The long-vacant 7.1-acre Pageant Beach site at the southern tip of Seven Mile Beach will be developed as a five-star luxury resort.

Initial plans are to build 450 suites with 10-foot ceilings and 9-foot glass doors.

According to RE/MAX real estate broker James Bovell, the still-unnamed hotel will boast a 10th-floor bar and grill with an outside glass elevator, four swimming pools including a rooftop infinity pool, five outdoor beachfront and poolside restaurants and bars, a spa and fitness facility, a landscaped boardwalk, children’s center and 30,000 square feet of conference facilities.

The Cayman Islands Land Register, produced by the Lands and Survey Department, confirmed the developer is Miami-based Howard Hospitality Group, which on Jan. 30 placed a “caution” on the site under the name HHG Pageant Beach Ltd., meaning the company has committed to the 7.1-acre property – block 13E 165.

HHG is the same company that on Feb. 18 completed renovation of Seven Mile Beach’s old Treasure Island Resort, reopening it as the 285-room Margaritaville Beach Resort.

HHG also plans a 42-room “boutique” hotel near Lawrence Boulevard.

Despite multiple efforts, HHG chief operating officer and co-founder Michael Wilkings could not be reached for comment.

The 900-foot waterfront Pageant Beach site has been vacant since Cayman’s first tourist hotel, the 36-guest Pageant Beach Hotel, built in 1954, burned down in 1975. Property owner Susan Olde has long sought between $20 million and $23 million for the property, although RE/MAX owner Kim Lund, who brokered the HHG deal, said the cost could be as much as $50 million.

“The deal is not closed yet,” Mr. Lund said, “but the price is subject to a number of different things. A property like that 7.1 acres on Seven Mile Beach could sell for anything between $25 million and $50 million.”

Mr. Bovell said the hotel would offer an unnamed number of 700 sq. ft. beachfront suites, priced between US$595,000 and US$795,000; six two-bedroom, 1,700 sq. ft. villas, priced at US$1.6 million to US$1.8 million; and three three-bedroom, 4,000 sq. ft. penthouses, costing nearly $5 million each.

Mr. Bovell said the HHG residences at Pageant were priced to sell: “We will be pre-selling beachfront suites, villas and penthouses initially at low penetration-pricing levels,” Mr. Bovell said. “Sales are subject to final government approvals.”

When HHG formally declared interest, the site was “pending conditional,” meaning the potential buyer confronted a range of development requirements. Neither Mr. Bovell, Mr. Lund nor HHG would say if an environmental impact assessment – an often expensive and prolonged process – would be required.

Mr. Lund said, however, that construction could start “next year sometime,” but cautioned he could not confirm dates “because we are still pulling it all together.”

The proposed hotel development comes in the wake of late-February’s notice of a US$5.75 million Naul Bodden Homes deal for the nearby 1.82-acre Treehouse site, just south of Pageant Beach. NCB plans a five-story boutique hotel adjacent to commercial and residential development.

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