A planned 10-mile extension of the East-West Arterial Highway to pave the way for a new golf resort will cost around $50 million, and construction could begin before Christmas, developer Ironwood said this week.
Ironwood announced on Monday that its contracting partner on the project would be GLF Construction Company – the same firm that was paid around $2 million in compensation after a contract to build a new cruise pier was terminated by the previous government.
Denise Gower, spokeswoman for the developer, said financing is in place for the road project and construction contracts were finalized last week. She said the contracts are pending final approval of a “licensing agreement” between government and Ironwood for the road construction.
The road was originally estimated to cost around $40 million, but the price rose following a more precise cost analysis by the National Roads Authority, Ms. Gower said.
In May, when the agreement was first revealed, Ironwood officials said they hoped to have “shovels in the ground” within three months.
But the complexities of the financing arrangement for the public-private partnership and strict requirements imposed by the U.K. for large-scale capital developments have delayed the process.
An outline business case examining the potential economic impact of the road construction and investigating how it could be financed in accordance with U.K. rules under the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility is expected to be published later this year.
Assuming that document endorses the project and the mooted financing deal, which calls for the cost of the road to be refunded through duties on any development it stimulates, Ironwood says its financial backers will sanction the full $360 million project.
In the interim, Ironwood has continued to press ahead with its plans and with marketing the resort, which it says will sprawl across 600 acres and include a hotel, conference center and sports village with homes for around 2,000 people, targeted primarily at “snowbirds” seeking to retire in style.
Golf legend Arnold Palmer, whose design company has been hired to build the golf course, has been on island to promote the resort, and Joe Beaird, chief operating officer of GLF, was in Grand Cayman last week to finalize construction contracts with Ironwood.
CTL Capital, LLC, a New York-based finance provider, will provide the construction and permanent financing to Ironwood “subsequent to the execution of the licensing agreement by the Cayman Islands Government,” according to a statement from the developer.