Farhad Vladi Opens Island Brokerage in SF’s Jackson Square

You can now buy a private island anywhere in the world from a brokerage office in San Francisco. It even sells yachts, helicopters and floating villas needed to enjoy the offshore lifestyle.

Broker Farhad Vladi has opened Private Islands Worldwide to help affluent island hoppers buy or rent coral-laced atolls in Polynesia or conifer-covered isles in the Maritimes from a showroom at 724 Battery Street in Jackson Square, the San Francisco Standard reported.

The German native, who has Vladi Private Islands offices based in Germany, Canada and New Zealand, offers up a range of watercraft and other island essentials.

His Vladi Private Islands and Germany-based shipbuilder Meyer Floating Solutions are each brokering the rare island real estate and their accouterments.

Prices range from a 225-acre Katafanga Island, also known as Blue Lagoon, in eastern Fiji for $17 million to a 30-acre Little La Mouna Island in Nova Scotia’s Ponhook Lake for $250,000. 

The showroom, once home to a real estate agent selling luxury residences on Yerba Buena Island, is large but low-key, according to the Standard.

Inside are sepia maps from the Age of Exploration, models of yachts and framed aerial photographs of pristine reefs and cays.

A wall-mounted mission statement promises “peace, privacy & perfection.”

“The emotional links to islands are very strong,” Vladi told the newspaper. “The difficulty in the island business is to get islands on the market, because whoever has an island doesn’t want to give it away again.” 

Lars Kruse, Meyer’s head of sales and design, said that to get there in style might require a superyacht of at least 80 meters, or 250 feet. A Meyer vessel can go up 305 meters or more, and no two are alike. 

“If you’re talking about a 150-meter yacht, it starts at something around $370 million,” Kruse told the Standard. “But that’s, let’s say, a starting price.”

The “floating villas,” a Meyer specialty, are manufactured in Turku, Finland. Such villas, as tall as six decks on a cruise ship, can range from 1,400 square meters to 10,000 square meters, or five times the size of the largest San Francisco mansions

Whether positioned just off Dubai as rental properties or towed to an uninhabited oasis in the South Pacific, floating villas are typically built as modular companions for superyachts. The docking procedure is seamless, Kruse said. The price of such ostentation was not disclosed.

Kruse would not reveal any clients by name or nationality beyond the most general geographic terms. “There is a certain market in Europe,” he said. “There is a big market in the Middle East. There’s a small market in the U.S.”

Vladi, author of a series of books on luxury private islands, became interested in private atolls while studying for a Ph.D. in economics in Hamburg. He closed his first island deal in 1971. In more than 50 years, he and his staff have sold more than 2,650 islands, and rented thousands more, according to his firm’s website.

The Bay Area’s super rich have a somewhat tortured history with private islands, whether they be artificial libertarian enclaves free from government intrusion, such as Peter Thiel’s possibly abandoned Seasteading project, or entire island nations treated like hot listings, according to the Standard.

In 2022, Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange FTX had allegedly pondered buying the equatorial nation of Nauru, something the disgraced mogul’s legal team strenuously denied. 

— Dana Bartholomew

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