The first phase of the demolition project, the removal of the structure’s façade, started Monday. Island Builders, which last summer handled the demolition of the hotel’s interior in expectation of renovation, has been engaged for this part of the demolition process.
The contract for the rest of the demolition is currently out to bid and will be awarded next week.
Jackie Doak, the chief operating officer for Dart Realty, said the decision to demolish rather than renovate came after a reevaluation of the project in December.
“After designing and planning around the existing structure and adding floors to the building, we determined that the opportunity to develop a new resort on the site outweighs the efficiencies of adapting the existing building,” she said. “As we work through the process, we continually ask ourselves if what’s on the table delivers Ken Dart’s vision to create something unique and special with Dart’s first hotel; to showcase the best of Cayman for visitors as we strive to do for island residents with Camana Bay. We’re excited to design an innovative resort purpose built to advance the tourism product in the Cayman Islands and attract a new generation of visitors.”
The new 10-storey hotel will have somewhere between 200 and 245 rooms, depending on final design. Mrs. Doak said the plan is to have it open in late 2015.
The hotel’s construction is projected to generate more than 250 jobs over the build-out period, and is estimated to cost more than CI$ 140 million, including the demolition.
In addition to allowing for much bigger rooms and a bigger lobby area, Mrs. Doak said that starting afresh rather than renovating will allow the hotel to be situated farther from the beach, for the first floor to sit higher, for there to be underground parking, maintenance and housekeeping facilities, and for better amenities to be include.
“Our decision to demolish the existing structure opens up more possibilities in design, guest experience and LEED certification,” added Ms. Doak. “This results in more employment opportunities both immediately as the building comes down and over the next few years when the new resort is being built.”