GT 10-storey hotel to tower over 19th century home

| 22/06/2021 | 119 Comments
Cayman News Service
Site of proposed hotel, One GT

(CNS): The developers behind a proposed $80 million ten-storey hotel in downtown George Town that exceeds the maximum height would tower over an old Caymanian house built in 1865 if the Central Planning Authority gives the project the green light. Representatives for HPW Investments Ltd, the applicants for what has been named “One GT”, are expected to appear before the CPA on Wednesday to address concerns that the rooftop amenities would make this eleven storeys and that there would be inadequate parking. An objection has also been submitted by a neighboring landowner who said his 19th century family home would be negatively impacted.

The previous landowners received planning permission in 2009 for a four-storey office building that never progressed and the land has since been sold. The plan for the current project on Goring Avenue was reported on CNS in May, when the application was submitted to planning and a small notice appeared in the local press. Readers largely responded negatively to the project, which was seen by many as yet another major development changing the character of the island and impacting the infrastructure and traffic without offering any benefits to Caymanians.

According to the submissions, the project is higher than the current law permits and the planning department has said the plan would need to be revised to address the height and number of floors. Planning has also calculated that the parking falls short by 77 spaces. However, finding additional parking for the project may clash with government’s own plans for George Town, which include the pedestrianization of the area near the hotel and reduction in cars in the downtown commercial areas, where government is encouraging more mixed-use development.

While the area is zoned ‘General Commercial’, amendments to the law in the closing months of the last administration paved the way for an increase in building height and mixed-use projects in the capital. Comments from the planning and tourism departments indicate that if the building is reduced in height and the parking issues are addressed, this hotel is likely to get the go-ahead.

In their review of the application, planning officials said, “It should also be noted that the proposed development will contribute to the Government initiated George Town Revitalization Plan to enhance the capital area of the Cayman Islands… The issue of allowing a hotel in the General Commercial zone has previously been accepted by the Authority for the hotel on North Church Street currently under construction.”

Submissions from the Department of Tourism also concluded broadly in support of the project because of the economic impact it could have on tourism in the capital: “This hotel will provide stay-over visitors with an alternative location away from the more densely built and populated areas of Seven Mile Beach. The proposed development could act as an economic stimulus to George Town given the pause in cruise tourism due to the threat of COVID-19 and the impact this has had on businesses reliant on cruise passenger clientele.”

See Wednesday’s CPA agenda in the CNS Library (scroll down to One GT).

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (119)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    All my overseas clients ask why they can’t stay downtown when they come. Nothing more soothing than the sound of container trucks rumbling by all through the night…

  2. veryimportantperson says:

    Miami high rise building collapse

    Read the article by Jeff Goodell called “Goodbye Miami” re: rising sea levels and the foundation on which Miami’s buildings are built. Not a good scenario. There will be many more buildings placed in jeopardy because of rising sea levels. So sorry for those who died. What a nightmare for their families. Also, thinking of the rescue personnel. They are putting their lives in danger to search for the missing and deceased.

    Cayman keeps approving high rises without ANY regard to the above. Plus it has very limited and unprofessional human and equipment resources to conduct rescue.

    • Freeradical in Miami says:

      Over the years, Mother Nature has been ‘renovating’ the Beachfront, . . . the Condos have not kept up : (

    • Anonymous says:

      It is the salt air that causes the rebar in the concrete to breakdown. Newer buildings use treated rebar but the older buildings are constantly being repaired. I lived in a condo on the beach and we had a special assessment to cover all of the concrete work to keep the building structurally sound. Living by the ocean or any body of water is really damaging to structures.

    • Anonymous says:

      Miami-Dade fire has one of the best urban search and rescue teams in the world and they have been on the scene for hours searching for victims and survivors.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, we’ve got USAR FL Task Force 1 and 2. These guys are pulling 12 hour shifts and they have to be pulled off when their shifts end because they don’t want to quit. God bless these dedication men, women and K9s.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is anyone in CIG paying attention to what happened in Surfside FL last week with the deadly collapse of high rise condo on reclaimed land? Is there anyhonest inspection system in place in Cayman especially for these new oceanfront complexes with underground parking???

  3. Anonymous says:

    Keep building high-rises, but check Champlain Towers South collapse in Miami. And building codes are strongly enforced in the USA.

    Building hundreds feet away from the water line on a small rock in the path of the annual hurricanes, could eventually lead to some structural failures.

    Who conducts annual inspections of high rise buildings for structural integrity?

    • Anonymous says:

      Construction in Miami in the 80s was notoriously bad. Most of the buildings built in that. Time Have had to have infrastructure retrofitted, balconies rebuilt etc. etc. The salt air only exacerbates the problem.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’d prefer a vertical farm over a hotel.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why instead can’t a developer just raise the old glass house or gut it and reuse the bones? The location is ideal for a business hotel and if a PPP is created might bring in valuable revenue for both parties. Why is CIG still sitting on this derelict structure?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Better up than sideways.

  7. Anonymous says:

    If we build it, they won’t come.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Kenny did make a lot of noise when Hew was in charge. I hope that they realize that the people now monitors their work ethics a lot closer than we did in the past.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like more fkn traffic

  10. Anonymous says:

    high rise is the future of sustainable development…get used to it.
    cayman policy of low-rise urban sprawl has been a disaster.
    just let the planning porcess take its course….object for valid reasons if you want….. a neighbouring tin roof shack should not be one of them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cheers Capt Obvious, where else would sustainable development go but “upwards” on a rock the size of a small village?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why keep building for tourists? The borders are closed indefinitely and those tourists are getting very used to going elsewhere.

    • Anonymous says:

      To poster 6.37 “object for valid reasons if you want….. a neighbouring tin roof shack should not be one of them.” That right there is one reason we continue to have division between locals and expats. Such disdain and disrespect for a persons home is outright snobbish.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Al’T is shining up the rubber stamp for tomorrow.

  12. Anonymous says:

    When are we going to change the Planning Board? This has to be done as soon as legally possible.. We cannot have another 4 years with this bunch.

  13. Concerned Citizen says:

    Please be mindful of what is happening on the island. Development is now the second leg of our economy thus if it fails makes the gov issues even more. What should I do with my land? What will you do with your land?

  14. Anonymous says:

    I think they missed the mark with The Grove, but projects like that and Harbour Walk downtown would do a lot for revitalising the core.

    Some retail and live/work artisan studios on the ground floor, offices on the second, and studio and one bed apartments on the next two.

    • Anonymous says:

      This would be so amazing and is the way of the future. But also the reason Cayman will NOT get on board. We always coming in on the 3rd tier of everything.
      We wouldn’t want to use a great idea fRoM An eXpAt…

    • Anonymous says:

      Same developers as Harbour Walk…

    • anonymous says:

      The Grove is amazing and congratulations to the developers and in particularly the Architect, Robert Johnson. Who needs overseas designers and architects.

  15. Anonymous says:

    You know what! Out of all the development happening on this island this may be the one that makes the most impact, if they turn it into apartments and make them affordable. Let’s be honest the developer wants to make money so they can’t be cheap but having middle class families living in GT would make Resturants bars shops in the area step up a level and will make another options besides camana bay. It could bring a city type living to cayman. Walk out apartment an walk to work walk to dinner. Could be nice- will probably only be for the Rich tho

  16. Anonymous says:

    Not a squeak from social media guru Kenny B. His district his ministry?

  17. Reverse the new zoning laws immediately says:

    Why would the planning commission upzone people’s properties to allow for increased density at the expense of the Caymanian general populace without allowing the public to share the increased value benefits?

    I say, revoke what the last government did with regards to upzoning in their last few months in power and only allow increased density if at least half of the increased value is shared with the populace and addresses affordable housing, roads, schools, mass transit, etc.

  18. Anonymous says:

    All I can say is that I hope the PACT government is prioritising relentless law enforcement on illegal runaway development and that RCIPS has enough handcuffs each one.

  19. Anonymous says:

    This is the time that smaller properties can be paid big money. But of course anyone can ask them if they would help any family member or possibly build a 10 story apt complex next to them and sell 2 bed/ 2 bath for $250?
    How about this, a group of like minded people invest in a low cost 10 story apartments? Add swimming pools, children’s park. How about the glass house property? Say 300 apartments?
    Instead of complaining why don’t you be the solution. You all sound well educated. Build it in a Caribbean style?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Will someone please remind us of what happened to the Tower Building ?

    • Anonymous says:

      They need to pave paradise, and put up a parking lot.

      • Anonymous says:

        We are getting there..PPM started the paving, we just couldn’t get them to build the parking lot..not enough money in it for them..

    • Anonymous says:

      Or the Glasshouse, or the Scotia building…

      • Anonymous says:

        I actually LOVE the Glass House. It really is a beautiful building. Was very posh when it was first completed. Such a shame it wasn’t properly looked after and kept up in order to keep it viable. What kind of ignorance allows a complete building to have to be torn down???
        But hey! That’s what happens to any property (includes vehicles!!) that you let age and defunct things fester.
        My car is 25+ years old and runs like a top. People tell me I need a new one.. WHY??
        Take care of your sh!t people!! It can last for several generations.

        • Anonymous says:

          Seek help.

        • Chris Johnson says:

          My car is almost 40 years old. No turbo and fancy stuff such as power steering. When no rain you will see it.Has an Ash wooden frame and Aluminum body. No rust. Try using a Morgan.

        • Anonymous says:

          The glass house was just a heat generating box that cost thousands every year to cool down.
          An ill considered and inappropriate design for the tropics.

  21. Tourism junkie. says:

    If this comes to fruition then it will be a great addition to our room stock!

  22. Anonymous says:

    This seems fishy. A hotel in central GT won’t get a lot of business. People come here for the beach, regardless if it’s a business trip or not. Someone said this could be a ploy to increase the land value of the area. And if this was really to help revitalize town, then build apartments to bring residents in, not temporary visitors.

  23. Joy says:

    When is PACT going to do something about this farce of a Planning Board? They almost never reject an applications, no matter how egregious the development. They just rubberstamp anything that is presented. Members of the current CPA are leaving a shameful legacy that we will all have to live with for decades to come.

    • Anonymous says:

      Now we’ll see if all the PACT worshippers dreams will come true…no more planning permits.

    • Anonymous says:

      You could have just stopped after the first six words.

    • neverwannabeapolitician says:

      Pact is an act.They are spending all their time on the Plan, but still can’t produce it. They are in retreat in their Retreat.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Make it an apartment building instead. Easy walking access to business in GT.

    • Anonymous says:

      I also wonder why not an apartment building first? That will revitalize life into downtown. A hotel without any amenities near it will struggle.

      • Anonymous says:

        HPW, Fire your current Investment Analyst! Even the folks on CNS can see apartments are a better land-use proposition given the current circumstances. And will do more to instantly “revitalize” George Town, than waiting for COVID-19 to subside and tourism to return. But then again you people never plan your investment strategies to be inward-looking and allow the local/resident population to benefit.

      • Anonymous says:

        City living could be nice

      • Anonymous says:

        The amenities will come as soon as there’s the captive market of the apartment building. The corners came before the corner shops.

    • Anonymous says:

      22/06 @ 1:09 pm – Bet that’s what it will turn-out to be, another over-priced condo development! What is the market for a down-town hotel in these uncertain times?

      Watch for “Change-of-use” applications and/or “after-the-fact” approvals!

    • Anonymous says:

      Ha please, the prices would be so exorbitantly high only off Islands elites would be able to afford them.

      • Anonymous says:

        Lol – I know. Some people posting here think they would build affordable house on prime real estate in central George Town!

  25. Two Cents says:

    A preview of things to come – Still standing, still occupied: Little house swallowed by Gables mega development

  26. Anonymous says:

    They must add underground parking under the hotel. Many buildings in cayman have underground parking.

  27. Anonymous says:

    We need an honest CPA……… one that thinks more about Caymanians than money.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Who wants to stay in crime central? Let’s be honest, no one walks alone after dark in central GT that doesn’t have to.

    • Anonymous says:

      What gated community in the suburbs did you grow up in that you think walking in town is scary? I wish I had your privilege, but thankful I have none of your cowardice.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I think we should just build a 100 storey tower right in the middle of George town.

    It will be excellent fun on the 100th floor in the middle of a cat 5 hurricane!!!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Parking and hotels in Cayman are impossible to understand. There is no excuse to not demand adequate parking for all new hotels. The current requirements a woefully inadequate yet developers come in asking for a variance for less than the regs ask for. Look at what happens when there is an event at the Ritz. Wet Bay Road turns into parking with people parking on the side of the road infringing on the traffic lanes. Change the regulations to mandate sufficient parking and do not give variances to that ,

    • Anonymous says:

      If we remove more mangrove, we can have plenty of parking.

    • Anonymous says:

      And why have they blocked the adjacent connector road, between West Bay road & the bypass?
      The hotel is closed. Open that road!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Private property.

        • Anonymous says:

          You can thumb down the poster all you like – it’s true. Not a public road. Never adopted by the government. Sole purpose was to provide access to the golf club back before they built the ETH.

    • Anonymous says:

      Look what happened to the Ritz. They somehow took over what was previously a public-used road between West Bay Road and the bypass because they don’t have enough parking otherwise.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cars parked on West Bay Road! Oh no! That’s terrible. You must have been horribly inconvenienced!

      • Anonymous says:

        When they park with one third or more of the vehicle actually in the active traffic lane it is not only an inconvenience it is a safety hazard.

        • Anonymous says:

          If you can’t drive around 1/3 of a car at 25mph on a 3 lane road then you are the safety hazard.

  31. Anonymous says:

    After 30 years in Cayman, I still haven’t seen any type of comprehensive development plan. It is all ad hoc. I recall all the hoopla, time and money that went in to Vision 2008. Where is that report now?

  32. Anonymous says:

    This will be built same time as Ironwood.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. This is just a veiled attempt to increase the land value by getting a project approved. This will NEVER get built, and no vacationer is going to want to stay in a downtown, inland tower, within walking distances of absolutely nothing.

      I have zero worry that this will progress.

      (Put it in the Ironwood, East End Mandarin Oriental, downtown ice arena, Beach Bay resort….etc bucket).

      • Anonymous says:

        The world renowned bayshore mall is nearby!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        I guess you must have never visited any of the hundreds of shops on the waterfront currently closed and awaiting the cattle ships return.

      • Anonymous says:

        Grand Hyatt

      • Annonymous says:

        This is being built by the developer behind HarborWalk so it will 100% get built if planning approves it. It should be approved because the only thing counterbalancing the Country against the Dart hotel monopoly are private projects such as this. More room stock is sorely needed and downtown NEEDS business accommodation for those coming for business, it has been a problem here for years. Thank God for an entrepreneur like this willing to take a risk off the beach. The little house from the 1865 needs to move over or come down. We as a nation need to stop trying to spare every termite and roach infested rathole and start making a path for the success and progress of the nation. In 100 years I hope our great-grand children take down this 10 story hotel to make for a 40 story one. Sentimentality is for the weak of mind. Progress is for the young and good.

        • Anonymous says:

          The business travellers I know have never complained about the distance from SMB to GT but they have complimented their room views or the beach.

          • Anonymous says:

            100% agree. I have never had an off island client say, “Gee its too bad there is not a business hotel in Central GT”.

          • Anonymous says:

            Pre-COVID I travelled extensively around the Caribbean for work. At least once every two weeks. I always stayed in touristic areas, I don’t need the risk associated with being in a high crime area. Whoever is behind this needs to get real feasibility advice. Current construction costs vs ADR/ occupancy makes no sense.

            • Anonymous says:

              maybe they got the same advice as Health City locating in East End – who only now realise it’s out of the way of the main population and moving things to the over crowded West side… to be joined by Aster – who got the same advisors as Health City… history seems to repeat itself rather too often…

              • Anonymous says:

                To be fair, Health City if it took off by its original design was in the right location. But for serving locals it is not in the right place, obviously, and it particularly does not make sense to have the specialist life-savers it employs an hour away from most of the people.

        • Anonymous says:

          Harbour Walk is a piece of crap. Will for right in with Grand Harbour.

    • rollinrick says:

      Well your both wrong on this as those projects were in terrible locations.

      GT centre will get this hotel because its nicely gentrified already…remaining riff raff are on notice to get outta town….lookin at you fish market!

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