Today the Cayman Islands Government, the National Roads Authority (NRA) and Dart Realty signed the Third Amendment to the NRA Agreement, an economic stimulus package that has created employment opportunities, road infrastructure and sustainable development projects valued at more than US $800 million.
“This marks a major milestone in a six-year process between Government and Dart Realty,” said Chief Executive Officer Mark VanDevelde. “What began as conversations on how to stimulate the economy during the global economic crisis evolved into an innovative agreement to create road infrastructure and incentivise our long-term development activity in the Cayman Islands.”
The NRA Agreement, executed in December 2011, included the extension of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway to West Bay, the redevelopment of the Courtyard Marriott hotel which had been closed since 2008 and the legal closure of a section West Bay Road. A subsequent amendment added an expansion and improvement of Public Beach along with land, a network of biking and walking trails and US $5 million for community programmes.
When the hotel redeveloped as Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa welcomes its first guests in November 2016, these projects will represent more than US $350 million in direct investment. More than 775 construction workers are at the Kimpton site each day as the hotel nears completion.
From the commencement of the initial NRA Agreement projects in January 2012, Dart Realty’s development initiatives have provided more than 3.1 million hours of work or the equivalent of 344 continuous, full-time jobs over a period of more than four years.
In February 2015, Dart Realty and the Cayman Islands Government announced consensus on a Third Amendment to the NRA Agreement which eliminated the 50% tourism tax rebate. Under the amended Agreement, Dart Realty will receive an increase in the development duty waiver cap already in place through the NRA Agreement, as well as other duty abatements and waivers related to Dart’s development over the next 30 years.
Also as part of the Third Amendment, Dart Realty committed to investing a further US $400 million in development activity including the realignment and expansion of the Esterley Tibbetts from the Century 21 Roundabout through Camana Bay to the Butterfield Roundabout. The Third Amendment also provides for a legal mechanism that will allow development on an elevated plane over the realigned Esterley Tibbetts Highway as well as a provision for Dart Realty to purchase the freehold title to the former Safehaven lands, which include the North Sound Golf Club.
Most recently Dart Realty and the NRA agreed upon a pedestrian link now under construction south of the Camana Bay Town Centre that will facilitate safe passage beneath the Esterley Tibbetts Highway. This link will allow the public to walk or cycle from Camana Bay and Cayman International School to the National Gallery and the Harquail Theatre as well as the sports facilities being planned on the west side of the road.
“Our working relationship with the Cayman Islands Government and the National Roads Authority has proven to be positive throughout the process, characterized by collaboration to achieve the goal of continued economic stimulus,” said Chief Operating Officer Jackie Doak. “In addition to fulfilling our commitments under the NRA Agreement, we are moving ahead with diverse development projects which reflect and reinforce our confidence in the ongoing growth and prosperity of the Cayman Islands.”