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(CNS Business): A four-star business hotel with a major convention centre is said to be in the works for the site which was once home to the Hyatt hotel but has been in a state of dereliction for the last eight years. After close to a decade of legal wrangling associated with the insurance claims on the property, the owners are now in a position to redevelop the site. Sources tell CNS Business that it will eventually become a branded hotel catering to the international business community, with a major convention centre, 168 rooms, a spa facility, a new swimming pool and all the other amenities associated with a modern facility catering to conventions and conferences.
The news of the site’s redevelopment is likely to be widely welcomed across Cayman and is one the first major developments in quite a while that is unlikely to cause any new controversies. The derelict hotel has been an eyesore for the last eight years and has impacted the owners of the associated condo community, the Britannia, situated behind the hotel, as well.
Located originally off the West Road, the hotel was badly damaged during Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and then split from its Seven Mile Beach frontage when the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension went straight through the grounds of the property.
After Ivan, the owners became bogged down in a protracted legal battle with various insurance companies, which saw the hotel slip further and further into a state of disrepair. The owners had, however, opened the Beach Suites side of the hotel shortly after Ivan and continued under the Hyatt brand until the international hotel chain pulled out in 2007. The beach side was renamed Grand Cayman Beach Suites and was managed directly by the owners Embassy Investments.
Although the property remains in the hands of Embassy, a new director is said to have taken charge of the project and will be seeing the renovation of the new hotel through to completion.
Work has already started and CNS Business understands that some buildings at the site are being demolished while the main building is being completely stripped back before a full renovation gets underway. The general contractors for the main redevelopment of the new hotel have not yet been selected but the owners are believed to be in talks with two of Cayman’s leading general contractors. The work on the demolition is currently being done by Cayman Structural Group and DDL Studios.
As the hotel is no longer directly connected to the Grand Cayman Beach Suites, which enjoys a frontage in the middle of Cayman’s famous Seven Mile Beach, the decision to develop a business hotel with appropriate facilities appears to be a sensible solution to get the most from the site. With most of Cayman’s hotel stock designed for the tourist, the move to a convention hotel should see the owners take advantage of an untapped market in Cayman that may also help attract new visitors to the islands.
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