District One, will feature the largest lagoon in the world upon its completion – 90 acres in total.