Chamber of Commerce dubs Dart tower ‘high-rise jungle’

Chamber of Commerce President Chris Kirkconnell speaks at an economic forum last week.

Business leaders have spoken out against the Dart group’s plans for a so-called ‘iconic tower’ in the Cayman Islands, saying it is “not needed nor wanted” by the larger community.

Chamber of Commerce President Chris Kirkconnell said the overwhelming consensus of the business group was that Cayman does not need to become a “high-rise jungle”.

Dart has highlighted hopes to create a tower that will greatly exceed Cayman’s current 10-storey building height limit. The company has said it would invest around $1.5 billion in the building and related infrastructure. Premier Alden McLaughlin has indicated tentative support for the proposal, saying it is something Cayman should take a “long, hard look” at.

But Kirkconnell stated at a Chamber of Commerce Economic Forum last week and again in a press release Wednesday that business leaders do not believe it would be good for the island.

“We are already pushing our limits with the current building height restrictions and Caymanians from all walks of life, including members of the Chamber Council, all seem to agree that a 50-, 80- or 100-storey tower or skyscraper planted directly in the heart of Seven Mile Beach is not only not a sustainable way forward for our island, it is not needed nor wanted by the larger community,” he said.

Justin Howe, executive vice president of Real Estate Development and Operations for Decco, Dart’s development arm, gave the opposite perspective at the Chamber forum as he outlined Dart’s vision for a waterfront building on Seven Mile Beach, within the expanding Camana Bay development.

He said a five-star skyscraper resort that is instantly recognisable all over the world would signal strength, attract visitors and potentially draw billionaire investors to Cayman.

Howe referred to the observation decks of the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building, the rooftop infinity pool of Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands, or the vertical gardens of the Oasis tower in Dubai as examples of other iconic buildings.

“An iconic tower has the potential to be more than just a building. It can become a symbol of Cayman’s standing on the world stage,” he said.

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  1. Cayman is over built as it is. Again there is not enough black top for all the cars now. Where are we going to put all the cars and people when they leave this 30-50 story building. There is not enough beach on SMB for all of those extra people. Dart is already getting rid of Royal Palms one of the last beaches for the general public. Public beach can’t handle 20,000 cruise shippers. Enough is enough,