A developer has ambitions to build a $300 million town centre, residential community and 18-hole golf course east of Frank Sound Road, near the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.
Eagle Assets Management intends to create the “Ironwood” community during a period of six years on 430 acres spanning the districts of North Side and East End. According to a news release, construction on the project – which will also include a “sports village”, tennis courts, movie theatre, shopping and tourist accommodations – is slated to begin later this year.
“This development will provide the convenience and catalyst that the eastern half of [Grand Cayman] has long needed,” Premier McKeeva Bush said Thursday during his reply to the debate on the interim budget.
Project spokeswoman Denise Gower, of Fountainhead Business Development, said, “Eagle Assets Management is a local real estate development company that is comprised of local and international investors. Some of the major shareholders are members of a family that has been coming to, investing in and living in the Cayman Islands since 1958 and have significant ties to the community.”
She said the identities of the principals and more detailed information about the project will be made public in the near future.
“This group has significant experience in developments of this calibre, including association with one of the largest retirement communities in the United States. The group is also a developer of top-tier golf courses, having developed championship golf courses all over the world,” she said.
Consisting of multi-family and single-family homes, the residential portion of the development will target locals and North American retirees.
Ms Gower said, “This is a highly desirable segment of investors for Cayman – low-impact, with dispensable income that will support local businesses and will not be seeking employment. This is a group that will fit perfectly in the quiet, peaceful East End. With every amenity available at their doorsteps, there is great incentive for retirees to make the move to Ironwood in the Cayman Islands.”
Planning permission for what will be the first phase of the project – basically the town centre – has been in place since 2005. The plan was modified in 2006 to accommodate the planned East-West Arterial extension, which will run through the middle of the initial 54-acre plot, and was again modified in mid-March 2012. At the moment, the developer has permission to create a subdivision of about 170 lots and also to excavate a pair of 14-feet-deep lakes.
The developer will not be seeking credits, import duty waivers or other government concessions.
Mr. Bush said the project will provide government with more than $40 million in funds during the next six years.
For the sake of comparison, the development of Camana Bay has had an economic impact of more than US$800 million (roughly CI$660 million) during the past seven years, according to the Dart Group.
The Ironwood project is just a few miles down the road from Dr. Devi Shetty’s proposed medical tourism development, which includes an approved 1,500-unit assisted-living facility, and which Dr. Shetty said needs to eventually grow to include at least 10,000 assisted-living residents.
However, the Ironwood project is independent of Dr. Shetty’s hospital and “healthcare city”, Ms Gower said.
“This project is not connected to the Shetty hospital, other than the fact that both developments have undertaken similar valuations and recognised the considerable potential of East End.
There are obvious synergies between the two projects that surely both developments will be able to capitalise on because of location, but they are separate interests,” she said.
Ms Gower said the majority of the land for the Ironwood development is owned by Eagle Assets Management, although some parcels have been leased from neighbouring landowners.