SMB: A beehive of activity

As we move into the shoulder season, we can catch our breaths and take a quick look at just how busy this 2014 high season has been.

Besides the obvious increase in tourist rental cars seen along the roads and the busy restaurants, I’m glad to report that sales of condos on Seven Mile beach increased by 88 percent versus the same period last year.

For the period January 1 to April 29, there were 34 condo sales reported by CIREBA this year versus only 18 sold last year along Seven Mile Beach (neither of these numbers include sales of WaterColours units which are not counted until construction is completed).

Today, there are some 154 condos listed along the beach, with 17 pending sale (excluding WaterColours). Of these, only 35 percent are listed for under US$1 million and these tend to be the older developments along the beach that are not on prime beachfront.

The majority of these are two-bedroom units with only seven being three-bedroom units. Of the properties, 27 percent are listed for US$1 million to $3 million and 32 percent listed for US$3 million to 5 million.

It is worth mentioning that there are six properties (two houses, four condos) listed on the beach for between US$6 million and US$16 million, and then another six residences on the other side of West Bay Road, along the Seven Mile Corridor are listed for between US$5 million and US$19 million, an indication that the ceiling on luxury is continually increasing.

New developments on Seven Mile

This month I thought I would focus on some of the exciting new buildings, including retail, residential and hotel projects, which are busy changing the architectural landscape along Seven Mile Beach and the West Bay Road. Some, like the new shopping mall, Caribbean Plaza, are completed and are seeing considerable interest with several tenants already taking occupancy.

This plaza already has all its retail spaces spoken for; however, there still remains a small amount of commercial space available for rent. Having attracted a high volume of tenants from the very beginning, this speaks well to the success of the development.

Some developments, like The WaterColours that grace a wide, premium piece of Seven Mile Beach, are very near to completion and have a small amount of inventory remaining. This collection of high-class residences only has around 20 condominiums left for sale and only one of the three double units are free. Dart forges ahead

The Dart group is also extremely busy enhancing Camana Bay with its latest construction, 18 Forum Lane, an 85,000-square-foot retail and office building. This building grows by the day and will add a welcome addition to the existing A class office and retail space currently offered at this prestigious location.

The Kimpton hotel development, another Dart project, is also heading upwards at great speed. Some impressive heavy machinery has been brought in to ensure the construction of this building continues at a healthy pace. As I mentioned in previous articles, I believe that Cayman will truly benefit from this new boutique hotel because it brings a formidable brand to the islands and thereby a new demographic of visitor. I’m especially excited at the speed of progress at both the 18 Forum Lane and Kimpton Hotel locations. They will soon both add a great deal of value to Cayman in terms of commercial, retail and hotel space.

New projects

Two brand new developments that are in the initial preparation stages are the Dart development next to Cayman International School and the complete overhaul of the old World Gym and Smyles site on Lawrence Boulevard – soon to be a 38,000-square-foot commercial space for lease called the Regent building.

Dart is busy clearing the site next to the school and readers will note an exceptional view off the roundabout all the way along the canal out to the North Sound. This site will eventually be home to a collection of new residential condominiums, the first to be offered for sale.

With regard to the Regent building, planning permission has been received and reconstruction of the building can start imminently.

A final word on another new construction, set to begin later this year. The old Hyatt hotel will finally get the overhaul it has so badly needed, with a tremendous amount of work going on behind the scenes to make this happen.

Plans are in the pipeline for a four star accommodation that includes a hotel and residences. The project will be completed in just one phase and it’s estimated it will take around two years for completion. Enhancements of the Hyatt golf course and work on surrounding areas are also in the works.

All this new development can only mean enhancement for Cayman’s offering across the board: better shops, office buildings and hotel accommodation, which in turns strengthens and broadens our financial services, retail, tourism, and real estate industries.

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