In response to our recent editorial “Stop the foolishness”,
one of our readers pointed out that the true value to the Dart Group of closing
a section of West Bay Road was not the value of the road itself, but the
increase in value of the land it owns on both sides of West Bay Road.
It is true that the value of the Dart-owned land –
specifically the beachfront property – increases significantly with the closure
of a section of West Bay Road. Because the narrow depth of the land between the
ocean and the road makes that beachfront land almost undevelopable, relocating
the road makes that section of property much more valuable.
Dart owns 2,487 feet of beachfront land in that area. Let’s
assume the “activists” meant to say the adjoining land, and not the road
itself, will appreciate $600 million if part of West Bay Road is closed. Doing
the math, the activists would have us believe closing this part of the road
would increase the value of the Dart’s land by more than $241,500 per foot of
beach frontage. When considering that ludicrous figure, remember that this is
land Dart has already bought and paid for and that it isn’t even considered
prime beachfront land because of the rockiness of the ocean bottom near the shoreline
in that area.
Beyond that, there’s a bigger issue to consider: The people
of Cayman lose only the minimal value of the road itself from the closure and
they gain very much, including having Esterley Tibbetts Highway go all the way
to West Bay, a new public beach and an expanded and enhanced existing Public
In addition, since Dart intends to develop the land, it will
create construction activity and jobs for years to come and provide another
upscale hotel for our tourism product.
In assessing the value of the proposed deal, the hundreds of
millions of dollars in economic impact resulting from Dart’s development
activities must also be considered. Conversely, having 2,487 feet of beachfront
property sitting there undeveloped for decades to come benefits no one, except
for a few activists who apparently need to look at the ocean while they’re
driving and who like to camp on other people’s property at Easter time.