Ministry secured fair price for waterfront land

| 25/03/2022 | 121 Comments
Waterfront property purchased by CIG

(CNS): The Ministry of Tourism’s response to a freedom of information request shows that government secured a reasonable price for the property it recently acquired on the George Town waterfront. The land, purchased last year from Cayman Falls, cost the public purse CI$5.6 million, which was $550,000 less than the asking price of CI$6.15M and $140,000 less than its “fair market value”.

The land will be used for a new tourist attraction and training centre and aims to encourage more local people into hospitality and present a true Cayman face to visitors.

According to the documents released by the Lands and Survey Department and Cabinet, the purchase of the land was approved last December. It is just over one acre and located across the street from Kirk’s Supermarket on North Church Street, next door to the Coral Sands Resort.

Independent valuations completed for Cayman Falls assessed the property as worth between US$7M and US$7.9M (CI$5.74M to CI$6.478M, converted at 0.82). It was listed by CEREBA for US$7.5M (CI$6.15M).

According to the documents, the government’s chief valuation officer concluded it had a real market value of around CI$5.74 million and was able to negotiate the final price of CI$5.6 million. “Similar parcels rarely come onto the market, thus, it is typically them to attract a premium,” the independent valuers contracted by the government said in their report.

Although there are some old rundown buildings on the property, which are being used largely as residential rental units, the purchase was based purely on the land. However, the ministry has said it intends to use the existing buildings as it redevelops the site.

Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan explained to Parliament last year that the land had been purchased to develop a new tourism, entertainment and leisure area that will accommodate restaurants, bars, a stage and possibly the Craft Market, while doubling up as a training centre for young Caymanians seeking a career in hospitality.

An additional CI$1M has also been set aside to begin work on the site, which has still to acquire planning permission. Speaking during the budget debate, Bryan said that the proposed project would utilize the concrete and wooden buildings already on the land.

He has said it is a great location for this new “visionary project”, which will go on to generate sufficient revenue to fund itself.

“The benefits of this site and the government’s vision for it are almost too numerous to mention,” he told Parliament. “But most importantly, it is an investment in our people that will provide reoccurring benefit to current and future generations of Caymanians.”

See the documents relating to the purchase in the CNS Library.

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Category: Business, Government Finance, Politics, Tourism

Comments (121)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ernie Smatt property is the wrong place to put in public facilities. we need it in the center of town.benches all over the sea side and near stores, bars and restaurants. If you make that a public area it will have drug dealers and the wrong people.
    The beach in Hogsty bay is traditional, cultural and the best place to go. Make everybody including the tourists use it and make GT great again. Old people remember when the Merrens and others use to walk to town and hang out and talk to friends and neighbors with their children. Close the streets so children and elderly have someplace to go.
    The rest can use Walkers and Smith roads.2 lanes into to town before 6am-12pm and 2 lanes out of town 12:01pm-6am.
    Want more beach, ask Gov’t to buy on the South side of Cayman around Frank Sound. Cheaper land can be bought for the same price spent for Ernies’ property. They could buy a mile of beach for the future. Do what Derrington Miller did at his apts. on the beach in Old Man Bay. He dug up the sand inside of the iron shore and made a pool with salt water through a small cut. It only needs to be 41/2 feet deep.

    • Anonymous says:

      In talking to Chris Johnson, the owner of the fish market he said he offered to put the land in trust for perpetuity for the people of the Cayman Islands provided the fishermen relocate. He wants to see more people using the beach. This sounds like a good deal. Why has government turned it down.


    GIVE IT TO THE NATIONAL TRUST. I think government should clear the land, landscape it with native trees. Don’t plant buildings and concrete side walks on it. Leave it as natural as can be. Then give it to the NATIONAL TRUST to upkeep. The National Trust is less influenced by political parties.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sadly, the NT has been hijacked by a handful of extremists and is no longer credible as a result.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I saw quite a few tourists today trying to hitch a ride. Maybe putting 5 million into public transport or a decent taxi service would be better.

  4. Anonymous says:

    There are actually people living in the caboose and sleeping on the porch of the Catboat Club next door and this is what Kenny thinks we should be spending our money on?

  5. Courtney Platt says:

    I’m worried that instead of solving the long standing problem of boat trailer parking at the White Hall Bay (aka Lobster Pot) boat ramp, this may exacerbate the issue. I need to see a map of the property in question to know if this abuts against the current parking lot there and how it might affect boat trailer parking. If so, has trailer parking been considered at all? This is the only good boat ramp on the west side of the island.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Courtenay I can answer your question. There is one plot of land between the White Hall Bay land and the land purchased by government. It is marked off by boulders. The land purchased by CIG is 1.05 acres, not 2 acres as described in the Compass. After parking and setbacks etc you cannot do much with it. Certainly it represents another traffic hazard.
      The land was previously owned by the late Ernie Smatts who paid $1.8m for it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Courtney Platt – If you visit the community boat-launch site in North Side and see the vast (excessive) parking area for truck & trailers which Minister Jay has implemented, you would not have any worries about the same at the N. Church Street site.

      Do you think Kenny will let Jay upstage him with parking? Watch for Govt to buy more property so Kenny can get a similar parking lot!

      We know how these people think when it involves public funds!! Gimme, gimme!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Don’t forget the random assortment of broken chairs.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well done CIG. Buying prime land should be a priority to these islands. Only way to stop more sky scrappers being sold to Russian shell companies. Please keep it up. I would happily be taxed to expedite this process. Buy back Barkers next please.

  8. Anonymous says:

    @8:32am..Geesh you have a real way with words…First it’s Kenneth Bryan not “Bryant.” Secondly, Mike Adam has nothing to do with the Turtle Farm. The Turtle Farm is managed by Mike’s brother Timmy..

    Hope this helps for next time you post..

    For the record I agree with you, I say clear the land of those old house, landscape it and put a couple of park benches for people to sit and watch the sunset.

    • Well done says:

      This is going to hurt the taxi and tour operators who depend
      On transporting tourist to the beach. Well done kenneth putting more Caymanians out of work.

      • Anonymous says:

        @8:13am..seriously you think the tourists are going to use that iron shore for a beach..They will still want to go where there is white sand and water where they can swim..

      • Anonymous says:

        Get rid of the taxis and do UBER or FLEX. Every time I get a taxi, it’s some miserable woman dropping her middle aged daughter to work or an old man who doesn’t even say anything but grunts the price when you get to your destination.

        The days of Caymanians driving taxis are long gone. Most of the drivers now are Jamaican Caymanians and they drive and act just like they do in Jamaica..and don’t get me started on the bus drivers..ugh!

        • Anonymous says:

          Flex doesn’t have a solution. I tried 12x this morning – same fail that ended in canceling my fare – and ended up calling a cab.

  9. anonymous says:

    This piece of land is far too small. Bear in mind all the setback requirements for new buildings, car parking space, taxi ranks and a sidewalk there will not be much left. In addition a sidewalk is badly needed from town. Only two people have made any effort to build sidewalks, the owners of the fish shack building and the owner of Red Spot Bay.
    Another mad idea from Bryan.

  10. Hancock says:

    Hope Bryan got CPA permission for the sign.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I see all the negative comments on here and every time I look on social media there are complaints about developers taking every piece of land and developing it.

    Would it have been better to just let DART buy this and develop something to block our view or maybe continue to destroy the ironshore?

    Sometimes I think some of us Caymanians should just stop complaining because we will never be pleased. I

    My only wish is that the government can continue buying up the waterfront land and that if anything ever goes on them that those properties are leased for periods of less than ten years and in fact should be left alone so that we can continue to see our beautiful sea when driving down town.

    Any Government land that we own now should never ever be sold. There is too little of it left.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dart is not stupid enough to pay that kind of money for an old piece of ironshore.

      • Anonymous says:

        @7:37am..So exactly where is the “new ironshore” that CIG should be purchasing vz this old one. …Usually DART will just dig up the ironshore and put a cement wall in its place..Is this the new “ironshore” that you are talking about? I prefer the natural “old ironshore” without all the cements..Looks nicer.

        • Anonymous says:

          Would you be so kind as to provide us with examples of instances where Dart has removed ironshore?

          • Anonymous says:

            Right in front of his hotel. Maybe you call it beach rock.

            • Anonymous says:

              Cool story. No truth to it of course but cool story all the same.

            • Anonymous says:

              Yeah well a) he didn’t remove it it – was allowed to cut a sample channel and the. Refused permission, so cancelled his plan fr another beach front hotel and b) beach rock is completely different from iron shore – one is eroded limestone and above water and the other is a sedimentary rick largely composed of sand cement o together. Sorry to interrupt your anti Dart rant with facts but….

  12. Anonymous says:

    one simple question:
    why would you use prime ocean front real estate to set up a hospitality training centre?
    will wait for answers.

  13. Anonymous says:

    At least we can physically see where the 5 million went…what about the 40 million on advertising for tourism????

  14. Anonymous says:

    It’s good to see this current government administration is buying Land. Former ones sold our crown land for little as nothing or gave it away. This Government needs to invest in relocating governmental public administrative responsibilities by building District Government Administration Buildings in West Bay and another for the Eastern Districts. Which could house many Government agencies under one roof that is used daily by people from the outlying districts. EG: NAU, Credit Union, Social Services, Passport and Police Records, Civil Court, Vichicular license and registration.The benefits. Less traffic, more community employment, and the postive socio/economic impact it will have on the Community as a whole.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Future hang out spot for drinkers, druggies and unemployed. Give it 1 year before it is totally neglected and a complete eyesore.

    • anonymous says:

      Good place to relocate the Fish Market so cruise ship passengers can get access to Red Spot Bay instead of getting mixed up in the tents and crap. That place looks terrible and the government should clean the place up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Future? You haven’t been by there recently I guess.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why so negative? Should we just have let DART buy it and put up a ten story gated building where no one could get access or none of us could even sit on a bench and watch the sunset?

      There is a piece of land on the other side of the port across from Guy Harveys that although chained up, many people go to watch the sunset..It is up top us to keep it nicely kept up. Government bought the land, it is on us to keep it clean and safe..We can’t always have the government spoon feeding us..

  16. Anonymous says:

    The key phrase here from Kenny Bryant is, “ He has said it is a great location for this new “visionary project”, which will go on to generate sufficient revenue to fund itself.” if you believe that then talk to Mike Adam’s at the Turtle Farm, never turned a profit and never will. Also, better have the Emt’s set up a station there as the over fed and damn near dead crowd Can’t walk that far.

  17. Anonymous says:

    You just know this isn’t legitimate and there’s vested personal interests all over it.

    Likely be another CIG sponsored shambles.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Visionary = An idea we have that we think is a good one, but have no idea will actually work. But we can’t say that because we used millions of dollars of public funds, so we had better call it ‘visionary’, sounds much better than what it really is.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Total disgrace, but what more can you expect from the pact government. They are packed alright.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Not one single piece or real estate in Grand Cayman has been sold for a fair price in at a least the last ten years.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not true! I recently purchased 5 acres for under 60k. Stroke of luck, but it is possible, if you’re local and make the right connections.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Government needs to purchase more properties like this throughout the districts. The few little beachfront or waterfront properties we have are not enough and many are too small.

    Caymanians will soon not be able to go down to the water or sit on a beach like we used to muchless drive by and see the open water. I would support any government that secures land in perpetuity for our people. It is fast being taken away from us.

    Good job PACT Government. I support you on this one.

  22. Anonymous says:

    This was a good purchase but I say clear it of those old buildings and leave it alone so we can actually see the sea in years to come. No need to build anything on it.

  23. Anonymous says:

    How many acres of Central Mangrove Land could that CI$6.6 Million have purchased?

    Shame! on you PACT!

    • Anonymous says:

      @5.09pm Do you realize how much Central Mangrove land the Country has and how very little waterfront it has?

      This was a good thing on the part of the PACT government and I am a Progressive member. Sometimes we too have to swallow our pride when we see good things being done.

      I hope the PACT Government will look now to purchase any beach land left on the Seven Mile Beach as it is fast being taken away from us.

      I give them Kudos for this one.

      • Anonymous says:

        Four Mile Beach cannot be taken away from us. We have prescriptive rights. Insist on them, all day, every day, at it will be fine. Give nothing. Not an inch. Fro sea to vegetation line it belongs to all of us, in addition to the registered proprietor.

        • Anonymous says:

          @8:59am There is nothing left between the sea and vegetation line..You may need to re-think that one..

    • Anonymous says:

      @5:09pm..Not saying that we shouldn’t buy more Central Mangrove Land but the Government and DART owns most of it now and I’m pretty sure DART would rather destroy it then sell it to the Government. The rest is owned by many unscrupulous developers that are chomping at the bit to clear and fill them when now one is looking.

      The Government in my opinion did a good thing here and the price is fair based on current real estate prices. In my opinion though, they need to focus more on purchasing more beachland for future Caymanians to enjoy. Right now we have one little sliver left of Seven Mile beach that is slowly being surrounded by DART and will soon be relinquished to Cruise Ship passengers as they no longer have anywhere to go. There are still a few parcels of beach land left on Seven Mile beach that our Government should focus on purchasing. In a few years our visitors and locals will be forced to stay as guests in one of the Seven Mile hotels or condos just to have access to the beach.

      In the other districts they need to buy acreage not lots and set them aside as public beaches. The Thomas Russell beach in Bodden Town but was small to begin with and now too small for him just one family to enjoy. Cayman is growing and Caymanians are slowly being forced inland, soon we will be the ones living in the Central Mangroves. It’s time to think long term and what is best for Cayman and Future generations.

    • Tony Stank says:

      The funds may have been better used for a weather radar system that has been out of service for almost a year.

      Good thing we dont need a radar aystem.

  24. Anonymous says:

    At least the eyesore may get improved.

  25. Anonymous says:

    The deal is done. If Kenny Beach is going to be a success, tear down the buildings, clear the land, plant some shade trees, put in some picnic benches and some bathrooms.

    That is all the cruise ship passengers really want.

  26. Anonymous says:

    This training centre should not be in a busy town centre? More congestion!

    • Anonymous says:

      Very true!

    • Anonymous says:

      Any parking there,? Or will the taxis and buses line along the already congested road to add to traffic gridlock.?
      Somebody did somebody a favor here, and somebody got a handout over this deal. None of it makes any rational sense, and Kenny grasping at straws to justify this idiocy.
      Wa gwan UDP..let’s have the truth.

    • Anonymous says:

      “National Dominoes Training Centre”

  27. Anonymous says:

    What a waste….where was the business case? And how much is budgeted to build this training centre…? How much more is to be spent, can’t see that in the cabinet minutes? Why could they not use the former tower building site?

  28. Anonymous says:

    This is like those canal lots in Rackley that a certain developer kept in his name but “allowed” certain politicians to use as if they owned it until they left office and then transferred the properties to them all for certain little favors

    • Anonymous says:

      And the Governor grinned. And the Commissioner said the crime situation was stable, and the Attorney General….


  29. Anonymous says:

    I love how they mentioned the property comes with rundown buildings and gov is like yup we gonna use those.

    Crazy way to spend money, not an ideal location for a training site, traffic will be even more of a nightmare.

    Imagine what they could have built for that much money inland on a cheaper lot for training young Caymanians.

    Ah well, the rich get richer.

  30. Anonymous says:

    at least they not buying beach front land for more cemeterys…
    but cig will fail as usual with whatever they do with it.

  31. Anonymous says:

    what is a ‘real’ market value? is it the opposite of fake?

  32. Anonymous says:

    Well done Kenneth at least it’s own by caymanian

    • Anonymous says:

      You think Kenny did this honestly ? He couldn’t come up with an original idea if he tried. Convicted criminals should not be in government. Just saying…

      • Anonymous says:

        Twice convinced criminals too.

        While I was dealing cocaine at the night clubs I was considering running for my districts MLA seat too.

      • Anonymous says:

        “Do yo think Kenny did this honestly”.?….
        Honestly, do you think Kenny, did this.?
        The answer to both questions is the same,

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      He wasted your money on land while your children suffer a poor education in an overlooked and underfunded public school system.

      • Anonymous says:

        Underfunded? They spend more money per pupil than the private schools. It’s not the funding that’s the problem.

        • Anonymous says:

          Considering that the money isn’t actually spent on the pupils. You might want to investigate how they come to those figures. The children don’t have text books so where is the money going? Perhaps, its the wasted money on buildings and Julie is building another one. Also increase in teacher salaries, hiring more aides, etc

  33. Anonymous says:


  34. Anonymous says:

    It will be interesting to see who owns the restaurant and bars…

    • Anonymous says:

      The honwobble speaker has some experience in bars, perhaps he can be a consultant to his protege Kenny.

  35. Money2Burn says:

    Here we go. Boatswains Beach 2.0!

    Endless cycle of CIG money wasting in order to provide “Island Theatre” for the $50 a day cruise visitors.

  36. Anonymous says:

    This is a great idea! Finally some vision. I better not see any other nationality there or hear any accents other than a Caymanian one. Seeing is believing!!!

  37. Fed up Caymanian says:

    5+ Million for a piece of land to please cruise ship
    tourists on island for an average of 2-3 hrs while local residents have to struggle with horrific traffic daily for such a small island. Note to government, stop funding fruitless projects and invest into to better ideas, such as a proper transportation system that will provide a benefit to your OWN people.

    Government thinking: 2 years of no cruise ships, let us put millions into a project for tourist. 10+ years of traffic problems and constant complaints, lets sit on our hands and maybe people will let it go.

    PACT members you were voted in for change. It’s in your best interest you start to remember what you supposedly stood to give the Caymanian people real quick, cause the tide is changing against you.

  38. Anonymous says:

    the tourist attraction/training centre is pure pie-in-the-sky nonsense.
    the property will be sitting empty for many years to come.
    if cig had brains they would sell it at a profit now.

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