Plans for an 18-hole Arnold Palmer golf course and resort in the eastern districts are still on track despite a lull in activity on the project since the death of the golf legend, developer Ironwood says.
Ironwood has hired Lee Hudson, the project manager on the Kimpton resort, and moved into new administrative offices in Caribbean Plaza.
Mr. Hudson, who was also project manager on the Ernie Els-designed Albany course in the Bahamas, said clearing on the site, off Frank Sound Road, would likely begin in late summer.
David Moffitt of Ironwood said the death of Mr. Palmer last year and discussions over the hoped-for highway extension associated with the project contributed to delays.
“The plan was to start in November last year. I think from the funding component, Arnold Palmer’s involvement was part of that, so with his passing they paused for a second and we had to reset from November.”
He said Mr. Palmer’s family has indicated they are fully committed to completing the project.
Mr. Hudson, who came on board this month, said, “Mr. Palmer’s passing has affected the project in that it has ingrained in his children a burning desire to get this done. The family is committed to doing this project as part of his legacy.”
The deadline for a deal to be done on the road passed in December last year, triggering a package of duty concessions for the developer. Mr. Moffitt said he is still hopeful that the road will get built, and he is ready to return to the negotiating table after the election.
But he said the golf course and resort are proceeding, either way.
“We still would like the road; we are open to discussions about how to do it. Whatever administration is there after May we can work with,” he said.
Mr. Hudson said preliminary surveying and mapping of the site has taken place, but the real work of creating the golf course will not start till the end of the year.
“We are carrying out investigations to help conservation efforts when we begin clearing. We will go through the site and make sure our conservation commitments are being met. I am learning a lot about orchids,” he said.
“After we get it cleared, there is a ton of surveying that goes on, then we have got to start excavating the lakes, and that gives us the fill to start molding the golf course. We are moving 1.5 million cubic yards of dirt to create this golf course.”
Mr. Hudson will be responsible for managing the golf course and infrastructure development, while Joe Imparato’s City Services will build the clubhouse and hotel. Mr. Moffitt acknowledged the delays had been frustrating.
“We have had our share of setbacks, there is no question about that.
“We have a great project. Cayman has been waiting for someone to do a championship golf course like this for quite a while.
“We have assembled a great team and we will get it done.”