New 10-storey 7MB project gets green light

| 09/08/2018 | 98 Comments
Cayman News Service

Site of the proposed Watermark development

(CNS): A new $177 million development proposal on one of the last vacant parcels on Seven Mile Beach not owned by the Dart group of companies was given the green light by the Central Planning Authority on Wednesday. Watermark is a ten-storey condo project with a commercial building across the road. As the plot is divided by the West Bay Road, the developers propose to include a foot bridge to link the sites. The development, which is close to the Public Beach, includes 54 apartments and twelve swimming pools on the beach side, and a restaurant, fitness-spa centre and 19 guest suites on the inland side. 

No objections were filed against the project from nearby neighbours at the Harbour Heights and Avalon complexes, despite a number of objections to The Grove project nearby, which is now underway but had caused considerable controversy among those residents.

However, the Department of Environment did raise concerns about this project and proposed a number of modifications, including issues relating to the plans to excavate and remove sand from the site, posing the risk of beach erosion and a threat to turtle nests in the area.

The DoE warned that plans to remove the beach ridge at the site is a major concern. “Seven Mile Beach is an extremely active beach system and the seaside parcel consists of massive sand reserves. These reserves are important to the resilience of the Seven Mile Beach system and are naturally used to replenish the beach after storms.

“The amount of sand that will result from the excavation for the pools, foundations and underground parking will likely be too great a quantity to be placed back on-site and into the beach system. Once excavated and removed from the beach system, these sand reserves can never be recovered, making the beach system increasingly more vulnerable to erosion,” the DoE said in its comments, adding that increasing the setback would leave the ridge intact.

Because the proposed development is located on a very active turtle nesting beach, the department urged the CPA, if it granted planning permission, to make turtle-friendly lighting part of that approval. The DoE also said that construction should not start until after the nesting season at the end of November.

It is not clear if the CPA required the developers to follow the DoE recommendations or when the project is due to commence, but what will be the third ten-storey project on Grand Cayman has now been approved.

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Category: Business, Construction, development, Local News

Comments (98)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I hate to say this after what I went through but, dear God send us another IVAN!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Dumb and dumber…wishing that on people here…get back to your church and pray for forgiveness.

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      • Anonymous says:

        @9:43 “get back to your church and pray for forgiveness.” Are you saying that because the poster said “dear God”? The poster I would think, is saying we need another large storm to show these developers that a 10 story building in such a place is a bad idea especially when you are removing the sand. I seriously don’t think they meant such pain and suffering on us as a whole. Why don’t you find a church and pray for tolerance and compassion.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well. There’s always Barkers beach

  3. Anonymous says:

    I don’t why folks are on here complaining that our Government should have done something to preserve the beach. They couldn’t even preserve our SMB Public Beach! They gave that away too, so our expectations of our politicians are way too high. As Donald Trump would say: SAD!

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  4. One who knows says:

    Removing all of that sand will do far more damage to 7-Mile Beach than the proposed cruise ship dock could ever do.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Caymanian’s can do the work at Hotels and Condominiums, they just choose not to. I work in this industry and I don’t have Caymanian’s breaking down the door to try and work here. It can be very rewarding financially but it takes a lot of work and your time. However if you learn how to balance your work and life, like I have, you can do the job just like an expat.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    At the end of the day we do NOT have the infrastructure to accommodate that number of people. Trash, sewage, water etc.
    And I agree wholeheartedly about the same of lifting the ban on the number of floors on the sea side. As soon as that happened with the Ritz, you were goners.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    “The Lorax: Which way does a tree fall?
    The Once-ler: Uh, down?
    The Lorax: A tree falls the way it leans. Be careful which way you lean.”
    ― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to Miami!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    What a bunch of whiners. So what if a few connected people make a few coins, you are all just jealous. I will be in Miami enjoying my earnings and spreading my good caymanian nature while you all will all be at home crying why you did not participate and be a true caymanian by supporting these investments.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I think part of the problem is that there is so much development on SMB and no obvious direct benefits to the local community. I don’t know when the land was sold off, but perhaps if the government could say “when we sold this beachfront land we used that money to fund this high school / playing fields / hospital etc.” and could demonstrate some direct and specific benefit, then people would understand why they now have virtually no access to the beach and definitely no trees / vegetation left (other than Governor’s). As it is, people just feel their childhood beach is being sold off to foreign billionaires with zero upside.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You make a very good argument, and hit the nail on the head.

      This is exactly the issue, well articulated.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Except it was private land. So, when the beach was sold off it was to fund my great-great-grand-daddy’s living expenses. Money well spent in his mind I’m sure.

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    • Anonymous says:

      That’s not how it worked. I don’t know the whole story but a lot of land in Cayman was either granted by the Crown – for what fee and to whom it was paid, I don’t know, but often it was just a grant to encourage settlement so no one was paid anything – or it was simply claimed by families and they got their names registered as the owners when the first full land survey was conducted. They would have dealt with their land according to their own wishes without it having a fraction of the value it does today in their wildest dreams.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Harbour Heights won’t have objected because they’ll be the next strata to fold and sell out….Avalon wont have objected because this Watermark will increase their values too…actually the design is pretty spectacular, but clearly it is symptomatic of a massive failure in CIG and related parties over past 20-30 years as regards foresight and value for Cayman as a whole…..despite realtors pontifications, this development will mostly serve to benefit non-residents, especially medium and long term as short term there will of course be a little boom in sub contracttors, etc, etc…and that’s fine if it wasn’t so commonplace to see all these developments, with rumors that Lacovia is next with multiple 10 storey towers going up…crazy stuff…….the detriment to our country from the near total loss of SMB to the public is a scandal…..but its happened, so instead of crying we have to play with the cards we’re dealt…so what can CIG do to help the future generations see the beach? and btw, tourists too…..i’d suggest:

    1 – create a 2nd home tax…other locations do it….stamp tax on 2nd homes should be higher than duty on permanent residences (and define a 2nd home as not being owner occupied more than 1/2 year + 1 day)….and require an annual fee.,….the mega wealthy who buy these units won’t bat an eyelid at paying 50 or 100K annually to be able to claim residence for their 2 week stays…dont be put off by scaremongering realtors and others

    2 – task CIG with buying back some of the older developments…there’s a load of them that are falling apart on SMB right now, probably can’t even get insurance on the buildings they’re so decrepit…..CIG should seek to purchase them…whether its Villas Galleon/Cayman Club/Islands Club…..look for funding, buy these stratas and grant them to the public as permanent beach access for generations to come before in about 20/30 years time, the smallest condo development will be the WaterColours…its possible this will happen

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    • Anonymous says:

      Government can’t afford any of those. You’re dreaming.

      • Anonymous says:

        @10:21 Government can’t afford to charge more money for a high second home stamp tax? BS. I work in a bank, I see loans given to expats for the sole purpose of getting status. That extra $50k in #1 is like 1 – 3 months pay for them.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Charge it only on foreign buyers on properties over say $300,000. AND before anyone pokes the troll, and say why only foreign buyers or don’t discriminate. The Government waives stamp duty on first time CAYMANIAN buyers under $300,000. The “discrimination” is already there, I’m just working with what I got to work with.

    • Anonymous says:

      When you say Harbor Heights will “sell out”, the vote required for that used to be 100% before the law was changed on the sly to 75%. That new requirement is unlawful, as the law introducing it was brought in without consultation with anyone except the realtors (despite what the then premier told the LA); and it’s unconstitutional, because it took away the remaining 25%’s ownership rights without their consent. So if you feel aggrieved by your strata’s less than 100% decision to sell, sue.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Barbour heights is not a strata, it is leasehold land.

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        • Anonymous says:

          no it’s not..it is freehold..check the land registry

        • Chris Johnson says:

          Not sure where Barbour Heghts is but Harbour Heights is not on leasehold land. It was built by Hadshpaltic who acquired the land from the defaulting entrepreneur in or around 1969 at which it was called Caribartel. A sign with that name was painted on the roof tiles until Assistant Governor Dennis Foster ordered it removed! In those days breaches of the law were properly and promptly dealt with.

  12. Anonymous says:

    12 pools?????? Someone has lost its mind.
    Spread this news internationally.

    One out of 1000 turtles survive to adulthood. Hundreds have died and continue dying in SWFL this year to unprecedented red tide. But at least turtles nestlings laws are enforced there.
    Pure madness to build this building on the turtles nestling grounds.

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  13. JAH KNO STAR says:

    it would be nice to see a view of the beach atleast once while driving on WB RD

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  14. You scratch my back says:

    $177 mil eh? How many of them will be spent in the CPA Chairman’s hardware store? I also wonder if they will need any “metal products”? Comical that this is allowed to continue.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I feel most sorry for the other hardware stores on the island! How in the hell are Uncle Bills, COX and Kirk Home Center supposed to compete with ALT’s when the owner is the CPA Chairman! Absolutely disgusting!

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    • Anonymous says:

      It really is amazing in this day and age that he remains chairman.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yep. This has been the case
      For years and no one has raised this far enough for that cpa member to be removed. I mean it’s right out blatant in our faces and we allow it. Truly disgusting! That member should not and does not need to be sitting on cpa board.

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    • Anonymous says:

      We all know the government of this island for YEARS… DECADES.. have never understood the concept of “conflict of interest”.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Seems it is time to remove the Chairman of the Planning Board, Why in the hell are we sitting back and allowing all these high rise buildings cluttering up the view of the sea.

    Note, he is the same person that is objecting to some of the upgrades to Smith Barcadere which just happens to be across from his mansion.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What upgrades are you for? I don’t really think it needs anything but police full time because it’s full of criminal activity.

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  16. LK says:

    What’s the point of inviting input from the DoE if it is constantly ignored by the CPA? It’s obvious that the solicitation of advice from the environmental experts is only done to “check a box”. You know when we’ll start caring about the environment? When it’s GONE!

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    • Chris Johnson says:

      You hit the nail on the head. When Kel built his shack by the Fish Market the CPA overrode all the set back provisions on not just one but four sides and ignored the recommendations of the NRA and the DOE. The car park there should be set back 20 feet from the road. The set back implemented is zero feet and provides the most dangerous area in George Town. There is no proper elevates sidewalk. Ironically when I put in the new sidewalk next to the fish market the CPA asked me to elevate the sidewalk more than normal to prevent parking on the sidewalk. I had no problem doing this as I agreed with it. . One rule for some and one for the rest.

      And I forgot to mention how Thompson closes down government road on the other side so he can rent it out to tour buses. Thus a normal car owner is not allowed to park on government road. Where is the NRA when you need them.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The point is, is that it’s like putting your finger up a cat’s butt, while you gently pet it. That’s the point.

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  17. Ron Ebanks says:

    The DoE is right and wrong again, protecting the nesting turtles , and shouldn’t start the project till after November . What happens to the nesting turles after the nesting area is developed and taken away from the turtles ? Some hell of a protector is the DoE .
    I wonder if they know that the turtles would need areas to come back to lay their eggs for 100s of years to come , and the turtle wouldn’t be able to do it , if the space is not there for them .

    Why do the Developer need 12 swimming pools ? When there’s that big ocean, just for the sand , they better be careful with removing too much of the sand . Maybe next bad northwester would teach them why the sand has always stayed there until they moved it .

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Well, there it goes, the last chance for government to save a piece of beach land on Seven Mile Beach for the Public…

    With the closures of Royal Palms, Hemingways, Tikki Beach and Calico Jacks, the only beach available to us is the Public beach which is overrun with higglers selling and stealing..

    We are now in the process of building a new dock? More people everyday, larger cruise ships, where will they go to the beach?? Is that the reason Barbara and Al T are fixing up Smith Cove??…something sticks to high heaven here….

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    • Anonymous says:

      There’s the governor’s house…

      • Anonymous says:

        Governor should be relocated and all that beach given over to the public.

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        • Anonymous says:

          That house should be turned into a nice beach venue that is available to the public forever. Way too valuable to put a government employee in there to live.

          • Thinking Cap says:

            I agree. You always hear governors say how lovely it is to live on the beach, but never how often they swim in the sea. Choudhury apparently asked if the house had a pool and was told the sea was his pool. Apparently they like the proximity to the sea and the fact that they ‘live on the beach’ but want fresh water to swim in, and probably don’t want to mix with the tourists. Imagine being asked by an inquisitive American bobbing around in the water where you’re visiting from if you are the governor – that would be an awkward interaction. Even worse, people at Governor’s Beach going ‘OMG that’s the Governor in his/her swimsuit!’ and putting it on social media. So no need for them to be on beachfront land as they aren’t using it – there isn’t enough privacy to do so.

            That whole area – Government House and Governor’s Beach – should become a public park and beach. We can build a bigger, better Government House befitting Cayman’s wealth and status inland that still has a sea-view (look at Bermuda’s if you want Government House envy). The current one here was built in 1964 when the land was worth a fraction of what it is now – financially, socially and culturally – and we did not have the money to put a better house on it. Now is a great time to fix that and give the public what it is asking for at the same time.

            An alternative would be to still build a new Government House and have the Tourism Attraction Board manage the current one as a public attraction, suitably altered. The right third of the Government House property is outbuildings like the carport and staff quarters – those could be demolished and the wall moved south to expand the parking for the beach and put basic facilities there. This could prove a very popular attraction indeed – see the old Government House and have a swim afterwards.

      • Anonymous says:

        Government should sell it.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Not a speck of beach left. Great going CIG…..Bunch of greedy losers

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    • Anonymous says:

      They are greedy, but you are the loser.

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      Anonymous 11:13 pm , don’t blame the greedy government , blame yourselves for sitting down and allowing the greedy government to do it, take away and have every piece of public beach .

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  20. Richard Wadd says:

    I have no objection to 10 or even 20 stories on the ‘Land’ side, but we should NEVER have allowed more than 3 stories on the beach. How sad it is to watch us killing the proverbial goose out of our greed.
    I urge the powers that be to put a stop to this sort of development before the entire 7mile beach is turned into yet another Concrete slum for the well-to-do, while destroying the very attraction that brought those tourists here in the first place!

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Did the NRA comment on the traffic issues that will result as a consequence of this approval?

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to Miami b

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Everyone wants to part of our paradise.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    DART Again! Cayman how much is this Company going to be allowed to own in these little islands.

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  25. Sun of a Beach says:

    How much more can this entity own and how much more are we going to allow this company to destroy our paradise.So sad every little piece of beach front is gone what a disgrace! Cayman.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Do they really have to build on every single bit of green space on this Island! There will be no trees and bush left!

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  27. Anonymous says:

    I am not sure what Government is thinking…The CPA board is filled with members with conflicting business..AL T with Home Depot, Bob With the roofing, Fred with the Construction company and the list goes on…Don’t even know why they bother, just buy a rubber stamp and have a clerical offer stamp and sign the plans..

    This place is gone to hell in a hand basket..One little piece of overrun beach left to us by Dart on Seven Mile and that’s it…

    We’ve sold out..I hope these guys can look their children and grandchildren in the eye and tell them truthfully why they did it…

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  28. Just a question says:

    And this ten story condo, when it is done, how will it benefit Caymanians?

    Always the foreign elite take our lands and beaches, and the monies go to them. No one gives a hoot about the locals and their future generation!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ah so these people don’t spend money in local shops, restaurants or tourist outings? Or buy or rent cars from local dealers? Or create employment for cleaners etc? You really should try to get out more…

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      • Anonymous says:

        Of course they do. However, one has to ask the question about the rate of development and sustainability. We have grown far too quickly for available land mass and continue to have to bring in outside employees to meet the demand. More than that…..where is the focused plan by Government to retain parts of our pristine SMB for the local residents?? This is OUR GOD GIVEN island and if we continue to give it away to private investors and don’t mitigate ways to ensure access for local residents….there will be NO WHERE for us to turn. I went to the public beach a few weeks ago with visiting family and had to retreat to this spot to get away from the unpleasant atmosphere at Public Beach because of the large number of cruise visitors and local vendors trying to get us to rent a beach chair and umbrella. Now this remaining quiet spot will be no more. We are losing every peaceful spot on SMB. Crying shame.

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        • Anonymous says:

          You got here thru emigrating at some point. This earth is everyone’s god given land! But I think this is an insane development.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Thumbs down people please prove anyone is indigenous to Cayman.

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            • Debate settler says:

              To be indigenous you just have to be part of the ethnic group that was the first to settle the area. Thousands of Caymanians can prove that through written records, DNA testing, and extrapolation from recorded history back to what must have happened for recorded history to be possible. You don’t need to evolve from the indigenous fish and walk onto land when your feet finish growing to be indigenous. Your ancestors don’t need to have descended from such a creature either.

              According to Founded Upon the Seas, “archaeological surveys of all three islands in 1992 and 1995 “revealed no evidence of human occupation in the prehistoric period.”” Just because it was after the prehistoric period that Cayman was settled does not make the first people to settle it any less indigenous, particularly as they became an ethnic group and even more particularly as what history is recorded trails off from people with surnames surviving and thriving here to this day.

              As an aside, I find it interesting that the same people will call multi-generational Caymanians “natives” derogatorily while also disputing that we are indigenous. I feel sorry for any English person who can’t trace their history back before the Norman Invasion who reads this and realises they’ve been French all this time…poor buggers.

    • Anonymous says:

      They won’t even hire Caymanians

  29. Anonymous says:

    Show me one property with enough parking.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    the excitement is building…

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  31. Anonymous says:

    CPA appears to have some new members. Who the heck are they?

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  32. Anonymous says:

    I am speechless.

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