Dart buys Barefoot Beach property

A $10 million piece of beachfront property in East End – once slated for a Mandarin Oriental Hotel – has been acquired by Dart Realty, the developer has confirmed. 

“Barefoot Beach has been for sale for many years and the distressed asset was recently acquired by a subsidiary of Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd,” Mark VanDevelde, CEO of Dart Realty said Wednesday. 

The 20-acre site with 2,000 feet of white sand beach is already zoned for tourism use and was billed as Cayman’s most significant resort development site when it was listed for sale after the Mandarin deal collapsed. 

According to the listing record filed with the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association, the property sold for $10 million on Dec. 30 last year. The new owner of the property is listed in the Land Registry as SparrowHawk Ltd. Large developers, like Dart, often use subsidiary companies to purchase land. 

Sparrowhawk is also listed as the owner of a piece of land next to Smith Barcadere, which was offered by Dart to government during negotiations over the For Cayman Investment Alliance deal, which was never finalized. However, part of that deal was sectioned out and became known as the National Roads Authority agreement, which paved the way for the construction of the Kimpton Hotel on Seven Mile Beach. 

So far, the developer has not indicated any concrete plans for developments in the eastern districts, but the government has indicated it wants to see an eastward expansion of the island’s tourism product. Dart has already revealed plans for another hotel on Seven Mile Beach and has discussed plans for a business hotel within Camana Bay, so it could be well down the road before the Barefoot Beach site is developed. 

“While we have no immediate plans for the site, with the continued growth of Health City and development in the Eastern Districts, it presents a great opportunity for a future coastal resort,” Mr. VanDevelde said. 

In a recent interview with the Cayman Islands Journal, Mr. VanDevelde said the developer had enough land holdings to react to demand, depending on how Cayman developed. 

“I think to some degree [development] will be reactionary in nature,” Mr. VanDevelde said. “As the economy continues to grow out east, if Shetty’s [Health City Cayman Islands] grows as anticipated, it’s going to throw a lot of opportunity in the eastern districts for future development, whether that takes a form of residential or commercial or lodging type of development. I think our looking at land banking some lands … is a measure of providing future opportunities if you’ve got a successful Shetty development, if you have a successful Ironwood development, because you will have more activity out there and more people living out there.” 

The Barefoot Beach property was the site of a previous plan for a 114-room luxury resort and spa. Mandarin Oriental announced in 2005 that it would manage the exclusive resort, also featuring 37 condominiums, but the plans were abandoned in the wake of the global financial crisis. 

Barefoot Beach in East End.

Barefoot Beach in East End. – PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY

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  1. Anyone played Monopoly and try to pass on someones land when everything has been sold? I did, and paid the price for it. The game ended for me on a very sad note. I could not buy land, build house, or business, even if that option was available because there was no where to build it. What if the land owner already had the business I was thinking of? Well, I just put the game back in the box and forgot about it. Or, try to forget about it!

  2. And while were on the subject. That property did NOT belong to me….I am NOT $10,000,000 richer and I do not know Mr. Dart. You gossipers out there who are spreading that rumor….please go pay my bills.
    G Nowak ( Barefoot Man )

  3. William, with regard to the Monopoly comment, I was looking at a map from above Cayman, then, thinking of a way to drive from everywhere else to West bay on Government land. This option is getting smaller and smaller. Also, when our kids, 20, 30 years from now will want to open a business, a piece of land may be required. In the world we live today, there is a large possibility that 90% of Cayman’s land will belongs to 4 or 5 individuals only, and if those individuals do not agree with the type of business you want to open? I have nothing against land buyers but I am just getting mixed feelings about Grand Cayman opportunities that will be available to only a few in 30 years.

  4. @Pierre, That is why I brought my land long ago I am also about to close on my second piece and neither one will ever be for sale, it’s staying in the family because land in Cayman is becoming more and more a high commodity and eventually yep it will be hard to buy land in Cayman at a decent price which is why smart investors like Dart are buying land now for developments down the line.

    People that held onto their land instead of selling it to the highest bidders will be the only ones that own a piece of Cayman in the future. Those the sold the land they owned or inherited have no one else to blame but themselves no longer being able to say that they own a part of Cayman.

  5. Michael I certainly must agree with your comments. The Cayman people has seen the works of the Dart Foundation. Before he began building by-ways and high-ways, underpass and over pass these areas looked like a wilderness.
    I am very supportive of his works, and best of all the Cayman people are very welcome at all of his establishments. Nice piece of property, and no doubt amazing plans will be in the making to Highlight the Eastern end of the Island.