It’s no secret that privacy comes at a premium in New York, but how far would you go to get away from the hubbub of the city? Scouting NY‘s Nick Carr recently discovered a mysterious island off the city’s coastline that’s about as secluded as it gets. The tiny landmass, known as Columbia Island, is privately owned, and the landowner is in the process of building what looks like a pretty sweet off-grid, solar-powered residence atop it.



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Originally called Little Pea Island, the 150 x 150 foot island was purchased by CBS in 1940 to be used as a broadcasting station. After changing its name to Columbia Island, the media giant covered it with a concrete foundation and a 410-foot steel transmitter was erected. The CBS tower began broadcasting in October 1941 to some 14,000,000 listeners. The island was used as a broadcasting station until 1963, after which the station moved its broadcasting operations to High Island.

Related: This $995,000 Private Island Costs Less Than the Average NYC Home

Since its broadcasting days, the island has changed ownership several times. Now owned by 71- year-old filmmaker/actor Al Sutton, the island’s original concrete bunker-like structure is currently being converted into a 6,000-square-foot off-grid green residence complete with a 1,200-square-foot solar array to provide the home’s electricity needs. Although the residence is not yet inhabitable, heat and hot water is provided by three 250,000-BTU oil burners and a reverse osmosis system provides fresh water to the structure. With a goal of making his new home a “self-sustaining island getaway,” Sutton has plans to add more sustainable features such wind turbines and even LED lights to illuminate the sea floor surrounding the island.

According to Green Tech Advocates, Sutton was impressed by the island on his first visit, and fell in love with its views and the surrounding nature. “The bird life and everything there is stunning,” he said. “I view it as a place to be inspired by different things. It’s a diamond in the rough.” Upon completion, Sutton’s home will be the only private island residence off the New York coastline.

Via Scouting NY

Photos via Scouting NY