10-storey buildings coming to George Town

| 11/11/2020 | 64 Comments
Cayman News Service
Under the new regulations buildings such as the Walkers Office complex would be allowed to increase to 10 storeys

(CNS): Amendments to the development plan regulations have paved the way for office blocks and buildings to rise to ten storeys in the capital. Planning Minister Joey Hew presented the changes last week that, among other things, will enable mixed-use buildings in George Town allowing apartments, shops and offices in one development, all of which are part of the long-awaited revitalization project.

While the motion to make the regulation amendments in the final meeting of the Legislative Assembly last week was not without its controversies, it passed with some opposition support after the minister agreed not to change the proposed maximum heights in East End for hotel-tourism zones to ten storeys and cap building heights along the Queen’s Highway at seven.

Despite that concession, the MP (formerly MLA) for George Town Central articulated the concerns of some of his constituents who could find their homes surrounded by towering office blocks and would likely take little comfort in the increase in property values.

Government is introducing a tiered zoning map in the capital which will allow for buildings to gradually increase in height from two storeys on the waterfront to seven and then ten storeys as they draw back into the centre of town.

Kenneth Bryan said that while he was not opposed to the development of the capital, he was deeply concerned that the consultation carried out regarding the changes was not with the residents of his constituency. He criticised government for focusing on the desires of developers over the people of George Town.

Bryan named many Caymanians living in the centre of the capital, in particular those who will be living in the newly re-zoned areas that will allow for the tallest buildings. He said many do not want to move from homes that have been in their families for generations and some are now simply too old to move. But, he said, the arrival of 10-storey buildings will block out their sunlight and fundamentally change their living environment.

Members also raised concerns about the lack of consultation on important legislative changes impacting people’s lives as well as the piecemeal approach government continues to take toward the country’s development landscape, re-zoning areas out of context, even as it is still drafting the national development plan that will realign the zone map all across the three islands.

Minister Hew defended the decision, stating that all buildings will still have to go though a planning process taking into account the existing property owners in the area where the new tower blocks will be. However, with the approval of the proposed hotel in Beach Bay, there is already clear evidence that the character of an area and the wishes of existing residents counts for little in preventing the Central Planning Authority approving high rise buildings in residential neighbourhoods, even in the face of considerable objections.

The amendment steered through by the minister address a number of issues, such as allowing new developments to have off-site parking, which the minister claimed would also be assisted by a George Town shuttle service. It also deals with the definitions of buildings like townhouses and duplexes, as well as set back regulations and other issues.

While Hew has persistently spoken about the need for sustainable development in Cayman, there are no requirements or even incentives for developers to comply, with the exception of the need for future developments to include a small number of electric parking slots. Some local environmentalist believe that the rules will make development easier rather than more sustainable, regardless of the minister’s claims.

Hew also steered through changes to the building code regulations. But concerns that people other than planning officials would be allowed to sign off on the certificates relating to development progress were addressed when he clarified that it must be planning officials who do the certifications.

There had been very real concerns that the planning department was preparing to outsource its role in ensuring building compliance and sign offs to private sector surveyors, which would have allowed larger developers to certify their own buildings.

See the amendments to the regulations in the CNS Library.


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Comments (64)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Gonna need some low cost housing for all the people he is planning to displace in Dog City

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ah, you watch too much fake news. Only the media has said Biden has won. As you see he’s got Alaska and Carolina, but that is a different story. The development has to come to Grand Cayman, we’ve lost Cruise ship business. What do old people do now? Janitorial, security, hand out brochures? Government has to help people who are elderly with some free stuff. How about free medical, dental, and eyecare. We could go to Cuba and save Government 90% of the bill that is charge here. My insurance is ridiculous for car, house we should have it in law what the insurance company is going to pay if its a new concrete house or a old one, new roof, old roof. We need to get a discount if we are saving the company no accidents. Come on now its time.
    George Town borderline is SpottsNewlands.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You definitely need to allow mixed use. Too many offices are empty. Forget the 10 stories. Downtown is bad enough as it is—goat path streets, no parking, no shade, ugly concrete everywhere, no green space etc.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You clowns not yet realized that George Town extends all the way to the Fire Station 🤣🤣🤣💤💤💤

  5. Anonymous says:

    Joey Gentrification Hew

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is brilliant foresight from the Government. Just as the world embraces working from home and commercial property peaks and starts to become superfluous, we announce 10 storey laws in the business district.

    Simply superb stuff as always. I hear the next announcement is something about rolling out copper wires for telegrams and rotary dial ups.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Excellent plan. Build up, to create pedestrian and green spaces. Maybe include some affordable housing in apartment blocks so people living in poor housing all over George Town cana spire to live in a modern building. This could really help regenerate GT if the new bars and restaurants popping up attract the residents crowd to replace Royal palms/Calicos business. We need to go above 10 stories though – why capped at 10?

  8. truth says:

    please make sure these places have parking for God sake.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Good. Im’ma build one right there on Marbel Drive.

  10. Anonymous says:

    So CIG will look next to mandate council housing in all apartments?

  11. Abraham says:

    Great! They can’t even build proper or efficient roads, and now these? What’s next a bridge or tunnel to the Sister Islands?

  12. Anonymous says:

    mixed use is the way to go….and building up instead of ow rise is best for the environment.
    cave(caymanians against virtually everything) people will complain anyway….

  13. Anonymous says:

    Wonder what other planning regulations got changed but werent announced while this took the limelight. Guessing the ongoing buildings along SMB engineered for 12 storeys vs the current/previous 10 storeys may have been sneaked in…

  14. Share the wealth says:

    Developers should be required to set aside a large portion of the development for low-income or small local owned businesses. For instance, a 10 story commercial building should be required to provide 50% below market rents to small locally owned businesses for 20-25% of the building’s rental square footage in exchange for the increased building density which currently sounds like a giveaway to land owners while providing no benefit to regular folk. Also, ZERO concessions.

    Similarly, residential towers should be required to provide 20-25% of their housing to “low-income” Caymanians in exchange for the increased density. These homes would need to be spread out throughout the building on a lottery basis with 20-25% of each floor being allocated to Caymanians.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is business, not a charity. If you want something work for it.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’ll remember that when you fall flat on your backside and nobody can be bothered to afford you a hand-up job or safety net.

        There is a reason why they teach business and economics together, brilliant scholar. Clearly you skipped the latter. Stop being greedy and selfish! #sharethewealth

      • Share the wealth says:

        So why should the landowner/developer get all the “charity”? No sir. The increased density needs to benefit the common man as well and not just the politically-connected.

      • Hubert says:

        You try working for something at a minimum wage of $6 an hour. Not a livable wage.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s called URBAN PLANNING. Ugh.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes let’s let low income live in very expensive places which will drive down the rent and again keep the place a shit hole. not a smart idea

      • Share the wealth. says:

        The implications of your post are horrendous and elitist.

        Keep the low-income Caymanians in tents and illegal dwellings. Check.

        Just because someone is a low-income Caymanian they are inferior and will cause the place to become a “**** hole.” Check.

        You should check yourself with that attitude you have displayed. Disgusting.

    • Anonymous says:

      Economics 101. If you have a spare $10 to $50 million, I will advise you not to build what you want someone else to do. Otherwise spend away and lose your shirt.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Joey, must think people are fools..Every building must be approved by planning..What a joke? As long as AL’T and his bunch of rubber stampers are around the big “after the fact” approval stamp will ensure everything goes through..

    Does Joey really think we are idiots or does he feel himself so high and mighty now that he just doesn’t care..

    May 2021…Try so hurry up..Let’s get rid of these useless politicians.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Joey, needs to go. Did he or any of his PPM/CDP Government discuss something of this magnitude with the people of this country? George Town is dead now and they have been trying to revive it by wasting loads of our money. DART has Camana Bay as our new down town. We cannot win over him no matter how many ten storey building we build..that is unless this approval is for DART..and Joey gets his nice job at DART after we kick his ass out of the Legislative Assembly.

    These guys get into office to set themselves up for life. It’s time we show people like him that we will no longer tolerate this. I live in GTN and I promise you that if is even a propped up broomstick running against him, my vote goes to the broomstick..

    So sickening!

    • Anonymous says:

      We don’t need another Dartsville. How about remembering the Cayman Heritage. Cleaning up and restoring GT into a quaint Caribbean Town. People making these decisions have absolutely NO creativity or a sense of uniqueness. They just copy whatever already exists.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Trump is gone! Now let’s get rid of this circus.

    I’m laughing at the valuation comment… when evaluators deliberately lower land appraisals with locally owned land preventing people (after year’s of ownership) from reinvesting in their land and then list it for 300% more after a bank forecloses on it and gives the agent a commission for the resale!

    Is Cayman a REAL place!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Ask anyone that was on the upper floors during that earthquake….no way in hell will anyone want to be up that high smh

  19. Anonymous says:

    Another building to destroy the look of the Cayman Islands. If tourists wanted high rise cement buildings, they would stay home. If this is the way you think you are going to attract the wealthy, you are sadly mistaken.

    • Estera says:

      Agree, we ve been coming to the Cayman Is. since 2000, and always enjoyed how lovely, quiet and safe the island felt, every year (ever since the Camana Bay was built) the place started to feel more and more like Miami. Busy roads with traffic ( can’t even think of going for a jog early AM anymore) and the monstrous hotels and apartaments on 7 Mile beach. We have been looking now for different destinations, which is sad as we always loved Cayman and the island has a very special place in our hearts. We loved that island feel, the Caribbean style of the buildings, the wildlife how quiet the beaches were… don’t let big corporations and greedy people ruin your beautiful place.

      • Ex Visitor says:

        It’s too late, Estera! The big corporations and a few greedy people…… and I include the politicians in the “greedy people” group, have destroyed the Cayman that I enjoyed back in the ’80s. I haven’t been back in years, and have no plans of ever going back. Pretty islands, excellent diving, and some very nice people that I will never see again. Very Sad……..

    • Anonymous says:

      Right, where did the actor who played Hellboy stay? All the rest that came here before him stayed in a 10 story building. People who have money hiding from the paparazzi live in the outer districts in a house with lots of trees. They are hiding. The rest have no problem with skyscrapers. Flights going to Panama from Cayman were full going and empty coming back except when locals were coming home. Panama built 165 skyscrapers in 2 years up to 70 story tall with casinos in them. Largest shopping mall in Latin America, cheaper than Miami, 30 plus discounts for people who’re retired or who want to be retired. Not every Central American country is failing.

  20. Anonymous says:

    And where will everyone park?

  21. Anonymous says:

    This island will soon turn into Miami beach 2.0 or little Manhattan …

  22. Anonymous says:

    Not sure the Walkers building can handle any more stories – it’s already leaning over

    • Anonymous says:

      It looks more like a bunker than an office building – rather like the flak towers they built round Berlin towards the end of WWII. Are they expecting WWIII?

    • Anonymous says:

      And hopefully they do a better job with design with exteriors of new buildings, the one you’re referring to reminds me of an off kilter Miami-Dade County Pre-Trial Detention Center. Maybe another good earthquake might send it over for good. Scares me to think that brutalist structures like this are increasingly the norm and in my opinion don’t contribute anything positive to our urban landscape.

      • Anonymous says:

        But it was the nutcase architect that did the plan which was approved, because the tenants are so clever . Ventilation plan came with a few caveats.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Joey should become the Mayor of Camana Bay after this as a reward for selling out Caymanians.

    • Hubert says:

      Never forget, Developers Rule in the Cayman Islands. Well on our way now to 100,000 plus population. Sadly, the quality of life on Grand Cayman will not get better.
      So sad, and we still have not fixed the Dump.

      Does anyone think the time has come for a Green Party here?

    • Anonymous says:

      I thought he already was the mayor of Camana Bay!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Be good to see some life back in georgetown.

  25. Anonymous says:

    A likely storey.

  26. Anonymous says:

    The Beach Bay development is a tragedy, building taller in George Town should have been done a long time ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      I hate to break it to you, but building taller buildings in GT will only result in more development across the entire island. Expect many many more projects like Beach Bay unless we all make it known that we value Cayman’s natural beauty.

  27. Anonymous says:

    ‘Minister Hew defended the decision, stating that all buildings will still have to go though a planning process’

    Oh my aching sides. I’ll crack the funnies Joey. We all know that ridiculous ‘after the fact’ applications will sail through as usual. Grand Cayman aka Little Miami in 5 years time. Words fail me.

    • Anonymous says:

      Joey Hew has to be voted out of office next election. He does not represent the people. He works exclusively for the interests of the wealthy and the Monaco jet setters that control and own him. Cayman it simple Joey has to go!

      • Anonymous says:

        Joey Hew will be a member of Parliament for at least 20 more years. He will retire as a multi-millionaire. You heard it here first.

      • Anonymous says:

        Even if I have to register a 2X4 with Lands and Survey in Rock Hole, I will vote Joseph Hew out of George Town North.

        Everybody is tired of this, he gives Honorable Ministers everywhere a bad name and is beyond out of order. I heard Monaco is nice during the summer, make sure he goes there in May and don’t come back. Clearly wants citizenship, apparently ours not good enough to have respect for.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I’m all for this but we should incorporate greenery into the buildings much like Singapore does.

  29. Expat married to a Caymanian says:

    There is a huge issue for housing low wage workers. Nannies, construction workers, gardeners all these people to make our so called 1st world life comfortable are struggling to find housing on the barely 6 dollars an hour or so we dont want to pay them.

    They live on shared housing in town to be easily accessible to accommodate our needs. Now we are tearing down their dwellings to build tall buildings for probably 500k a unit or more. How is this problem going to be addressed?

    • Anonymous says:

      Wouldn’t it be nice if the good folks working minium wage and service sector jobs could afford to live in a decent apartment building, rather than living 3 people to a room in a wooden shack.
      Town has needed to be developed for a long time, let’s just hope it’s not all million dollar apartments that remain vacant for 50 weeks a year.

    • Anonymous says:

      old shipping containers, go to the dump but just before you enter the dump stick left, go all the way to the end a brilliant example right there

  30. Anonymous says:

    Once again it proves that our government is more concerned about rich developers than the Caymanian people. Any thoughts on why that is? Could it be looking out for the folks that butter their bread?

    • Anonymous says:

      They don’t even care how it looks anymore, dollar bills are their constituents. #votethemout

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