Ten-storey GT hotel gets provisional go ahead

| 19/07/2021 | 80 Comments
Cayman News Service
Site of proposed hotel, One GT

(CNS): The developers behind One GT, a proposed ten-storey hotel and mixed-use building planned for downtown George Town, are expected to appear before the new Central Planning Authority on Wednesday to confirm they have met the conditions imposed when it was granted planning permission last month. The minutes for that meeting, showing the reasons for the decision, are still not available but next week’s CPA agenda indicates conditional permission was granted on 23 June. The project has raised some wider public concerns but only one formal objection was submitted by those living in and around Goring Avenue.

The application for an $80 million 268,173 sqft hotel with amenities was granted planning permission on the condition that the applicant submits a revised site plan showing the building with a maximum height of ten storeys and 130 feet, as the original documents showed a building that was actually eleven stories as result of an outdoor rooftop restaurant and other facilities. But those amenities constituted another floor under the Development and Planning Regulations. The CPA also required a parking management strategy that provides for 162 parking spaces, including the leases for off-site parking that extend for the duration of the operation of the hotel.

The applicant has submitted these revised plans and the CPA will consider the submission next week.

The project has stirred up controversies in the local community as it is seen as yet another major development changing the character of the island and impacting the infrastructure and traffic without offering any benefits to Caymanians. A major concern is the amount of concrete in George Town dedicated to parking that is inaccessible to most drivers but often unused because of the requirement to meet large parking slot numbers for major buildings.

A letter has also been sent to the planning department from an objector supported by local activists, Amplify Cayman. As the law currently stands, the public’s voice has no weight and cannot be considered in such decisions. The only objections that can be considered in a planning decision are those of the immediate residents, who must in most cases demonstrate a direct detrimental impact on their right to the enjoyment of their property or some contravention of the law.

During a public meeting in 2019 about the proposed George Town revitalization project, government officials pointed out that at that time there were more than 14,000 parking spaces in George Town but most drivers cannot find one. Charles Brown, the senior policy officer in the ministry, said it was the planning law that had created a situation where almost half of the capital’s land is dedicated to parking lots but because they belong to private buildings, many of them go unused.

“The planning law currently requires developers to include parking on or near to the buildings they construct. The problem is that parking is locked up in private parking and is not accessible,” Brown said.

No details were included on the agenda regarding the re-submission, so it is not clear whether or not the developers will lease existing lots or concrete over more land.

See the letter from the objector supported by Amplify Cayman in the CNS Library (scroll down to One GT).


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Category: development, Local News

Comments (80)

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  1. But……… says:

    Millions spent on surveys for the ‘new dock’ which thank God was never built. Cruise ships will be things of the past and Grand Cayman needs to accept that the Tourism Industry has changed.

    This country does not need a 10 level hotel especially since I can bet there will be concessions granted to developers who do not need them. Meanwhile the poor local who if he/she is lucky enough to get a mortgage, will have to pay every cent of import duty and banking fees.

    I feel sorry for our children. Our legacy left for them will be debt, a dead reef, concrete jungle and them being strangers in their own land. Government after Government has promised the moon and delivered Swiss cheese. This one is no different. I had high hopes but not even 6 months after the 2021 election those hopes have evaporated.

    Stay safe.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I hope PACT is prioritising relentless law enforcement on illegal runaway development and that RCIPS has enough handcuffs for each one. All I have to say.

  3. Slacker says:

    FC CIBC is a primary example. They closed the Plaza Venezia branch because of “COVID” and now have about 10 customer parking spots in town, while there are many staff spots sitting empty.

    Of course they HAD to cut back, which is why they set record Billion Dollar profits in the 1st quarter during COVID.

    Banking greed is never-ending.

    • Anonymous says:

      My question is always is there a hook and ladder truck? If not, better think about getting one with all these new high rise buildings.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Imagine the government helping each interested Caymanian to have a BnB in their home, having a star rating for each, and having a Cayman app for this. Imagine having the government train and support Caymanians interested in a tourism business. Imagine the government buying a building like the old Hyatt and turning that into a “mall” with small business spaces for Caymanians. Imagine building the best education facilities, trade and otherwise, where not only Caymanians could learn, but overseas students would bring their family and friends. Imagine a Cayman without cruise ships whose passengers (I suspect) cost more to clean up after (environmentally and trash wise) than the money the government charges the cruise companies. Imagine a Cayman where the old Cayman charm was imbued in every development. I can. What can you imagine?

  5. Anonymous says:

    You morons don’t realize that Cayman has only one leg to stand on and that’s the financial services industry. Once the OECD pummels it into submission the Cayman economy is going to get crushed. Buckle up for the Biden 15% global corporate tax implementation 2023. Cayman needs big real estate and some alternative source of cash flow such as foreigner annual property tax keep the economy above water or else Cayman will turn into little Jamaica in 20 years

  6. Anonymous says:

    As much as I hate to admit it, high rises are the future of this country and rapid development will always be a shining aspect in our economy. All we can do now is make sure Caymanians are given a piece of the pie.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This project must be appealed to the Planning Appeal Tribunal. It must be investigated by the auditor general how the previous cpa board and ppm cabinet made their decision to support it

  8. Anonymous says:

    @CNS Do we know who is behind this particular development?

    CNS: HPW Investments Ltd. I don’t know who is behind that, though.

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess it’s not Housing for Poor Workers then?

    • Anonymous says:

      Same people as Harbour Walk

    • Hubert says:

      Where else in the developed world, in a Capital city, would a major building be built and the general public have no idea who are the people behind the project?

      Does the general public not have the right to know this?

      How do we know if there are not conflicts of interest?

      We really need more transparency on all major new building projects in the Cayman Islands?

  9. Equality says:

    Continuing the Progressives agenda and tourism plan for George Town does not consider housing, neighbourhoods or community. No cruise dock is being built and there is no business case for additional hotel stock with limited or affordable air travel for the masses. Replacing one bad apple with another is short-sighted. CIG have already committed to medical tourism. We must see projects and benefits for Caymanians focused on a circular economy.

    Creating sustainable cities won’t be easy – but with a positive attitude, the right vision and approach, it can be done. This includes affordable housing- hope investors can start there.

    • Anonymous says:

      Medical Tourism is a farce

      • Anonymous says:

        Just today, a report came out that says the medical tourism market is expected to hit US$273 billion globally by 2027. But hey, if some anonymous butthead thinks it’s a farce, we should all listen to him.

      • Anonymous says:

        Medical tourism is not a farce! Plenty local waitresses go on vacation and come back here with new slim bellies and giant behinds and brand new boobs.

  10. Anonymous says:

    believe it or not …high rise devleopment is the future and is the most sustainable.
    too much poorly planned low rise sprawling low quality development in gt already.
    sorry for the political incorrectness

    • Anonymous says:

      Only if you are building to sustain 100K population. Current needs for the struggling population must be met first.

      An overall blueprint of how we should be developing for the future based on our current assets, what can be repurposed, what the needs are and what is forecast would be of benefit to all.

    • Anonymous says:

      Except this is a hotel and not apartments

      • Anonymous says:

        This should help reduce the demand for Airbnb units in the area, and put more rentals back on the market for local residents.

    • D. Truth says:

      High rise Development is the future? I say BULLCRAP! It is the death of Grand Cayman for the people who now live here. …… and will no longer be a lovely place for tourism, and certainly not for the people who will be squeezed out. You”developers” are nothing more than thieves stealing a beautiful island from it’s citizens! Is this the way it’s going to be? If so, I will start looking for another beautiful island to live the remainder of my life. It is the beginning of the end!

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      Under your ideals, welcome to Little CayMiami, charmingly referred to in the future as LCM. What you are saying isn’t politically incorrect, however it is just wrong for these three wee islands.

      Don’t you see that Grand Cayman is already overbuilt, and whatever thread of what once attracted tourism is being lost with every additional tall building? The ongoing shrinking of the Public Beach in SMB is just a symptom of the future.

      Ask me why there is a trend (before and during Covid) toward tourists gravitating to Bermuda and Barbados. I bet you know though. Middle class tourism saves up their money and chooses places to vacation that are markedly different from where they live.

      “Let’s go see tall concrete and steel!” gushed nobody ever.

      • Anonymous says:

        You guys hate middle class tourists. Always have. Just look at the comments about them in here.

        • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

          What “guys”? What broad brush are you trying to paint me with?

          Middle class tourism is the Cayman Islands’ bread and butter! They are the stayover visitors which we most miss, which drove the beloved trickle down to all our pockets!

    • Hubert says:

      So are we going to get a 50 storey in the Seven Mile Beach Corridor next year?

      • Anonymous says:

        If the developers are willing to donate apartments like the Ritz developer did, the then that’s a yes.

  11. Anonymous says:

    All of those buildings that are close by the water – I hope they get regular inspections and keep up with maintenance of their buildings.

    Look at how that twelve story condo in Surfside Florida collapsed in seconds, killing over a 100 people. This happened by corrosion and other elements. The building was not being maintained properly.

    If that happened in Cayman – how would we handle such a catastrophe?

    • anon says:

      11.16am Put our firemen in charge.

    • Anonymous says:

      We going have about 6 hospitals. We got this bobo.

      • Doctor Who says:

        Are we really getting many people from other countries? I don’t think the doctors stay busy now.

    • Anonymous says:

      All too often the developer flips the property and hands liability over to someone else. The concrete here in Cayman is and as far back as I’ve has never been checked for chloride (salt) content. I don’t see aggregate suppliers bending over backwards to ensure their products meet a minimum recommended spec for salt content. From this I hedge that some mult-storey buildings are ticking time bombs going forward the next 15-20 years. This goes for Camana Bay too where so many of its building envelopes either cracked or were not sealed properly in the first place. And they want to build a 50-storey, yeah right and good luck!

  12. jebanks says:

    I would be interested to see the business case for this?

    The other 10 storey reduced to 7 on seven mile beach opposite London House that got approval has still not had a ground breaking?

  13. Anonymous says:

    CPA please deny this application GT does not need this at all

    • Anonymous says:

      They already approved it with conditions, this hearing is to check compliance with the conditions.

    • Anonymous says:

      why?
      please explain or go make an objection

    • Blastmore Ricketts says:

      GT needs this.
      Have you ever been to Hamilton Bermuda?
      Vibrant town at night.
      The place to be and be seen. GT has been dead for decades.

      • Anonymous says:

        a vibrant town requires people who live and work in it from high end to low end…not a tourist hotel. camana bay model, it’s not vibrant and also no longer building a hotel…hmmm #staywoke

      • Anonymous says:

        Hamilton was designed, that’s the difference.

  14. Anonymous says:

    PACT must deny this project at all costs

  15. Anonymous says:

    Disgraceful this Joey Who’s legacy as planning minister

    • Anonymous says:

      He’s no longer planning Minister, and wasn’t when the Planning board allowed this.
      Funny how the PACT group has to face the realities of commercial life and understand where income to run the country comes from.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hahaha! They probably thought their Premier would cover this cost as well.

      • Anonymous says:

        It was the decision of the PPM appointed cpa board not PACT so you know how that goes

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah….but it is the former board that okayed this…with Hew’s support, and Tristan Hyde’s….and Colin Lumsden’s. They all support this hotel.

  16. I get it but... says:

    CNS can you tone down your anti-development agenda please. You could say limited benefits or few benefits to Caymanians, but there will be some benefits, in terms of employment and economic activity.

    The fact of the matter is that several generations of Caymanian children have gone through a failing school system (recent apparent improvement aside) and we have a bloated Civil Service that functions as an employer of last resort.

    Government providing services is necessary but it is not the source of initial economic activity and needs to be paid for by private sector activity.

    Cayman’s model is based on Financial Services, Tourism and in recent years even more heavily on Development.

    We can discuss the Development aspect and well as other areas of the economy, but unless you are willing to accept wide-spread Caymanian unemployment and suffering at the middle class and below tiers of society we will need to continue to have development.

    Maybe we should be having an adult conversation among politicians, business and community about right-sizing the public service and winnowing Caymanians off the teat of Government. Until we do there are literally 1,000s of jobs in the CIG that are being supported by continued building and development.

    • Anonymous says:

      To 10:43 am – You sound like you could be an expat. Cayman is too small for all of this development – we don’t need ten story buildings!

      You speak of uneducated Caymanians – why did you leave your country to come here – did your country believe that you were not educated and that is the reason you left your country to find work in Grand Cayman?

      • Anonymous says:

        The lack of logical thinking in the last sentence … a shining example of a Cayman education?

      • I get it but... says:

        Hey I’m multi-decade driftwood, so maybe my grandkids count as Caymanian by your definition, their parents were born here and they were too.

        Even if I came yesterday (which I haven’t!) what if anything did I say above is factually incorrect.

        We’ve unfortunately had a failing school system for far too long. There are any number of articles available from the 90s to now that have covered this.

        Likely as a result the CIG has been ever expanding and it really is an employer of last resort for many many people and if not then CIG has been directly handing out benefits in ever increasing numbers.

        The bloated Civil Service and NAU/Social programs need to be paid for. Continuing Development is a large part of how this is paid for.

        Rather than attacking me how able some suggestions as to how you right-size things and move to a more sustainable economic model that doesn’t require ever increasing Development to feed the beast we as Caymanian voters have created over the last 30+ years.

      • Anonymous says:

        Huh?

      • Anonymous says:

        So instead of addressing the substance of the post, you simply attack the person making the point based on their nationality?

        Maybe racism and xenophobia isn’t really the quickest way to a solution?

        The mere fact of it is that Cayman, like any country needs to generate income. The primary sources here are:

        (a) financial services
        (b) tourism
        (c) development and real estate.

        Funnily enough all of which rely on foreigners and foreign capital.

        Cayman is a wonderful place with wonderful people and there’s a lot that it can offer expats, but I do wonder what some of these racists on here think the public purse would look like if they through all the driftwood out?

  17. Pecuniary Intere$t$ 101 says:

    What current or former politicans and public officers have any interests in the successful outcome for this One GT project?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Morons

  19. Morgan says:

    You only need to look at the Watermark Development on West Bay road for another unnecessary variance….I don’t think those buildings and the bridge supports are sufficient distance from the road? Ignoring setbacks? Does planning enforcement actually get their tape measures out? Another 10 story monster!

    • JDempsey says:

      The setback from the road is likely a variance that was granted, but frankly, if that’s the price to pay to ensure ALL development is pulled further back from the waterline, then I think that’s fine. The major threat to Cayman is people building right on top of the Ocean, such that the sand ridge gets eroded over time…

    • Anonymous says:

      there is only one planning enforcement officer, if that assists your question.

  20. Stop the Sand Pirates of Goring Avenue NOW! says:

    Close this foolishness down ! The developers of this project conflict of interest minions who sat on the last planning board should be investigated. Even the additional property acquisition is conflicted and tantamount to corruption.Show some metal CPA and put the SAND Pirates of Goring Avenue out of business for a least 4years I know one MP will be balling bout he friends!

  21. Anonymous says:

    If you build it “THEY” will come. And they will take over. Caymanians do not have what it takes to survive in the modern world along side modern educated people. Their only hope is to turn Cayman back to third world. The pact plan is working. No work for Caymanians sounds better when there is no work for anyone. Soon come. Stop visitors, stop building, stop buying, stop working, stop caring, stop eating. Soon come.

    • Anonymous says:

      Here,let me elaborate on your best line for you 10:01a;
      Caymanians do not have what it takes to survive in the modern GREEN world along side modern educated people.
      Worldwide countries are taking gigantic leaps to try to make things more green and sustainable. Getting away from things that damage our ecosystem.

      Why can’t we try TRY to make this a better place??? Sure it may cost a bit more but in the long run, it benefits EVERYONE, not just those that have the money to break planning rules and get them pushed for approval.

      • anon says:

        11.16am I’m a 50+ year expat (residence that is) and I could not agree more. Just look at the concrete palace from Fin Dev, and the 200ft of ironshore they ripped up and replaced with yet more concrete, an absolute affront to a green and natural world.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have news for you: my generation is as educated and capable as any in any developed country. Some of us are already in management and others rapidly rising. Cayman will thrive under our watch.

  22. Senor Verde says:

    Amend regulations to require installation of solar panels cover for outdoor parking that occupies more than 15 spaces. They would generate green electricity and ameliorate the heat island effect, besides keeping cars cool.

  23. Say it like it is. says:

    Will they be allowed to make a mockery of the landscaping requirements in the Planning Laws, like the Fin Development with nothing but concrete along the front of the development and precious little greenery behind it?.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fin set the precedent. You can officially build as close to the boundaries including the sea as you like. And feel free to pour concrete over everything.

      • Anonymous says:

        If facts or societal circumstances are different between two applications then that is good reason not to apply the same precedent. Fin is a template precedent of what not to grant the next time!

      • Anonymous says:

        And not bother fixing the public roads you destroyed in the process.

      • Chris Johnson says:

        Actually there are several other precedents like the fishmongers and Kel Thompson plus another project on south church street, as it was called then For those of us who have been around the block one government several years ago banned building on the Ironshore in town. As is normal the next government reversed the decision. Most likely vested interests abounded.

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