Cayman Kai hotel plan re-emerges

The Kaibo beach is a great spot for kite-flying.

A planned area development application, including a hotel, marina, restaurants and retail properties in Cayman Kai, has resurfaced, with the developer hoping to begin work on the first phase of the project next year.

Dale Crighton
Dale Crighton

A slightly amended version of the PAD application, which was first submitted in 2013 and later withdrawn, was filed with the Central Planning Authority last month.

Dale Crighton of Crighton Development, which is behind the application, said the full project could take as long as 20 years to come to fruition, depending on market demand.

He believes demand is already there for a boutique-style hotel and marina, as well as commercial properties, which he indicated would be the first elements of the master plan to get under way, pending planning approvals.

The planned area development essentially seeks to tweak the zoning in the area. Each element of the project would require separate planning applications.

When the long-term plan first surfaced in 2013, neighboring residents expressed concern over the scale of the development, its environmental impact and effect on the character of the neighborhood.

“We believe that the existence of this 50-acre development will, by its scale alone, create a nuisance and an annoyance to our owners and guests and destroy the peace, tranquility and quality of life in our neighborhood,” wrote the executive committee of the strata for The Sea Lodges of Cayman Kai, which is adjacent to the site of the proposed hotel.

The resubmitted plan has not been materially altered from the 2013 version.
Mr. Crighton told the Cayman Compass he believes the development would actually improve the area, and called for the neighbors to support it.

“The best thing they could do is to help me improve the area. This project is going to enhance their values as well,” he said.

He said currently there are no facilities for the many tourists and second-home owners in the area.

“There is no supermarket, there is no pharmacy, there is no gym,” he said. “There is demand up there for some of those kind of facilities.”

If the PAD application is approved, he expects to seek planning permission for at least 10,000 square feet of retail space in the area and begin work early next year.

Any time line for the hotel depends on “finding the right partners,” he said, indicating it would likely be a relatively small property, in the region of 60 rooms.

“It’s ripe for a hotel, but it has to be done in the right ambience to fit in with the Cayman Kai culture and design,” he said.

“Everything we want to do up there would be in keeping with the Cayman Kai modern Key West-style design. It would be high-end, low density. I would never think of doing a development in that area that would detract from that.”

The development statement filed with the PAD application highlights four distinct phases of development over the next 10 years, though Mr. Crighton indicated it could take longer.

“It all depends on demand,” he said. “I am not going to put anything up there that I can’t sell.”

The first phase calls for the hotel, small marina, condos and utilities.

The second phase calls for shopping, offices, a service station and boat storage.

The third phase calls for residences, apartments, a police outpost, community center and park.

The fourth phase calls for retail, restaurant, offices and apartments.

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  1. I am a resident of Cayman Kai. I opposed the prior development plan and oppose this one as well because it is totally inconsistent with the community that Cayman Kai was created to be and has been for decades. If it is of such great benefit to Cayman Kai, why has Mr. Crighton never sought the input of the existing residents as to what additional services they desire rather than simply telling us what “improvements” we need to our neighborhood? His plan also does more that “tweak” the current zoning, he wants to change it from low density residential to high density residential and commercial. This proposal is the height of arrogance and should never be allowed, just as his vacant Cays development should never been permitted.