Dart plans over-road development to 7MB

| 05/01/2015 | 22 Comments
Cayman News Service

Ernst & Young offices in Camana Bay

(CNS): The islands’ largest developer, Dart Realty, has quietly unveiled big plans for the next ten years that will transform the Seven Mile Beach area near Camana Bay with over-the-road developments. CNS understands that the developer intends to submit planning applications during the early part of this year for projects that will see Camana Bay linked to the beach via overhead buildings across both the Esterley Tibbetts Highway and the West Bay Road.

The plans were revealed at a private symposium held by Ernst and Young at the end of last year and they have not yet been made public. However, CNS has learned that the proposed new development of another hotel by Dart close to Royal Palms will be the catalyst for a transformation of the Camana Bay area and plans to link the town centre with Seven Mile Beach and the new hotel via overhead buildings.

The proposal to build over the road will create tunnels for traffic and transform the area between Royal Palms and the Sovereign Club. The developer also hopes to move a stretch of the existing Esterley Tibbetts Highway, near Camana Bay, westward.

The plans have not been widely broadcast as they are still proposals and have not been submitted to planning, officials confirmed. A spokesperson for the developer said that the full details of the proposed development would be made public early this year once they have been finalised and formally submitted.

As well as significant changes around the Camana Bay area, the developer is investing further in the town itself. Dart plans to add additional classrooms at the Cayman International School to provide places for over 600 students in the 2016/17 academic year. While the developer has plans for more condos and apartments in the centre of Camana Bay, as well as a bridge to link its festival green, officials told the audience invited to the symposium that no houses would be constructed there until government resolves the George Town landfill issue.

Following the “Ozziegate” scandal, that issue has now been transferred to Premier Alden McLaughlin’s portfolio.

Meanwhile, Dart also has plans to link the recently completed Salt Creek yacht club with its new bar and restaurant to the Seven Mile Beach Kimpton Hotel, which is currently under construction on the site of the old Courtyard Marriott. This will be achieved via a pedestrian walkway and bike path under the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension, resolving the question of why Dart had incorporated a bridge into that section of the highway.

Despite the developer’s vision for its investment over the next ten years and its proposed redesign of further sections of Seven Mile Beach and the West Bay Road, talks between the developer and the government have still not been resolved regarding the controversial National Roads Authority (NRA) agreement signed in 2011.

Although the premier indicated in his New Year’s message that the talks were going in the right direction, the campaign promise to renegotiate the deal to give the public purse better value for money has not yet materialized. The PPM conceded early on that the closure of the West Bay Road to accommodate the Kimpton Hotel could not be reversed even though the planning minister, Kurt Tibbetts and the premier had both stated publicly that the 50% accommodation tax rebate on all Dart properties built over the next 30 years was unacceptable.

Regardless of optimistic noises about the progress on the talks over the last few months, the public still does not know what shape that agreement will finally take or what the government’s position is on the overhead development planned to link Camana Bay with Grand Cayman’s famous beach.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (22)

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  1. GAD1066 says:

    I heard a man say “When you owe the bank a thousand dollars you worry, When you owe the bank ten million the bank worries” When one owns a country who will worry? England?

  2. Jon B says:

    NIMBY will rule the day – i have spoken to dozens who oppose these projects

  3. Rod Chesnut says:

    I do hope Rp is correct about Dart intentions. I can’t attend the new symposium, but I did attend the early ones in 1997, hosted by Gene Thompson at the Clarion. Yes, “Do move forward.” I would suggest everyone, perhaps especially Caymanians, should re-read “Don’t Stop the Carnival” by Herman Wouk and find Hunter S Thompson’s ‘the Rum Diaries”. Looking forward, we should trust John Doak (Architect for Dart Realty) and Jackie Doak (COO of Dart Realty) with protecting the future of Cayman’s beaches for all visitors and Caymanians alike. They are good people.

  4. Rp says:

    I have attended the symposium and the presentation was exceptional. The vision and the current plans look absolutely amazing. It will solve all traffic issues by constructing two lane highways under the hotel, building top class facilities which allow pedestrians to walk from SMB to the crescent in cb without having to cross any street.

    I am all for it. He already owns the land so i don’t see how we’re selling our country to him by allowing him to build when we already sold him the land.

    Let’s move forward and embrace high end development. It will attract affluent tourists rather than cruise ship lower to middle class who spend on avg just 100 dollars per visit.

    The affluent tourists will more likely return, purchase properties and/or decide to invest in our country.

    Let’s model ourselves like Monaco rather than ratan, Honduras. Let’s be the exclusive island rather than just another carribean island.

    • CaymansList says:

      That’s the Caymanian way to sell their land for the almighty dollar and still expect the buyer to give them control of what is built on it as well as share the proceeds.

  5. Cass says:

    Bam! Take dat!

  6. CaymansList says:

    You can rest assured that the Dart folks have already consider this, just look at everything else they’ve done.. All top quality work.. They will just keep on improving the Camana Bay product while the CIG dilly dallys with the George Town product.

    • Jim says:

      CL – No, its not top quality work. Its good but walk around Camana Bay and really look. If you’ve seen top quality work here or abroad you can see its not quite there.
      I agree its in the top %ge locally but lets not blind ourselves by thinking its better than it is. (And before someone asks for my preferences, here and abroad, they’re subjective and will just start a pointless flame war.) Where Cayman seems to have a problem is (b) fine finishing work and (a) maintenance. This includes Camana Bay.

  7. Pat says:

    and it implodes if it is not regulated.

  8. fred the piemaker says:

    I would rather see a past sale date donut in charge of Cayman than either the opposition or the PPM. More decisive, less biased, and less likely to make bad decisions. Mind you, the life expectancy of a donut anywhere near the LA might be quite limited, going by the body mass index of some of our MLAs.

  9. Evejone says:

    Is it true that Dart sold the Kimpton Hotel?

    • No says:

      No it is not. Kimpton is the management company that will manage the Hotel they do not own it. Dart does
      “InterContinental Hotels Group

      PLC agreed to acquire Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants Group LLC”. (Wall Street Journal December 2014)

      Dart buys he seldom sells properties. That is his plan.

  10. CaymansList says:

    I am completely comfortable with the future of the Cayman Islands product bring in Darts hands. No one else including the CIG has done anything to make the product better.

    Dart Does, Please keep it going..A lot of us are glad you are here doing what you’re doing..

  11. Jim says:

    Not sure that Gov. can say anything since we previously allowed two overpasses across West Bay Road.
    No, I don’t like the overpasses. Didn’t like them then either. But short of a time machine to redirect development along Seven Mile Beach (away from the beach; restricting ‘super-developments, etc.) avoiding the need to ‘link’ properties I don’t see any practical objection here.
    And the silver lining is that maybe they’ll then take out the crosswalks stopping traffic on a ‘highway’. (See the usefullness of that time machine: Master Ground Transportation Plan, done ‘right’. If all of una agreed with me on ‘right. 🙂

    • Concerned says:

      We are not talking overpasses! we are talking about the roads being a tunnel.

      • Jim says:

        Ahh, I see our confusion. I had assumed ‘buildings’ like the ‘pedestrian overpass’ at Ritz. You’re taking tunnels to mean ‘full size buildings with roads underneath them’ like a real road tunnel in other countries. If this is what is being proposed I agree, that’s completely different from what has been allowed before and so the precedent has not been set. (And if it is what is to be proposed I go back to my initial, pre-Hyatt-permitted-overpass objection: they would be aesthetically unpleasing to all of the other residents and visitors and so not a good thing to allow from a democratic or holistic perspective. There’s more of us than Dartites that think they’ll make a buck off this.) A road that feels open is more attractive than one that feels overwhelmed by buildings, anywhere in the world.

  12. confused says:

    I really do not like this new layout CNS, its very difficult to navigate.

  13. paradiso says:

    as long as Dart does try to control every aspect of hotel business like food, liquor, rental cars etc the development is welcome. The financial industry will be gone in 10 yrs time so this is good news for cayman.

    • Get Real says:

      That is exactly what Dart is trying to do. His goal is total control and most cannot see that.

      • Romero says:

        What is the alternative. Lets face successive governments have failed us miserably, it takes forever for anything significant to happen, millions is spent on report after report with no foreseeable benefits, billions go missing, when we run a service wholly by ourselves it seems to be a disaster (see todays report obtained under FOI of the Post Office). I would prefer if the British Government stepped in (that sticks in my throat to say) but since they appear not to have the appetite then I guess Dart is the only man on the block. Sigh!

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