Sunshine Suites gets new lease

Sunshine Suites is renewing its 99-year lease of Crown land. - PHOTO: JEWEL LEVY

The owners of the Sunshine Suites resort on West Bay Road have agreed to pay US$4 million to the Cayman Islands government to renew a 99-year lease of Crown land used by the business, Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts announced Wednesday.

Mr. Tibbetts told the Legislative Assembly that the section of land, about six acres behind the Cayman Falls plaza on West Bay Road, is currently leased for a “nominal rental” for a 99-year term. He said that term began in April 1950 and was due to expire in about 33 years.

Mr. Tibbetts said that the resort owners had plans to “upgrade” the property and approached the government to renew the lease earlier this year.

The Crown has agreed to a modification of the current lease to provide up to a 99-year extension for use of the land. Mr. Tibbetts said Cabinet advised the governor in March to approve the lease extension.

The extension was in exchange for a premium payment of US$4.05 million and would continue with the nominal lease payment each year.

Mr. Tibbetts said government received three valuations of the property based on the long-term lease arrangement that varied between $4.1 million and $4 million.

Last fall, the Cayman Compass reported that a U.S.-based investment group had purchased the Sunshine Suites resort. The group was also in talks for the 343-room Westin Grand Cayman resort, which is across the street from Sunshine Suites on the beach side of West Bay Road.

Once the deals are completed, both properties are expected to undergo extensive renovations.