CIG-Dart deal adds $13M to duty cap

| 10/06/2016 | 30 Comments
Cayman Neww Service

Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa – artist’s rendition

(CNS): Government has agreed to increase the cap on duty and other concessions for Dart’s development projects falling within the so-called NRA deal by $13 million to replace the original 50% hotel accommodation tax concession. Premier Alden McLaughlin said this cap increase was preferable to the accommodation tax rebate as that would not only have cost government another $60 million but it also distorted the market and had implications for future deals with other developers.

Outlining the details of the renegotiated third agreement that the PPM signed with Dart at the end of May, after three years of talks, McLaughlin revealed Friday that he had also given up the land donation for another public beach in exchange for retaining the legal beach access on Dart’s Seven Mile land that the original agreement had given up.

But even though many members of the ruling PPM had once opposed the closure of the West Bay Road, as well as those in the grassroots, McLaughlin said his government would now formally close the remaining section of the West Bay Road on the Dart land by the new Kimpton Hotel site.

McLaughlin said that consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers, who had reviewed the original agreement and found it was not necessarily well-balanced, said that the deal the PPM has now signed is an improvement. As he tabled the new agreement, the premier told his colleagues in the Legislative Assembly that while it was not a particularly good deal to begin with, it was what the Progressive government had to start with.

“However bad we believe the original deal was … it was legally binding,” he said, saying this had committed all future governments to the terms.

He said the PPM’s goal on coming into office was to renegotiate the accommodate tax rebate and, among other things, retain beach access.

But he said the administration had always been aware that Dart would be seeking something of significant value to replace the 50% room tax cut if they were to achieve that renegotiation. He said it was a significant achievement to get that taken out and replace it with an increase of just $13 million to the overall concession package. McLaughlin said government had also managed to pin Dart down to making a $400 million investment over the next decade, narrowing the time of the original 30 year deal.

As well as picking up the entire tab for the expansion of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway all the way to town, Dart has also offered government land near Camana Bay for a new Sunrise Centre and further plots in West Bay for community projects or cash. The deal gives the government six months to decide, McLaughlin said. It also broadens the development mechanism to include other projects outside the tourism sector and paves the way for government to introduce the controversial legislation for Dart to build on road overpasses.

Another major element is the sale of the crown property at SafeHaven or Dragon Bay, a lease which Dart holds having bought the land from the developer of the Ritz Carlton, Michael Ryan. Given that Dart already owns that lease, which has some 77 years left on it, and that no one else has shown interest because it is leasehold in an area where there is a lot of freehold land to be had, selling to Dart was a sensible move, McLaughlin said.

Following the vested lands law, the government and islands’ largest developer arrived at a price of just over $14.7 million. In the long run, the premier said, the government would benefit from the duty and fees on future development and the creation of jobs.

The premier also revealed government has agreed to sell Dart what is known as the Soto land near to the Seven Mile public beach, where Dart will be completing a new beach park, but the public areas will be given back to government when they are all finished.

The premier said that throughout the three-year talks with Dart, the government had not only used ministry technocrats but consultants had also been present to advise government.

Before it was signed McLaughlin said PwC had reviewed the deal and concluded that although it “remained imperfect”, it now had a greater commitment from the developer and the removal of the 50% accommodation tax concession was important.

The number-crunchers said government could have “some confidence that the objective to encourage growth will be achieved” with the new deal and they advised government to sign and end this agreement. The consultants said the CIG should negotiate any future agreements with Dart separately.

See the new agreement

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (30)

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  1. Patriot says:

    The whole of the Dart enterprises should be nationalised.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Honestly Brackas…you really shouldn’t sell any of your land to the shady lady. Unlike Dart who contributes in some way to Grand Cayman, she really puts nothing into the Brac economy. She grows her own, pays no tourist tax, and allows locals no access to her facilities. Boot her off.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would appreciate it if some reader- a lawyer maybe- would explain how a ‘legal beach access’ could have been ‘given up’ in the original Dart agreement. Was the Law that gave the beach access amended?

      • Jotnar says:

        They consolidated all the strips into one new public beach. Now the new public beach is gone, presumably the access strips are back …or perhaps not!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a great deal .. giving up the lease on the golf course was a classic win win as you’d be amazed the churn and tax generation from resales, stoked by development. At the end of the day Dart is developing inside of a Country he doesn’t own. Governed by laws he didn’t create — inside an active hurricane zone. The man is brave and bold.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I thought the second public beach was in exchange for the acreage where the old road was, that has been transferred to Dart.
    Don’t tell me it is exchanged for the land that the new road is built on because the simple act of closing the old road would mean that any developer would have to build the new road on their land in order for the public to have access to the Kempton Hotel.

    • Diogenes says:

      The second beach was in exchange for the public access strips along the land to the North of the Kimpton. Rather than a whole lot of thin strips, one big strip. Rather surprise Dart gave this up as the access strips limit his development of that land. Guess he has decided to incorporate the public access into whatever design he has for that section.

  5. Anonymous says:

    CNS, I love your sense of humor.
    Two headline stories together. One of Peter Polack complaining about, and inquiring into why the CI Government and rich landlords are not collecting 7.5% per month from citizens who cannot afford to own their own homes.
    One story is telling us that Peter is vexed and says Government should be too, because thousands of landlord criminals out there are not paying a few $million collectively into Govt in the form of stamp duty on leases, notwithstanding that it is thousands of tenants that would pay this tax if it is enforced.

    Right next to that headline is another headline where nobody is vexed, and certainly not Government nor Alden, that tells us minions in the population (who incidentally will have the pay the stamp duty tax of 7.5% per month on their rent), that a NEW deal has been cut with Dart to reduce his tax burden by a further $13million.

    I can hear those Government and Dart supports thinking in their minds while reading the above two paragraphs……………. “Well look now” there would be no waiver of stamp duty to Dart if he does not invest in the economy and build…………………. Well damnit there would be no renters nor apartments to rent if myself and thousands of others had not ALREADY invested in the economy and built those housing apartments in the first place.

    I thought “a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush” I and thousands others have already invested in the economy by building and you are going to tax us further……….. Dart promises to invest in the economy sometime in the future and Alden and McKeeva are falling all over each other to promise him $48,000,000.00 (yes that is millions) in rebates.

    Why in the hell is it that NO Government is offering me and the thousands of other builders of residential apartments one red cent in rebates?
    Make no mistake, collectively, the residential and rental apartment industry, on Seven Mile Beach and throughout the Island, have collectively invested hundreds of millions more than Dart has, or ever will, in this country ……………. yet the Government sees fit to slap us in the face and promote unfair competition by giving our biggest competitor $millions in import duty waivers.

    My rental house on the beach paid 100% of the stamp duty when it was built, I paid for 100% of the planning fees, I paid 100% of the DOT registration costs, I paid 7.5% stamp duty when I bought the land, I paid 100% of the tourism tax, I pay for the electricity including the fuel tax, I pay for the cleaning, including the pension and medical tax, I pay for the maintenance including the 30% tax on materials, I pay the 1% tax on my loan, I pay the 2% tax on my insurance,……..
    I pay, I pay, I pay……….and now they want to F@#$ing give more to Dart and make me pay 7.5% each month out of the rent Why? To get back 2% of what they are giving away?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Pleasee Cayman Brac shouldn’t sell to anyone beside Caymanians but money is money and it carries no name. Plus Cayman Brac is cheap but not in cost of living

  7. Sharkey says:

    Has anyone ever thought about it when one man can say , I own more than 60 % of the Cayman Islands ?

  8. All Hail King Allahden says:

    Fix the damn dump Alden.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Yet this is the same PPM that criticized McKeeva for giving concessions to Dart!! When they scrape the hypocritical egg off their faces they may learn that sometimes deals have to be made to attract investment. High school level McKeeva may have taught educated lawyer Alden something new – again!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      5:28 read. For lack of knowledge my people perish. Common sense is better than no sense at all. Stop being so naive.

    • Anonymous says:

      Listen McKeeva the fact that you gave concessions is not the issue – the issue is the amount of concessions you gave away! When you give away that much and then keep asking for more compensation and for whom – that is the problem!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for trying Makeeva. I hope you at least took care of yourself.

  11. Long-Time Caymaniac fm UpNorth says:

    Both Government and the Dart interests seem to have made serious efforts to improve on past agreements. Whilst no one can question the overall value of Dart development as beneficial to Cayman’s economic stability and growth, there has been far too little transparency in previous negotiations between the parties. It is imperative that in future Government hold out for the maximum possible value to Caymanian society from deep-pocket investors. as the qualities that have attracted Dart here also apply – or will apply – to other wealthy investors who can be expected to bring economic value to the Cayman Islands. If they can negotiate favorable back-room development deals, then native Caymanians and long-term investors alike will suffer. So we not only applaud Government’s persistence in attempting to get a more equitable deal for Cayman, but urge the country’s leaders to be especially wary of any future attempts by developers and new investors to carve out their own sweetheart deals.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why are we selling everything? Why can’t we lease? There should be a cap on property ownership. When will the government do their part to save the sinking ship?

  12. Anonymous says:

    what are you so afraid of? grow a pair.
    dart has so much invested here already, what could he really do if you said no.
    or did you get a lil sumpin sumpin

  13. Menabelins says:

    Hmmm. So what is wrong with Cayman Brac that Dart doesn’t want to touch it?

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe the people in Cayman Brac have more sense than those in Grand Cayman! They seem to know better than to sell all their land to Dart! Dart probably knows that he can’t pull the wool over their eyes like he can do with the people in Grand Cayman!

      • SMH SMH says:

        And yet these are the very same people who have gone running at full speed to the only game in town. Aka the “She Dart”!

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe Cayman Brackers don’t want to sell their whole island to Dart.

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