The Cayman Islands Department of Planning is considering an application for a major mixed-use development on some 50 acres in Cayman Kai.
The Kai Village planned area development in the district of North Side in Grand Cayman includes a hotel, small marina, homes, offices, retail, community centre, park and restaurant. According to the application, site preparation could begin late this year and construction could take place during the next five to seven years.
Cayman Kai PAD
The North Side proposal is the country’s fourth “planned area development”, or PAD, and the first not related to the Health City Cayman Islands project in East End.
A PAD is a master-planned tract of land of at least 40 acres that provides for a mixture of land uses, densities and open space. Essentially, a PAD application is a request for a zoning overlay to permit land uses that may not otherwise be allowed in that zone. Even if the PAD application is approved, the developer must then obtain planning permission to build the actual structures.
The Burns Conolly Group submitted the PAD application on behalf of Criton Development. The Burns Conolly Group has also done two PAD applications for the medical tourism project in East End.
The vast majority of the Kai Village PAD is located on the inland side of Rum Point Drive in the general area between the public beach and the Sea Lodges of Cayman Kai. The PAD is east of The Cays at Rum Point, by the same developer. It is in the vicinity of the LIME cellular tower and the Cayman Kai Tennis Association facility.
The Kai Village PAD also includes one seaside parcel – next to the Sea Lodges – that is earmarked for a hotel. The inland side of the PAD is zoned low-density residential, while the seaside lot is already zoned hotel/tourism (and has been approved for hotel construction in the past).
Comprising a maximum developed area of 700,000 square feet, the Kai Village PAD is broken into four phases. The first phase calls for the hotel, small marina, condos and utilities. It involves up to 350,000 square feet and has a construction timeline of between 2013 and 2015.
The second phase calls for shopping, offices, a service station and boat storage. It involves up to 120,000 square feet and has a timeline of between 2014 and 2018. The third phase calls for residences, apartments, a police outpost, community centre and park. It involves up to 50,000 square feet and has a timeline of between 2016 and 2018.
The fourth phase calls for retail, restaurant, offices and apartments. It involves up to 180,000 square feet and has a timeline of between 2018 and 2020.
The application includes the caveat that the timing of the development is subject to market conditions.
According to the application, other facilities in the PAD may also include gyms and a post office. The civic structures, such as the community centre, would be available for use by the general public.
The application anticipates the hotel being four-to-five storeys tall, with a maximum height of 65 feet and a density of 100 rooms per acre. The height of the building is in line with the existing hotel/tourism zoning. However, the density is an increase over the current maximum of 65 rooms per acre.
Although the proposed hotel generally conforms to the existing hotel/tourism zoning, that doesn’t mean it would automatically pass muster with the Central Planning Authority. In July 2007, the planning board rejected an application by CKV Development to build 33 apartments (in nine buildings) on that parcel, even though it admitted the proposal generally complied with planning regulations.
In that case, the board’s opinion was that the mass, scale and height of the proposed apartment complex – approaching nearly 100,000 square feet – was “more typical of development along Seven Mile Beach” and would not be suited to Cayman Kai. The parcel was previously the site of a single-storey Cayman Kai resort with a partial second floor bar/dance area, according to planning records.
In its reasons for refusing the application, the board also said that the proposed apartments would not assist with maintaining or encouraging tourism development in Cayman Kai because there is a limited amount of available land zoned hotel/tourism in the area.
However, in November 2008, the planning board considered another application by CKV Development on the same site, for a hotel project with size similar to the rejected apartments. This time, the planning authority granted approval to build a 31-room hotel (in nine buildings), with two buildings for retail, office and a restaurant.
In the part of the PAD earmarked for single-family, canal-front residences, the application requests a slight bump in allowable density, with minimum lot sizes of 6,500 square feet instead of the usual 10,000 square feet (or 12,500 square feet for duplexes). The application shows about 25 buildings in the single-family residential zone.
The part of the PAD reserved for mixed-use commercial/office development shows about 15 buildings. The part of the PAD reserved for multifamily residences and the marina shows about a dozen buildings.
The application requests approval to build the multifamily buildings to a maximum height of three-to-four storeys or 55 feet, with a maximum density of 32 units per acre.
That is taller and denser than the existing zoning allows.