Developer Mike Ryan vowed this week to complete the redevelopment of the Port Authority Marina at SafeHaven.
Although Mr. Ryan’s control of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman ended last week when joint receivers were appointed by the secured lender for Cesar Hotelco (Cayman) Ltd. and three other companies, the developer still controls about 220 acres of land formerly part of the SafeHaven development and that becomes part of the proposed Dragon Bay development.
Those lands included Cayman’s only 18-hole golf course, the North Sound Club.
A planning application submitted by Silverfin Development Company Ltd, which Mr. Ryan said he controlled, concerning the Port Authority Marina redevelopment was considered by the Central Planning Authority on 19 February. Mr. Ryan said the application was approved.
Despite what has transpired since then regarding The Ritz-Carlton, Mr. Ryan said he would go forward with the marina project.
“I’m going to go ahead and do the Port Authority Marina,” he said. “Part of the reason is because I said I was going to do it. The other reason is because it helps Dragon Bay and makes it more viable, whether I do [that development] myself or if I sell it to someone else.”
The redevelopment of the Port Authority Marina, from where many local boat operations offering North Sound excursions leave, involves the dredging and elimination of a good portion of the existing site and the swap between the Port Authority and Mr. Ryan’s company of some existing land currently part of the Dragon Bay project and some new land that will be created in the dredging process.
“The land masses [in the swap] are equivalent,” Mr. Ryan said. “It will give us unimproved land mass in exchange for a completed marina.”
The redeveloped marina will accommodate 20 boats – four more than the current marina – plus offer a number of additional amenities including a 3,000-square-foot Port Authority administration building, public restrooms, a concessions area, paved parking for 30 vehicles, 10 additional parking spaces for boat trailers, a public open space and a boat sewage pump-out slip.
In addition to the new amenities, all of the new boat slips will be situated along the southern, lee side of the marina, which isn’t the case now.
“It will be a much safer area for the boats,” Mr. Ryan said.
The redevelopment project would require the water sports operators which currently use the Port Authority marina facility to move to a temporary facility that will be created farther up the canal, Mr. Ryan said.
Although the cost of the project was valued for planning purposes at $1.5 million, the total cost will come to between $4 million and $5 million, Mr. Ryan said.
Despite the financial situation that led to the Ritz-Carlton hotel going into receivership, Mr. Ryan said the funding is available to do the Port Authority Marina project.
“This has nothing to do with the Ritz-Carlton,” he said, adding the funds were segregated to meet the obligation. “It’s a different project, different ownership and a different funding structure, and we were careful not to intermingle [the projects].”
Mr. Ryan said the project would provide work for local contractors including heavy equipment operators, landscapers, builders, road pavers and mechanical, electrical and plumbing companies.
“Almost everything on this project will be done by locals,” he said.
With regard to the North Sound Club golf course, Mr. Ryan said it would continue to stay open, at least until May.
“We’ll run it through the season and see where we are,” he said.
Originally, Mr. Ryan’s plan for Dragon Bay was to close the North Sound Club golf course and to expand the Ritz-Carlton’s 9-hole course, Blue Tip, to 18 holes.
However, last week’s appointment of joint receivers for the resort would seem to put an end to that possibility.
“It means the Ritz [golf course] may never be anything more than a nine [hole course],” Mr. Ryan said, adding it could also mean that the North Sound Club stays open as an 18-hole course.
However, Mr. Ryan said he could not say at this point whether the course would stay open after May or if he would continue to pursue development of the former SafeHaven lands, including the golf course, or whether he would sell the property.