Owners of a beachside property on Little Cayman are seeking planning permission to build a beach resort with overwater bungalows and on-land cottages on the southern side of the island.
The site is owned by Peppercorn Investments Ltd., a company for which the sole director is William Maines, with shareholders Matthew Wight and Naul Bodden.
The location currently houses the Kingston Bight Beach Bar and a number of other buildings on Wonder Lane, off Guy Banks Road.
Plans for the beach resort and wellness spa, drawn up by architect John Doak, show 19 one-bedroom bungalows along a dock that extends 450 feet out over the water, as well as six two-storey three-bedroom cottages and 12 single-storey two-bedroom cottages on land by the beach.
The 3.3 acre site, which will also include a restaurant, bar, spa and swimming pool, will be surrounded by a golf cart/jogging trail.
Wight told the Cayman Compass that the units on the site would be reminiscent of traditional Cayman-style cottages.
He said the site was chosen because is sheltered from the wind and sea, is located by shallow water, and is an area that had previously been developed.
The company has submitted two applications. One application for the on-land cottages has been submitted to the Development Control Board, which oversees planning applications for the Sister Islands; and a coastal works licence application for the on-water bungalows and dock has been lodged with the Ministry of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency, Wight said.
Cabinet will ultimately make the decision on whether to issue a coastal works licence to the developers.
Wight said this is the first time that such on-water accommodations have been planned locally. “No one has done this before in Cayman,” he said, adding that the process of constructing the on-water properties would be similar to that of building a dock.
The construction of the on-water bungalows and dock will involve placing piles and concrete pillars in the seabed below. The bungalows will be built eight feet above sea level.
“This isn’t some high-rise hotel damaging the mangroves,” he said. “There are no mangroves and there will be no removal of vegetation.”
Wight said his two business partners in the venture had both owned properties in Cayman for more than 25 years, and Bodden had been a fishing guide decades ago.
“We three Caymanians believe that this is a viable project, and an opportunity for Little Cayman to diversify its product offering… We feel that it will be of positive benefit to Little Cayman… and will be an economic driver,” he said.
The trio have been working on the project for the past three years, and have carried out a technical report on the site, he added.
According to the plans, the existing 125-feet-long dock at Kingston Bight will be demolished and replaced by a new one on which the overwater bungalows will be built. Overwater bungalows and villas are commonly seen in resorts in places like the Maldives and Bora Bora in French Polynesia.
Addressing concerns that have been raised on social media about whether the bungalows could withstand a hurricane, Wight said the buildings would be constructed to the standards of the Building Code.
“The way the property is situated, it is west-facing. Of course, all hurricanes are different, but the site is in the lee of where storms typically come from, the southeast, so it will be in as protected an area as it could be. There is also reef protection, so wave action would be minimal.”
The site has been home to a variety of enterprises over the years, including a fishing lodge and a kitesurfing centre.
Bodden is president of development company NCB Group, and Wight is its managing director. However, Wight said NCB was not involved in the Little Cayman project, as he and Bodden were acting in their capacity as shareholders of Peppercorn Investments rather than as representatives of NCB in the project.
The plans can be viewed on the Department of Planning website or in person at the department’s counters at the Government Administration Building in George Town, until 6 Aug.