Dart unveils $300m Camana Bay plan

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Dart Realty has unveiled its plans for a dramatic $300 million expansion to Camana Bay, using broad landscaped bridges and elevating land to connect the town center to a new five-star hotel on Seven Mile Beach. 

The next phase of the development will see $60 million in engineering work to create two new underpasses on West Bay Road and the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, which will be re-routed to the west and expanded to four lanes. 

The land between Camana Bay and Seven Mile Beach will be raised to create an artificial hill rising to a peak of around 36 feet, roughly the height of a three-story building. 

The new hotel will be set well back from the ocean and will span both sides of West Bay Road. Motorists will pass underneath it as they travel along the road, through an underpass. Camana Bay itself will expand to the west with the addition of new restaurants and retail outlets. 

Pedestrians will be able to walk from Seven Mile Beach to the current Camana Bay town center along an avenue that bridges both highways, over a large ground-level parking lot. 

A planning application for the engineering work and road building project is expected to be put in within the next few months. Government caucus, the National Roads Authority and the Central Planning Authority have already received presentations on the plans. 

Dart Chief Operating Officer Jackie Doak said the ambitious project aims to bring something new to the Cayman Islands, allowing people to transition smoothly and safely from the sun, sea and sand of Seven Mile Beach to access the amenities of the Camana Bay town center. 

She said the large investment in altering the landscape around Camana Bay is worth the expense because it will achieve the long-held ambition of “sea to sound connectivity.” 

Work on the hotel will likely begin in 2017, once the road restructuring is complete and the underpasses have been built. Dart is currently in negotiations with several five-star brands about the project, with a decision expected in the next few months. 

Preliminary plans for the hotel indicate a mix of around 150 guest rooms, 100 residences, and approximately 6,000 square feet of conference space.   

The proposed new road layout will see the current stretch of the Esterley Tibbetts highway that passes in front of the town center become an internal road within Camana Bay. 

Dart will fund a new four-lane stretch of highway, shifted slightly inland, between the Camana Bay roundabout and the Galleria roundabout. 

Under the previous arrangement, government would have paid for the expansion if and when it completed a similar expansion to four lanes of the larger stretch of the highway between the Butterfield roundabout, next to A.L. Thompson, and the Camana Bay roundabout. 

Ms. Doak said the Camana Bay project is just the first phase in a massive 10-year expansion plan, which will also include more office space, retail, restaurants and potentially a business hotel on the North Sound side of the development. 

She said the investment shows Dart has confidence in Cayman’s economy and the capacity of the tourism industry to expand. A record 380,000 stay-over visitors touched down on island in 2014, and Dart believes those numbers are likely to go up. 

Ms. Doak said the completion of the Kimpton hotel and the planned five-star hotel on Seven Mile Beach would attract new tourists through their own marketing. She said signs that the “much-needed” airport development is moving ahead suggest a bright future for the tourism industry. 

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A section of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway will be expanded to four lanes and shifted to the west.

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An illustrative diagram shows a cross-section, facing north, of the Camana Bay expansion.

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A conceptual rendering shows the northbound perspective on the realigned, four-lane, dual carriageway Esterley Tibbetts Highway, which will have left on/left off access points.

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A conceptual rendering shows the southbound perspective of West Bay Road looking through the proposed underpass with pedestrian sidewalks and both stair and elevator access to the elevated plane.
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  1. Sounds great! Our family already loves traveling to Camana Bay for activities from our Condo on SMB. We are very excited for the expansion and look forward to years of enjoyment in Cayman! Such a great island always making progress!

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  2. Congratulations Dart on your new investment project; and a new four lane High Way in land, that man sure has vision.
    I don’t know who else is happy, but I enjoy watching all of his new found projects enfold, and I wish him a long and happy life here to enjoy every moment of his success.

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  3. Makes sense, the ‘Dart’ road isn’t very good at being a road, it’s nice looking, just not very good at moving volumes of cars, some people drive it at 25mph, either thinking it’s a lower limit, it’s not, or because you can’t see far enough with pedestrian crossing etc. Trouble is, as pointed out, the by-pass needs to be expanded to the B/field roundabout to take advantage of the improved capacity, otherwise it will just get backed up when it drops to 2 lanes. Last piece of the puzzle would really help this, but without the money, and other road’s needed before this (thinking the extension just past the cricket pitch) it will be a few more years yet.

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  4. I’m all for development of the Islands, but are we thinking about all aspects of the future. Have we seen hurricane Ivan flood the whole Island. What will happen when we have 35 feet of water in the road from west bay to George hospital in the time of emergency. Where is the planning engineers in the the making and planning on this development.

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  5. An impressive and well conceived project that few could disagree with. It has been clearly stated and discussed that the existing Camana Bay road, while beautiful, is a bottle neck that needs to be addressed.
    Hopefully Dart is in the loop in the development of a solution to the dump problem. Driving West along 7 mile beach the other day the smell from the dump was horrible.

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  6. Joseph,

    I think Camana Bay management is too long-term strategical. There are obvious steps which they could make to ease traffic situation right now, without waiting for two years. E.g. allowing northbound traffic to get away immediately (talking about right turn from cinema parking) instead of forcing it to get into congested street and giving people two unnecessary chances to hit pedestrian, while passing same pedestrian crossing twice for no reason.

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  7. Development, Progress, more jobs, more income….I am all for it!
    Dart provides more jobs for Caymanians. We should make him Governor of the Cayman Islands.

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  8. This is really exciting stuff going on for Cayman and I for one am glad that Dart is spearheading it. They have an excellent track record for high quality development and I truly believe that they are more in line with what’s best for Cayman’s future than even the CIG does. The type of development he is bringing to Cayman will be envied throughout the Caribbean.

    Please keep up the good work.

    ‘DART DOES !!!!!!!!!!’

    Question for Ron Clair, I wasn’t aware that Hurricane Ivan actually flooded the whole Island. Also regarding the 35 Feet of water in the road from West Bay to the Hospital, did this happen during Ivan or are you saying that it will happen due to this new development?

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  9. Stanislav, I’m guessing here, but they did used to allow something like that but it was always unclear who had right of way, they probably shut it down as too many accidents. I do agree ‘tho that sending traffic back down the road leads to doubling up. Personally I would like to see a connection back to the roundabout to the north, although I find it easy to spend other people’s money!

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  10. Joseph,

    That place was not originally designed for right turn, I can see it by the way it looks. But original design had a convenient wide U-turn before current location of pedestrian crossing, which was closed down and covered by grass. Which broke the original (reasonable) design. So they had three options in my opinion – leave it as it is, vehemently (I mean those cones) protest against right turn or use some paint to mark expected trajectories, so that there was no question of where should turning-in and turning-out traffic go. They chose to vehemently protest.

    I hope that there will be no incidents with pedestrians and rerouted drivers, and that there will be know accidents at Forum lane U-turn, which is now overloaded and one of those places where it is not clear who has right of way.

    Though looking at way they solve such problems I should be careful, as they might end up closing Forum lane U-turn and rerouting all traffic through Camana Bay roundabout, making it even worse. They do it during big events, but it does make sense during big events, when you embrace congestion and just want to make routes as simple as possible.

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  11. I wonder what will happen to all the Now employed Dart supporters when Dart decide to move on. Will they be able to stop him ? Do we see he is selling these projects some time before they are finished.

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  12. Hi Ron, I am trying to understand your concerns, You expressed a problem with the fact that they are selling units some time before they are finished. It is not unusual for a developer to have a round of presales sometimes even before they break ground. Lots of condos and homes are sold during and before the construction starts such as San Sebastian which was just about sold out before the units were completed, you can even buy units in the IronWood Development now and they haven’t even broken ground on the road. Can you explain what your concerns are with Dart doing this ? Other than the fact the it’s Dart doing it. If you think that they will take the money from a handful of residential sales and run that would be highly unlikely. The amount of money Dart has invested into Cayman is more than what the whole Cayman Islands Government Budget is, do you really think they are going to walk away from that, it shows his commitment to Cayman and that he’s here to stay.

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  13. Come on Michael, don’t you see Dart’s grand plan. It’s to move to Cayman, setup residency for 3 decades, spend hundreds of millions of dollars upgrading the local infrastructure, hire hundreds of people, create an upscale town out of thin air, plan to expand that town, wait for some people to pre-pay for lots and then skip town with the few million dollars he would have gotten from that.

    Ron may actually be concerned that Dart decides to relocate to another Caribbean island to plunder them by investing billions of dollars into their economy. All I can say to that is sure it’s possible, just like any company moving its headquarters is possible, but my feeling is Dart might just like living in Cayman and wants to make it nice for a lot of others to live here too. If he’s truly got plans to uproot, then he’s taking the long road.

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  14. I think a lot of people just like to dislike folks and disagree with what they are doing just for the heck of it.

    Others just don’t like wealthy people because they feel they should have some of the wealth those folks worked hard to accumulate while they sat around waiting for it to be given to them.

    To this point I have seen nothing but good things coming from Dart yet there’s a certain set of people that still hate it.

    Without evidence of wrong doing or corruption all I can see are haters just hating.

    I would really like someone, anyone to give me even one example of how Dart has hurt Cayman in anyway. Show me one thing that they have done that didn’t positively effect Cayman.

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  15. Michael, Chirstoph, I don’t hate anyone for what they have or what they are doing, because what they have is their, and what I have is mine and I didn’t get it by hand out or stealing it. I got everything I ever owned by working for it. From age 9 not even my parents had to support me, which they are very good parents. I did not get any thing of what I own by sucking up to anyone or kissing anyone A** .

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