A plan in the works for some seven years reached a major milestone on Wednesday, when government and Cayman Enterprise City officials broke ground on the special economic zone’s 53-acre campus.

Cindy O’Hara, chief development officer for Cayman Enterprise City, said that over the next several months, workers will be clearing, compacting and filling the site in preparation for the construction of two buildings in the area between the Cayman Tennis Club on South Sound Road and Fairbanks Road.

Construction on the first building will begin around January, she said, with the second building starting about a year after that.

Ms. O’Hara said people will be able to track the development’s project, starting around January, via a webcam linked to Enterprise City’s website.

Ms. O’Hara said she hopes that in two years, a grand opening will be held for the first building, which will serve as the “campus hub.” New Enterprise City companies will likely move into the first building, and established companies that are currently located in other areas of Cayman will move into the second building, she said.

The work that started Wednesday is the $38.4 million phase one of a 25-year, $500 million master plan that will feature office buildings, residential areas, restaurants and amenities.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, CEC chief development officer Cindy O’Hara, and CEO Charlie Kirkconnell at Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

Other features include rooftop greeneries, solar panels, a water-harvesting system, and slick bottom walls to make the buildings “iguana-proof,” said Ms. O’Hara. It is also envisaged that a proposed network of interior roads within the development will link to Fairbanks Road via a new connector road.

Ms. O’Hara compared it to Camana Bay, except with more of a “campus-like feel.” Her company, Build (Cayman) Ltd., will be the construction manager, with various aspects of the project being bid out to other companies, she said.

“This allows small contractors to get a piece of the pie,” she said.

Meanwhile, the island’s special economic zone – launched in 2012 to attract international companies, which do business off island, to the territory – continues to grow. Enterprise City announced in September that its 250th company came on board, and Enterprise City CEO Charlie Kirkconnell said he’s aiming to have 500 sponsored companies here within the next five years.

Enterprise City’s contribution to the local economy has been US$155 million from 2012 to the end of last year, and is expected to be US$50 million this year alone, he said.

“We expect this positive trajectory will continue in the years ahead,” he said.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, third from left, and Cayman Enterprise City CEO Charlie Kickconnell, fourth from left, with government officials and Enterprise City staff, break ground on the special economic zone’s campus Wednesday morning.