Bush: Golf course, town centre to go east

Fountainhead development main

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. 

 

Eagle Assets  

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. 

 

Government, Shetty  

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. 

Fountainhead development

Excavator operator Haymon Ebanks, of construction company Haymon Ebanks Equipment, works along the road that will eventually run through the town centre of the new development near East End. – Photo: Submitted
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15 COMMENTS

  1. Would be nice to have such a project but I think this article is an example of a pipe dream. Cayman is the place but the time is wrong but The Cowboy will grasp at anything to create the image of a man with a vision. Sorry, but this man is blind.

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  2. Not even a picture or a plan. Just another 50 acre subdivision and the hope of riding Shetty’s coattails. Sorry Mr. Premier, there is not enough reality here to save you.

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  3. If they ever did a poll on who likes golf, trust me, it would be in Cayman’s 1%. I am sure if I was in a room with 100 people, I would only find 5 or less that like golf and plays the sport.

    I am shock! An 18-hole golf course? For whom?! Definitely, bulldozing that amount of land must be for some few… I wouldn’t doubt what catchandrelease stated – it must be for Shetty’s coattails

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  4. Tough crowd, no wonder people are leery about investing in anything Cayman these days

    I am sure that if anyone interested in investing in Cayman read this paper and the comments and got to know the feelings of the people here about the island they would turn and run as fast as they could.

    One comment I do agree with is that this I sure is not something that will be meant to attract local I am sure it will be aimed at tourists and wealthy retires.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Everything cannot be built to suit on the local people.

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  5. 10 years ago…
    Well at least we still have the beautiful eastern districts

    Today…
    Well at least we still have the beautiful sister islands

    10 years from now…
    Well at least we still have our beautiful memories

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  6. Has permission been granted by the single member politicians who run the North and Eastern districts, it could turn ugly. Perhaps the timing was such that they are already focused on OMOV, can they multitask?

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  7. Panama Jack, I didn’t know that the MLA’s permission was needed for building projects. Are they involved with the Planning department ?

    I am sure however that they will be against it and possibly have few protests and Marches to stop it. Mostly because it’s something Bush announced and no other reason, I can’t wait to hear what they will say about how it will destroy the island. Maybe the Golf balls will contaminate the water lense or that much grass will cause the whole north side of the island to flood and fall into the ocean.

    After all surely everyone knows that the last thing Cayman needs is to develop all that Swamp Land that’s needed for future generations to enjoy.

    Nothing like a good walk in the swamp to get the senses going, and there’s nothing better Maiden Plum to keep the skin smooth.

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  8. NJ2Cay – All that swamp land which you seem to see is menace, provides valuable ecological services including flood control and carbon storage. It is also a wildlife habitat to crabs, birds, and many unique species. For all you know, medicinal plants. I don’t know about you, but to see land cleared for an 18-hole golf course, will be a sad day for the people of the Eastern districts.

    Yes, I believe in development, but it must be in tune with mother nature and not against her.

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  9. I actually agree with you apprentice, but the fact is that every piece of land that’s cleared including the land your own home sits on provided a valuable ecological service as well as wildlife habitats. I’ve seen many Golf courses that are built in a manner that actually enhances that environment not destroy it.

    I don’t see how increased property values, new business opportunities and infrastructure in the East End will be a sad day for its people, I actually live in the area and while it is nice what I see for the most part is not the pristine tropical paradise people describe it as. A beautiful tropically landscaped Golf course will enhance the area a lot more than people think and would be a much better than just another residential subdivision or hotel development. One thing great golf courses do is attract wealthy stay over tourists and they also need a lot of maintenance and management that will mean jobs for people who want them.

    The sad fact is that with finances in such a terrible state Cayman needs new business and developments that will help the economy recover or the people will have to prepare themselves for direct taxation in order to pay for all the government expenditures as well as the salaries of all those MLA’s, Premiers and Civil Servants.

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  10. This announcement is a welcome relief. Finally someone has a smart idea, put in the right place and is set about doing it independently. I just don’t see the logic in the opposing arguments, but well, maybe logic is in short supply.

    This development builds on Cayman’s tourism product – something that we are well known for and extremely proud of. This means jobs for Caymanians long term – think about the possibilities: home care nurses, physiotherapists, greenskeepers, accountants, restauranteurs, artists, entertainers, shop keepers, maintenance people …. and so on.

    A John Doak design – I expect it will be beautiful and take into consideration the natural environment, this is what he does best.

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  11. Here’s some more info on this project,

    A town centre and residential community, including an 18-hole golf course, is slated to begin construction in East End later this year and will target both locals and North American retirees looking for their island paradise retirement homes. The 300 million development epitomises the vision of the Go East initiative, according to a spokesperson for the project and will be open to locals, tourists and community residents alike. The developer of the project is Eagle Assets Management, a local real estate development company that is comprised of local and international investors, will not be asking for import duty waivers or other concessions from the government regarding this project, she said.

    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, according to spokesperson Denise Gower of Fountainhead Business Development. She said the group had significant experience in developments of this calibre, including association with one of the largest retirement communities in the United States. It is also a developer of top tier golf courses, having developed championship golf courses all over the world.

    The 430-acre Ironwood community will feature a sports village, including a championship PGA Tour winner designed 18-hole golf course, targeted to be one of the Caribbean’s top rated courses, and tennis courts; family entertainment including a movie theatre; a host of convenience and boutique shopping; residences and tourist accommodations. Master planned in association with Cayman architect John Doak, the development will carry a strong West Indian/Spanish Colonial heritage theme and will blend well with its natural environs.

    Gower emphasised the importance of this project to the local economy: This is a handsome project that epitomises the vision of the Go East initiative. This is a development that is non-intrusive to the environment and offers conveniences to the Eastern districts, while also providing a considerable and welcome boost to Government coffers.

    Targeting both locals and North American retirees looking for their island paradise retirement homes, the community will comprise multi-family and single family dwellings available across price ranges.

    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, Gower noted. 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.

    Eagle Assets Management plans to complete the project over six years and will not be asking for credits, import duty waivers or other concessions from the Government to initiate and complete the project. They will be using local businesses to build the project including architects, realtors, marketers, contractors and construction workers.

    Further details on this project, including the biographies of the principals involved, will be announced at a press conference slated for 17 July, Gower said, adding that other prominent Caymanian business people have interest in the project.

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  12. There’s room for two golf courses at the Cays on Rum Point where not a single house has been built in five years. Cayman is overloaded with empty to half filled developments. Shetty may bring in enough new people to fill this one but your supply exceeds the demand at this time. Unfinfished, empty subdivisions do not enhance your product.

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  13. catchandrelease, Very good point. Maybe with all the projects coming down the pipe in the East things will start happening in those empty residential sub-divisions.

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