Owners at Lacovia, one of Seven Mile Beach’s oldest condo developments, voted Saturday to demolish their homes and replace them with three new, 10-story buildings.
They have partnered with Bronte Development, which won a bid to redevelop the property after a competitive tender process.
Each of Lacovia’s 55 owners has been guaranteed an apartment in the new complex, which will feature a mix of multi-million dollar homes, including $20 million top-floor penthouse suites.
James Lagan, director of Bronte, said the development, which features floor-to-ceiling glass and landscaped outdoor terraces, would bring a new level of design to Seven Mile Beach.
He said the partnership allows the Lacovia strata to retain ownership of the land and gives Bronte an opportunity to develop what he hopes will be an “iconic” project on the best part of the beach.
The development will feature 88 apartments, a gym, food and beverage service, reception, concierge and other amenities.
Bronte expects to generate enough from the 33 additional apartments to fund the construction costs, as well as its developer’s fee.
The deal follows more than a year of discussions over the future of Lacovia. The original development, opposite Lone Star grill on West Bay Road, was built in 1981.
The buildings had fallen into disrepair and would have required substantial investment to refurbish.
Mr. Lagan said the strata executive committee and a wider development sub-committee had led negotiations with various developers. He said his group had met individually with all of the Lacovia owners and tailored its design pitch to their specifications.
When the proposal went to a vote on Saturday, it had unanimous support from all 55 owners. The Lacovia owners will each get a three-bedroom, 3,000 square-foot apartment, worth an average of $4.5 million, in the new complex, Mr. Lagan said.
“This was completely owner driven,” Mr. Lagan said. “It took a lot of work to get 100 percent support, and it made my day to see so many different people celebrating [after the vote].”
Mr. Lagan believes the partnership, a first for Cayman, could be the formula for the future development of Seven Mile Beach.
With vacant beachfront land in short supply, he said developers could work with stratas to redevelop older properties rather than seeking to buy them out or break new ground at less optimal sites.
Bronte is working with Swedish architects OOAK, which designed the Tetris project in the Bahamas, where Justin Timberlake and tennis star Venus Williams have homes.
The plans will be submitted to the Central Planning Authority later this year.
Stefan Cohen, a director at Bronte, believes the new Lacovia will be at the vanguard of a new type of modern design for Seven Mile Beach. He said the unique design would attract a different type of investor. Kim Lund and Dillon Claassens, of Re/Max, are the brokers for the project. Mr. Lund said the complex was already 67 percent sold.
He said, “There is pent-up demand for this kind of project. We have already sold the most expensive apartments in the development.”
Mr. Lund believes there is scope for other stratas along Seven Mile Beach to follow the Lacovia model and cash in on their locations by redeveloping their properties along similar lines, within the expanded parameters of modern planning legislation. Michael Treacy, of Plum, the management company at Lacovia, said the strata had been examining its options for several years in the face of escalating maintenance costs for the aging buildings.
He said the Lacovia owners included professionals with expertise in planning and development who had led the process. The Bronte project had appealed, he said, because it was relatively low impact, adding only 33 units over the 4.5 acre site.
He added, “The whole process has been led by the Executive Committee, which I believe is a first for Cayman and will no doubt be of interest to other strata corporations on Seven Mile Beach, who may also have aging buildings that were constructed to density requirements of old.”