Caymanian developer Lewis Ebanks broke ground Monday on a US$200 million luxury condo complex overlooking the North Sound.
Flanked by Premier Alden McLaughlin and several Cabinet ministers, Mr. Ebanks said the development, named Gran Palazzo, was the first of its kind by an “indigenous Caymanian” and a sign that the island was on an economic upswing.
“This has been a dream of mine for a long time – a multimillion-dollar luxury waterfront development, here on our rock,” he said.
He believes the location, directly overlooking the Sound, is a unique selling point for the complex, which will ultimately feature 123 condos and townhouses in the US$1 million to US$2.5 million price range.
Premier McLaughlin, whose government offered stamp duty and planning fee concessions worth approximately US$4 million, said the investment was another sign of economic recovery in the Cayman Islands.
“This is a good example that investors are having the faith to put their money where their dreams are,” he said.
“It is really significant that, at this stage, as we start another construction and development boom, that we have a Caymanian developer at the forefront of that.”
He said Mr. Ebanks had committed to give Caymanians first opportunity for employment at every level on the project. He added that government had offered the concessions to help get the development, which will be built in phases over the next five years, under way.
“Once the economy starts to really move, there should be no issue about unemployment in Cayman, but we’ve got to get to that tipping point. We need to make every effort we can to encourage investors to give Caymanians the opportunity to be employed on projects like this.”
The development will consist of 10 six-story buildings, including condos, townhouses 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.
It is situated at Crystal Harbor, next to the North Sound Golf Club.
Mr. Ebanks said he hoped to attract a mix of local and foreign investors. The development would be marketed as far afield as Asia, he said, with the first properties going on sale in the coming months.
A clubhouse, gym, guardhouse and 35 condos will be built during the first phase.