The Dart group has confirmed that it is purchasing the Paradise Villas resort and Hungry Iguana restaurant on Little Cayman.
The deal represents the Dart group’s first project on the Sister Islands. Dart immediately sought to reassure people on the island, famous for its natural beauty and lack of development, that it would not be attempting a large-scale project on the site.
“We share the widely held view that Little Cayman’s charm comes from its quaintness and unspoiled nature. We intend to help preserve that character for this and future generations,” said Mark VanDevelde, chief executive officer of Dart Realty.
He said the developer has not yet decided what it would do with the property.
The six beach-side villas are a popular accommodation spot for dive tourists exploring Little Cayman’s Bloody Bay Marine Park. The Hungry Iguana bar and restaurant is one of only a few nightspots on the island and serves as a de facto airport departure and arrival lounge.
The purchase of the two properties is the latest acquisition in a busy year so far for Dart Realty, which previously announced purchases in Grand Cayman of the Beach Suites, the old Hyatt Hotel, and the Britannia golf course, and the acquisition of the Dragon Bay lands bordering the North Sound, which it previously held on a leasehold agreement.
Mr. VanDevelde said Dart is committed to preserving the character of Little Cayman, as well as its reputation as a nature-based tourism destination with world-renowned diving and conservation research efforts.
“Although we have no immediate plans for the properties included in the purchase, we are excited about having the opportunity to explore sustainable options,” he said.
A team from Dart will meet with the management and staff of the resort, which has 12 employees, in the coming weeks before it closes in August for its annual break, he said.
“Our immediate priority is to gain a better understanding of the business operations and inspect the facilities,” Mr. VanDevelde said.
The properties, previously owned by businessman Ken Hall, are on the southern coast of Little Cayman, adjacent to the island’s runway.
Marc Pothier, who manages both businesses, said he is excited about the opportunity for the island.
“I have great expectations that this place will become even better than it has been,” he said.