Caymanian developer plans $200 million waterfront community
A US$200 million development to create an ocean-front community, featuring 123 luxury condos and town houses overlooking the North Sound, has been given the green light.
Developer Lewis Ebanks said the project would be a high-end community named Gran Palazzo, with homes in the $1 million to $2.5 million range.
The development will be built in phases over the next five years, he said.
Despite some objections from residents in the nearby Crystal Harbor area about the impact of such a large development on the neighborhood, the Central Planning Authority approved the development at its Oct. 21 meeting.
Mr. Ebanks said his project, which he described as the first of its kind on the North Sound, was supported by government through a package of concessions. He hopes to begin construction early next year.
The development will consist of 10 six-story buildings, including condos, town houses and penthouse suites.
It will also include a gym, clubhouse, tennis court, yoga pavilion, several swimming pools with private cabanas and, pending planning approval, potentially a marina.
He said the location of the development on the water and adjacent to the North Sound Golf Club would make it an attractive proposition.
He believes the potential purchasers will be a mix of wealthy overseas buyers investing in vacation homes and local professionals.
He said the fact that it is not associated with a hotel could give it a competitive edge over similar high-end condo developments.
“When someone spends that kind of money on a home, they want peace and tranquility. They don’t necessarily want to be in a large public resort,” he added.
Mr. Ebanks, the CEO of Centurion Capital Fund and the founder of Waterfront Developments, estimates the project will create 250 jobs and pump upwards of $200 million into the economy.
Approvals for the project involve a change of zoning for part of the land and the removal of a Land for Public Purpose designation on part of the property. The zoning change has yet to be ratified by the Legislative Assembly.
Mr. Ebanks said those changes allowed him to design the community in a way that had the least impact on neighbors.
Not everyone agrees. Seven letters of objection from residents in the area were submitted to the Central Planning Authority largely focusing on the potential impact of a large six-story development on the neighborhood.
One objector wrote, “The proposed plan does not appear to be consistent with current zoning and we feel a change to high density will generate excessive pressure on the surrounding area, including additional noise, light pollution, vehicular traffic and high volume of waste.”
Mr. Ebanks said he had met and exceeded all the criteria required and believes the upscale nature of his development will be in keeping with the multimillion-dollar homes in the area.
He said financing is in place for the project – the biggest he has taken on – and, he believes, the first development on this scale by an “indigenous Caymanian.”