Demolition crews have been working at the Spanish Bay Reef Resort site in West Bay, clearing buildings that have sat vacant for almost nine years.
The 67-room resort hotel was originally built in 1972 on 1,900 feet of oceanfront property in the Barkers area of West Bay.
There are no redevelopment plans for the site yet, one of the owners said, but there has been some interest in the oceanfront property along Conch Point Road.
“The buildings were in a bad state,” said Andreas Ugland, one of the owners who has been hoping to redevelop the property in recent years. “In order to get something started, we need it to look the part.”
James Andrews with Integra Realty Resources, a commercial real estate consultant, agrees with Mr. Ugland. “It’s a tear-down,” he said, but added that the unique site could prove to be a good spot for a new hotel or dive resort.
“There’s really nothing much up there other than Cobalt Coast,” he said, referring to the nearby resort that caters to divers.
The owners of the Brac Beach resort recently bought Cobalt Coast.
“Spanish Bay is a unique little site,” he said.
The site has a breakwater jutting out into the ocean from the days before coastal works licenses were required.
“It’s a nice protected bay to get in and swim and teach diving,” Mr. Andrews said, adding to the attractiveness for potential developers and investors.
The breakwater juts out from the coast and protects an inlet carved into the ironshore where boats can dock. The site fronts both ironshore and sandy beach, divided at the breakwater.
The hotel closed in 2007 and went up for sale. Mr. Ugland, with Bay Reef Holdings Ltd., bought the property that year. “But then 2008 came and the whole thing got put on hold,” Mr. Andrews said, referring to the recession that hit financial markets around the world.
Mr. Ugland has been making plans for the property for years. In 2010, he told the Cayman Compass about plans to rebuild the 50-room hotel and add another 50 rooms.
According to Mr. Ugland at the time, the plans were to develop a private, quiet resort spread out over the large property to cater to scuba divers.
Since 2008, hotel construction projects have started coming back online. Dart’s Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa on Seven Mile Beach is on track for a November opening.
Treasure Island, on the other end of Seven Mile Beach, has new owners and will soon have the Margaritaville brand as a Miami-based developer works on renovating the resort.
There has also been movement recently on a five-star hotel in Bodden Town at Beach Bay, and at the Ironwood development in Frank Sound.