Today’s Editorial August 5: George Town changing

This week’s opening of Señor Frog’s, a Mexico-based restaurant, bar and nightspot franchise in George Town, is the first of many events that will change the whole dynamic of the country’s capital.

In most places in the world, the central or ‘downtown’ areas of cities, towns or ports are vibrant centres of activity, both by day and night.

That may be so in George Town by day, when lawyers, accountants, bankers and others in the financial industry are at work, and thousands of cruise ship tourists take to the streets and shops.

But generally, after 6pm or on weekends when there are no cruise ships, central George Town almost resembles a ghost town.

It may be nearly impossible for Grand Cayman’s residents to find seating in any of the harbour front restaurants for lunch during the week, but reservations are rarely needed for dinner.

Business can be so slow in town after dark that some of the few restaurants that remain open at night close early at times.

For whatever reason, George Town just hasn’t been a happening place at night, unless there’s a street dance of some sort going on during the weekend.

Señor Frog’s, along with the planned opening of Margaritaville in 2006, will help change that dynamic.

Though both will cater to cruise ship passengers during the day, they will actively seek local patronage by night, and on weekends.

Señor Frog’s and Margaritaville are not merely restaurants and bars, but places with multi-layered entertainment.

When added to the other restaurants already established, Señor Frog’s and Margaritaville will help transform central George Town into a place where financial industry workers are more likely to stay after work, and to where other residents are more likely to come after dark.

George Town’s vitalisation doesn’t stop there.

The completion of the new cruise tendering facility, the extensive renovation of the Anchorage Centre where Margaritaville will be located and the complete facelift and remodelling of the harbour front West Wind Building will also contribute to change the way George Town looks architecturally.

Plans to beautify the streets and make them more pedestrian friendly will also change central George Town.

Within just a couple of years, central George Town will undergo a metamorphosis, and the butterfly that emerges will make it a place residents will likely flock to at night, seven days a week.