Owners silent on former Hyatt redevelopment

Ongoing activity at the former Hyatt along the Esterley Tibbetts Highway in Grand Cayman has attracted considerable attention from passing motorists.

Although they are remaining mum on the project, sources say the property owners plan to redevelop the site into a new business hotel.

At the moment, workers are performing a partial demolition on the building, stripping it down to floors and load-bearing walls. The building has lain vacant since being ravaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, while the seaside component of the former Hyatt has been transformed into Grand Cayman Beach Suites.

The owners of Grand Cayman Beach Suites and the former Hyatt building are Embassy Investments. They have not responded to the Caymanian Compass’ requests for comment.

No planning permissions have been granted yet for the redevelopment of the former Hyatt. However, sources have told the Compass that the owners intend to redevelop the property into a four-star, 168-room business hotel and spa, making use of the existing buildings and perhaps constructing two new buildings.

On Wednesday, RE/MAX broker/owner James Bovell wrote in his regular column for the Compass that: “Owners have revealed that construction of a new four-star business hotel with conference facilities is in the works. The brand of this new hotel has not yet been revealed; however, the owners have indicated that there may also be new residential offerings, as well as investment in the golf course. This is a good sign of investors’ confidence in the Cayman Islands.”

Companies associated with the ongoing work at the former Hyatt include Cayman Structural Group, DDL Studios and Cayman Recycling.

The redevelopment of the Hyatt is part of a series of positive news for the tourism sector and the Seven Mile Beach corridor. The owners of the Grand Caymanian Resort along North Sound recently announced that the hotel would be rebranded as a Holiday Inn. The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, was sold at auction for US$177.5 million to a United States-based private equity firm.

The Dart Group is redeveloping the former Courtyard by Marriott into a new resort, and also has plans for a possible second resort in the future. Late last year, a Florida-based private equity firm made a substantial investment in the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort.

The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort and Spa is continuing with its $8 million renovation project, while Comfort Suites recently completed a $2.2 million renovation.

Across the street from the Caribbean Club, commercial development Caribbean Plaza is under construction. In April, a groundbreaking was held for a planned $58 million investment into Morritt Properties’ East End resort development, beginning with construction of a five-storey building called “The Londoner”.

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