Dart Realty says its newly acquired land, including the old Hyatt hotel and the Brittania golf course, will one day be part of Camana Bay.
The purchase also includes the Beach Suites hotel, which is slated to close in September.
What will happen to those employees?
“Today Camana Bay is 600 acres and the acquisition of the lands to the north, that will add another 57 or 58 acres, so we’ll say 657 acres will be the town of Camana Bay,” said Dart Realty COO Jackie Doak.
She told Cayman 27 Dart Realty’s latest land acquisition will give the company’s master planners plenty of blank canvas to keep them busy.
“Once the acquisition is finalized, what we will be doing is looking at the master plan and opportunities that exist on integrating those lands into the Camana Bay community, integrating the connectivity of the Britannia owners into Camana Bay in a more meaningful way, and just doing master planning,” said Ms. Doak.
She said it’s uncertain if the existing structure of the old Hyatt, derelict since hurricane Ivan, will be integrated into those master plans.
“We were in a similar condition as when we acquired the former Courtyard Marriott, where there’s an existing structure that may be a viable structure. We haven’t made any decisions on whether we are going to redevelop or take down that structure, and that’s part of our due diligence and study that will happen over the next few months,” she explained.
One thing that is certain, Embassy Investments, current owners of the Beach Suites hotel announced the property will close in September.
Ms. Doak said both parties have already met with employees about future opportunities.
“The benefit is you have a cadre of Caymanians and employees who’ve worked in the hospitality industry for many years, and the timing with the opening of the Kimpton just a few months away is almost perfect for us to interview and indeed hire some of those employees for the Kimpton,” said Ms. Doak.
She told Cayman 27 the acquisition will mean the old Hyatt property, once a jewel of Cayman’s stay-over tourism product, can make a meaningful contribution to the economy once more.
“There are many who think it’s positive that we have acquired the Hyatt lands, specifically because they have sat undeveloped since 2004, so you know, 12-13 years, and we have the ability to address that situation in a positive way, to continue our development in the Cayman Islands that adds to the economic catalyst for the island,” she said.
Tourism minister Moses Kirkconnell said the pending closure of Beach Suites and its 53 guest rooms won’t have a lasting negative impact on Cayman tourism since Dart is building a new resort right up the road.
“While this is unfortunate, the room stock will quickly be supplemented by 266 guest rooms and 62 rental apartments when the Kimpton Seafire opens its doors two months later,” Minister Kirkconnell said in a press release.
The Deputy Premier said he’s pleased with Dart’s pledge to offer opportunities to the Beach Suites staff.