Import duties from project will pay for highway extension
A $40 million extension to the East-West Arterial will be paid for through “reallocation of import duty” from the Ironwood golf and homes development, according to Premier Alden McLaughlin.
The developer confirmed that it is working out the details of a public-private partnership, and that its construction team will build the road.
Ironwood has requested that funding be set aside for the road in lieu of import duty concessions often granted on projects of this scale.
The extension of the road is viewed as critical to the success of the $360 million project, as well as expected future development in the eastern districts driven in part by Health City Cayman Islands, which opened Tuesday.
James McVey, the project manager for Ironwood, said in January that the developer had a memorandum of understanding with government to work out a partnership on the road.
Government declined to answer questions at the time, but in his speech to the Cayman Economic Outlook conference last week, Mr. McLaughlin acknowledged that a partnership was in the works.
He said, “An important part of the Ironwood development will be the public-private partnership that will oversee the construction of a 10-mile extension to the East-West Arterial, from its present terminus at Newlands to the Frank Sound Road.
“Government will not have to expend any money on the road and has maintained that Caymanian employment is to be encouraged, with an open and transparent bidding process of local suppliers and contractors seeking to work on the construction of the road.
“The advantage of this project is that the developer has offered to contribute to the cost of the road through the reallocation of import duty that some developers would otherwise seek as a concession from Cabinet.”
He did not say exactly how the deal will be structured. Other large developments, including Health City and the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, were granted millions of dollars worth of duty concessions to enable the projects to go ahead.
Denise Gower, spokeswoman for Ironwood, said the developer would not be asking for similar concessions.
“The public-private partnership that is under discussion with government calls for the earmarking of the duties that will be incurred from the construction to pay for the road,” she said.
She said Ironwood is a $360 million project, including a town center, residences, entertainment and sports facilities, a golf course and a resort. The duty charges that the project would incur would be enough to cover the $40 million cost of building the road, she added.
Ironwood and government have called a joint press conference for Thursday, with American golf legend and course designer Arnold Palmer in attendance, to reveal further details.
Phase one of the East-West Arterial, from the Shamrock Road roundabout to Newlands, opened in 2007. The long-term goal, outlined in a 2005 Development Plan, is to extend the road all the way to Colliers in East End.
One potential point of conflict could be that the route outlined in the 2005 gazette for the extension to Frank Sound Road cuts across the southern portion of the Mastic Trail Reserve, owned by the National Trust, meaning the development could be impacted by the National Conservation Law.