Luxury North Sound development under way

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.

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  1. Wow! Cayman Compass is now participating in the classification of Caymanians! According to the history books used at Cayman Islands High School (back when expats like me were allowed to attend government schools) the ONLY indigenous Caymanians were Blue Iguanas, Green Sea Turtles and other unique animals on the island. Caribs and Arawaks never lived on any of the three islands and you cannot get to Grand Cayman by accident – you have to be sailing there by design.

    When we arrived in 1976 we. Made to feel welcome and there were only two classes of people, Caymanian and Expat. If you came to Cayman, married and put down roots you were accepted as Caymanian (see Norberg Thompson for example). I don’t think you would ever hear Heber Arch or Rene Hislop talking about their projects being a first for indigenous Caymanians.

    This whole attitude about who is real Caymanian, vs paper Caymanian reminds me of The Dr. Seuss book Sneetches with Stars!

    Cayman has always been a place of opportunity for hard working Caymanians. May she one day get back to being the friendly, loving place that I was privileged to grow up in!

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  2. To be fair Herb Neely, it appears Mr. Ebanks himself used the term indigenous Caymanian which is why it appears in quotes in the article in his description of the project. Point well though that even the Ebanks and Boddens of the island aren’t indigenous as they were the result of European colonization efforts.

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  3. On any account this is great new this is going to be a nice development for that area. I am glad to see someone other then large developers and Dart investing into Caymans future. So Kudos to you Mr Ebanks wherever you’re ancestors are from.

    In my opinion if your Born in Cayman you’re Caymanian it’s as simple as that ..

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  4. Personally, I feel the CIG could, and should, have done a lot more.

    4 million in concessions for a 200 million project (or 2 percent) seems maybe a touch mean spirited.

    The Ritz development got much more help than that and still ultimately ended up defaulting on stamp duty…

    Doctor Shetty got assistance and regulatory changes…

    And even though the Dart deals concessions are mixed up with roads and other ‘donations’, it still looks like they got a much better overall deal than Mr Ebanks did based on the above?

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