TSD's The Villages of Loreto Bay, a series of romantic, walkable seaside villages in Baja California Sur, Mexico, was designed to be the largest resort community in North America committed to the principles of sustainable development and New Urbanism.
Loreto was one of five areas identified in the late 1970’s by FONATUR (Mexico's tourism development agency) as a prime tourism destination. In the years since, FONATUR has developed Cancun, Los Cabos, Ixtapa-Zihuatenejo and Huatulco. In Partnership with Loreto Bay Company, a Trust Sponsored Company, development in Loreto took a very different approach.
In 2003, at the invitation of the Federal Government of Mexico, The Trust began work on the new town at Loreto Bay (planned to be 6000 homes, 3200 acres). The project's unique commitments were to create more potable water than it used, produce more renewable energy than it consumed, and improve the ecosystem of which it is part. It was also successful in the Government's goal of alleviating poverty in the central Baja. When The Trust left in August 2007, before the recession's impact, the project was the best selling development in Mexico and the most sustainable development in North America. The Trust’s President was a co-recipient of the 2004 US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce Good Neighbour award with former Secretary of State Colin Powell; Mr. Butterfield received his award for his work at Loreto Bay and for The Trust’s positive impact on Mexico.
In the beginning, homes at The Villages of Loreto Bay were constructed of adobe, compressed earth blocks that were a traditional building material. The Company evolved to become the world’s largest user of Rastra, a recycled styrofoam and concrete system which cut heating and cooling costs by 60%”. In the Founders' Neighborhood, one of the many neighborhoods planned for The Villages of Loreto Bay, design options included Village homes, condominiums and custom beachfront and golf course villas, all designed in courtyard style architecture. Private and public courtyards combined with lush native landscaping provide a natural and beautiful cooling effect. In 2005, Loreto Bay Company launched Phase II, Agua Viva, a new neighborhood right along the Sea of Cortés with a vibrant confluence of human habitation and a series of regenerated estuaries.
"Our vision was to create a peaceful, authentic community that preserves and enhances the integrity of the environment and allows people to experience the natural beauty of this seaside village, Loreto Bay continues to attract those looking to embrace the casual, outdoor lifestyle of Baja." —David Butterfield
The ecologically sensitive area of Loreto Bay is bounded by the vast Sierra de la Giganta Mountains on the West and beautiful Sea of Cortés on the East. Just off shore, the largest national marine park in Mexico ensures the waters continue to teem with a wide variety of sea life. The Sea of Cortés is the nursery of the blue whale and home to sea lion, turtle, dolphin, yellow tail, dorado, rooster fish, sea bass, tuna, bill fish and sardine.
To protect and enhance the environment, Loreto Bay planned to harvest more potable water than it consumed; create, through solar and wind power, more energy than it used; and enhance the habitat and nurture the bio-diversity of the land it occupied. In addition, the new community was created to foster economic opportunities for the region in the form of housing, planning and training, as well as the creation of jobs and business enterprises for the local community.
Loreto Bay has set the standard for sustainable developments around the world. Our focus is on creating and conserving energy, reducing water consumption, solid waste materials and air pollution, as well as creating economic opportunities through new jobs and local businesses.
By 2007, Loreto Bay Company had sold more than 800 homes totaling more than $300 million. As organized by TSD, one percent of each sale was donated to the Loreto Bay Foundation, an independent charitable foundation dedicated to serving the economic and social needs of the historic town of Loreto as it absorbed the impact of this development. The first donations were used to acquire equipment and enhance services at Loreto's hospital, fund a sea turtle conference and an eco-tourism program, rebuild the community, basketball courts, fund patrol boats for the enforcement officers in charge of the Loreto Marine National Park and support a host of local and national NGO’s in the area.
Loreto Bay has enjoyed international acclaim for creating a town that brings architectural beauty to a stunning natural setting in a way that enhances the land and its people.