James Bovell, Property Persepctive

Parts of the Caribbean impacted by the devastating hurricane season of 2017 are currently undergoing tremendous change as they rebuild their tourism and real estate products. This means increasing pressure on the Cayman Islands to improve our own product by diversifying our offering for visitors and residents, in terms of where they can stay and where they can live.

There is a danger that those jurisdictions now receiving insurance payouts for the damage inflicted by hurricanes Irma and Maria last year will eventually end up with a superior product than we can offer, so in many respects it’s important for Cayman to keep ahead.

Thankfully, there are new developments in the pipeline for Grand Cayman that will bring not only excitement and innovation to the real estate industry because of what they have to offer, they will also bring tremendous benefits to the country as a whole.

The five-star Grand Hyatt Grand Cayman Hotel and Residences is an important new development for Cayman because it brings with it flexible investment potential as the suites are sold off individually, as well as a great resort for tourists, with investments part of an overall rental pool (similar to the PIP – Permanent Income Pool – residences at The Ritz-Carlton) or completely outside of the rental pool.

Building a development of this size (351 rooms with 167 residential suites at a cost of $285 million) means considerable employment opportunities for local people, and ultimately, a continuous revenue stream for government via its 13 percent room tax charge. I believe Cayman’s GDP will only improve in the years to come as a result.

The fact that this development is taking place at the south end of Seven Mile Beach just north of George Town is also good news for this part of town, which has not had anything like this kind of investment up until now. As it’s so close to George Town, it is anticipated that there will be interest from the business sector with the ease of getting in and out of George Town, as well as its great location near to shops and other amenities.

Another exciting Seven Mile Beach development that will be offering similar benefits for the country is the new Seacrest, being created by developer Brian Butler. This 10-story, two-condo-per-floor development will also be offering daily rentals, thereby again assuring government of a steady annual income. From my perspective, I think one of the most exciting aspects of this development is that it will effectively connect two previously separate parts of Seven Mile Beach, as they work to slope the beach toward the sea. Creating continuous access for people who like to walk the length of Seven Mile Beach is a good thing, in my opinion.

Aqua, a development by James Lagan, will take shape between George Town Villas and Grand View condominiums. This is a particularly exciting project because of its futuristic, modern design offering up even more choice within the real estate offering. The fact that Dart is in the planning stages of introducing the Four Seasons is another extremely exciting prospect for Cayman. While it’s still being decided as to the precise makeup of this property (residences vs. hotel), the very name indicates that this will be a huge project for the island, bringing a whole new dynamic of visitor to the Cayman Islands.

Cayman’s tourism and real estate industries continue to boom as competitor jurisdictions work to rebuild bigger and better than ever.

James Bovell is broker/owner at RE/MAX Cayman Islands.

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