Storm damaged site finally sold
The site of the Mariner’s Cove condominium complex, demolished during Hurricane Ivan, has finally been sold, more than 11 years after the storm.
The wooden buildings were swept away by the 50-foot waves that pounded Grand Cayman’s southern shores on Sept. 11 and 12, 2004. Residents, evacuated as the hurricane approached, returned the following day to apocalyptic scenes of cars and fridges lying in the road, piled amid the debris of their homes.
Standing in what used to be the living room of his rental property last week, Jim Keim reflected that it had been a long road for the 36 owners to regain what they lost in the storm.
Insurance paid out the cost of the buildings, but it was not until the US$1.55 million sale of the property was finalized on Friday that they were guaranteed a final payout on the land.
The property has been purchased by Revive Cayman Ltd, a company involving realtor Kim Lund and his wife Ashleigh. Mr. Lund said there were no immediate plans for development, though they have a long-term vision of turning it into a wellness retreat.
In the decade since the storm, the property has been partially reclaimed by nature. The once manicured lawns are thick with fast-growing Casuarina trees. The pools are filled with rain water and debris and heavy bushes are slowly gaining territory from the weather-beaten tiled floors of the long-gone condos.
Mr. Keim, who owned two properties at the site, was away on business in Asia when the storm hit. It was six weeks before he could return to Cayman.
By that time he had learned that the entire complex had been destroyed. “I had two long-term renters in the units and I was most concerned about them. Thankfully, everyone was evacuated and no one was hurt.”
In the years since the storm, the executive committee has continued to meet. Unlike some complexes, the owners were able to get an initial insurance payout for the buildings.
But it was not until the strata laws requiring 100 percent agreement of owners were relaxed that a land sale could be seriously contemplated.
“It is almost impossible to get 100 percent agreement for anything,” said Mr. Keim. “Some people wanted to redevelop, some owners were non-responsive.”
Even getting agreement from 75 percent of the owners was not an easy task. It took two years, from the change in the law in 2012, to locate all the owners and get approval to move forward.
The property was listed for sale in early 2015 and a deal, which guarantees the owners $35,000 each, was finalized Friday.
“It has been a long, long process and we are relieved that it has been resolved,” said Mr. Keim, who managed the sale on behalf of the strata’s executive committee.