New face slated for Harbour buildings

Two prominent buildings on the George Town waterfront will undergo extensive renovations, bringing a new look to the harbour area.

Pending approval from the Planning Department, work on both the West Wind Building and the Anchorage Centre will begin shortly, said Jackie Doak, vice president of property management for Dart Realty.

The two buildings, along with a parking lot on Fort Street next to One Regis Place, were purchased by IHC Properties last year.

‘We want to give the town a more vibrant look,’ said Mrs. Doak. ‘Those two buildings are very tired-looking right now.’

A planning application has already been submitted for the renovations on the Anchorage Centre.

It is hoped work can begin on that building in July, with completion estimated for February 2006, Mrs. Doak said.

Work on the ground floor and curtain walls of the West Wind Building could start as early as next month.

John Doak of Cayman Style Ltd. is the lead architect for the project. He said the renovations of the two buildings will be quite different from an architectural approach.

‘The Anchorage Centre will have a less formal, more tourism-related look,’ he said. ‘It will look very Caribbean/colonial in style.’

The Anchorage will also have elements of traditional Caymanian buildings, Mr. Doak said.

‘It will be very much in keeping with the historic feel of Hog Stye Bay,’ he said.

Mr. Doak said the courtyard area of the Anchorage would be extensively altered.

‘It’s going to be heavily landscaped,’ he said, adding that it will be jungle-like afterwards.

Some additional retail areas will be created in the building, and a tower element will be incorporated as well.

The West Wind Building will have retail spaces on the first two floors and office space on the top two floors, Mr. Doak said.

‘It will become Cayman’s first fully arcaded building,’ he said. ‘It will be a new architecture for Cayman, but nonetheless historic in style.’

Mr. Doak said the West Wind renovations will draw upon a building called ‘Raffles’ in Singapore in terms of inspiration.

The building will look more formal in style than the Anchorage Centre.

The arcade look will open the first floor to the second floor, giving it a less confining feel.

‘We will completely alter the appearance of the West Wind Building,’ Mr. Doak said. ‘To the lay person, it will give the appearance of an entirely new building.’

The building will have the appearance of a standing seam roof, Mr. Doak said.

There will be exterior balconies on the first two floors on the Fort Street and South Church Street sides of the building. The third and fourth floors will feature verandas.

The balconies and verandas will bring the building out, Mr Doak said.

‘The building will be very functional from an energy standpoint in that it will be shielded from the sun and have energy efficient windows,’ Mr. Doak said, adding that the windows will also be hurricane rated.

The final colour of the building has not been decided, Mr. Doak said.

‘At the moment, we have it virgin white all over, which would give it a sophisticated overall appearance.’

The West Wind Building will also undergo a renovation of its mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.

It will also have its core common areas upgraded.

Mrs. Doak said that Dart Realty is looking for a good mix of both local and international retail brands for the West Wind Building. She also said a café is planned for the ground floor area facing the waterfront.

John Papesh, vice president of marketing and public affairs for Dart Realty said he hoped the renovation improved the look of the waterfront area.

‘We see this as part of the on-going beautification of downtown,’ he said. ‘We want to help make the town more warm, welcoming and colourful to enhance the quality of the experience of our tourists,’ he said.

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