$13M Private Island Just Outside NYC

This unique home located in New Rochelle just outside New York City is not only situated on a pair of private islands with over five acres of land, but with a year’s worth of fuel oil, the islands are completely self-sustaining for off-the-grid living right in Westchester County. An inspired renovation by the current owner means custom everything and integration with nature without sacrificing comfort. Asking $13 million, Columbia and Pea Islands–and a 5,625-square-foot home–are definitely not your ordinary property.

Accessed by boat, Columbia Island is home to an innovative residence with four bedrooms and two baths. The home’s current owner is a former physician, a real estate developer, film and stage producer, actor and activist who took on the challenge of creating a livable dream retreat amid nature and water.

Built on bedrock—the same geologic feature that supports Manhattan skyscrapers–the Columbia Island house is surrounded by seawall and landscape decking. An open kitchen and dining area overlook Long Island Sound.

The home’s massive great room is ideal for entertaining with stunning water views from every angle.

The home’s lower level space features exposed brick walls and high ceilings. The space can be used for a media/game room or art studio, just to name a few creative possibilities.

Up on the roof you’ll find New York City views from your own private perch. It’s a rare opportunity to be inspired by nature and enjoy solitude–or throw unforgettable parties.


The modern home was constructed to be completely self-sufficient. Systems include a solar-supplied electricity and diesel generator back-ups with quadruple redundancy; a reverse osmosis water filtration and desalination system, the same state-of-the-art system used in surgical settings to provide extremely pure water; and triple-redundant flood and storm protection that the system’s builder calls “considerably better than lower Manhattan’s.”

There’s in-floor radiant heat with triple redundant boilers and hot water heat exchanger and a sewage system. The property is protected by multiple on-site fire suppression systems since the island isn’t accessible to municipal fire trucks.

Within paddling distance, the nearly-five-acre Pea Island is a mini-sanctuary offering spectacular views and raw natural beauty including open beach with lush indigenous plants. It has development potential, but it could also just serve as an undeveloped backyard.

Columbia Island got its name from CBS, its owner rom the 1940s-60s. CBS constructed a concrete transmitter bunker, providing emergency accommodations for 10 workers and a broadcast tower that served the New York metro area until 1963.

TV and radio entertainers Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy were the next owners, and used the space to broadcast a “breakfast conversation” talk radio show.

[Listing: 1 Columbia Island by Patti Anderson for Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty]