Margaritaville floats 222-foot tower idea

The owners of Margaritaville (Cayman) Ltd. envision constructing a 222-foot-tall “balloon tower” on the George Town waterfront – and then putting a bar at the top of it. 

The proposed tower, capped by a red, white and blue hot air balloon structure bearing the phrase “Welcome to Grand Cayman” along with the Margaritaville logo, would be the tallest building in the Cayman Islands by far. 

In comparison, when complete, the nine-storey WaterColours building on Seven Mile Beach will be about 130 feet tall. 

While the Building Code caps the maximum height of buildings to 10 storeys or 130 feet, and then only in the Seven Mile Beach area, other structures are exempt from that restriction in the Development and Planning Regulations, including church spires, elevator towers, or radio or television antenna towers. 

However, the heights of those types of structures are subject to the approval of the director of civil aviation, within the flight approach zone pattern of Owen Roberts International Airport. In the case of WaterColours, the developer had to revise the building plans in order to comply with the Cayman Islands Airports Authority’s stipulation that buildings in the area not exceed 150 feet above mean sea level. 



A notice of Margaritaville’s application for planning permission appeared in the Caymanian Compass 1 November, followed by a three-week period for public comment on the proposal. 

The Margaritaville balloon tower would be built in the parking lot on the north side of the Island Plaza building, which is owned by IHC Properties Ltd., a part of the Dart Group. The building is located on Harbour Drive 
near Cardinall Avenue. 

According to the planning application, the project has an estimated price tag of $3 million or more. The project includes the tower, tower platform, 230-square-foot food service building and an 80-square-foot balloon operator building.  


High bar 

On top of the tower is a ‘balloon basket’ feature that could accommodate 24 people and would include 12 bar stools. The bar area would be located nearly 175 feet above the ground. The top of the balloon would have a height of 222 feet, 9 inches. 

According to the planning materials, the balloon tower would be located directly behind Elmslie Memorial United Church, but would be accessible through Margaritaville. 

The designs bear the logos of John Doak Architecture and Bruce D Robinson Design Group. The latter group, based in Ohio, has experience doing projects such as theme parks, waterparks, cinemas, museums, restaurants, nightclubs, gaming attractions and resorts. 


  1. Beyond insane and ridiculous, this idea! Dart can’t be seriously contemplating this Margaritaville fantasy. Dart, send ’em back to the drawing board and build a little Statue of Liberty with a bar in her crown, overlooking beloved Cayman.

  2. Very interresting, 3 million estimated and probably balooning (pardon the pun) to 5 million in reality.

    Holding 24 persons I wonder how many Margaritas it takes to pay back the investment?

    Moreover, calculating fair weather light wind opportunities and the time it takes to walk-up 175 feet and walk or stumble back down, unless of course they’re made to walk the plank arrrgh!

    Can’t wait to see where this goes?

  3. Why not top it with an elegant, graceful wind turbine and get some use out of at the very best a structure of questionable aesthetic? Oh, right, that critically important airport buffer precludes structures including wind turbines over 150 ft in a ten mile radius. But of course communications masts up to 320 ft are perfectly fine exceptions and quite obviously a 222 ft high bar practically in the Owen Robert’s approach isn’t something a tourist destination of our calibre can be without.

  4. They have already destroyed the look of the building with a multitude of tacky signs now they want to do the same with the GT skyline. Ridiculous!!!

  5. Great idea! Include a bungie jump from the top of the tower, but first install one of the tanks from the turtle farm at the bottom. Then Cayman Tourism can advertise it as a death defying leap over toxic, turtle-infested waters. Tourists would go wild for it, and Cayman can use the extra revenue to reduce the Turtle Farm deficit.

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