Road extension set to start November

| 11/08/2015 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): Two years after the Ironwood project was announced, developers said they are finally set to break ground on the $360 million commercial, tourism and residential community in Frank Sound by the end of this year. The uncertainty surrounding the future development of Cayman’s first ever PGA championship golf course has been questioned and scrutinized on several occasions, while government officials negotiated the expansion of the East West Arterial Road. Project Director James McVey told CNS Business they are one step closer to finalizing the long-awaited Ironwood development, with the signing of the road deal just two weeks away.

The basic agreement was made for a public-private partnership between government and Ironwood developers to fund the 10-mile construction of the East-West corridor from Hirst Road to Frank Sound Road in order to provide the island with additional modern infrastructure as well as access to the proposed development.

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Proposed Ironwood development

“I would say we are in the eleventh hour of completing our agreement with the government and we hope, probably around the first of November, we can start construction on that road. Once the licence agreement is signed in the early part of August, we can turn our attention to all the structures here on the Ironwood place,” McVey explained. “I would project that somewhere around the first of November you’re going to see clearing activity for the road and shortly behind that, within the month, we’re start clearing for the golf course and town centre project.”

What is now a plot of undeveloped land just past the Botanic Park, McVey said, will be a vacation resort that features a town centre with shops, restaurants, including a grocery store and an Arnold Palmer Signature championship 18-hole golf course. Designed by local architect John Doak, the master site will carry a strong West Indian/Spanish Colonial theme. However, the project director explained that the first step to creating the 600-acre golfing and community project is the extension of the East West Arterial Road.

Having come under fire in the Legislative Assembly from MLA Arden McLean as to the likelihood that either the road or the development would even happen, Minister of Planning Kurt Tibbetts acknowledged the process was taking a long time and stated that the government could not commit to any public-private partnership before the necessary legal procedures were set out clearly in an agreement. Government leaders hope the expansion to the road will spur even more development in the future.

McVey said the road extension would not only help pave the way for the Ironwood development,but would also make the easterly commute much easier for community members.

“When we finish this course it’s going to attract a whole new sector of the economy, meaning the serious golfers that travel the world just to play golf,” he said, noting that it would create jobs for Caymanians during the construction as well as when it’s finished to serve all the business that will be here.

He said it would take about two years for the Ironwood development to be completed. When asked if the development would interfere with the 65 acres of the protected Botanic Park, he maintained that all structures and construction plans fit within the already approved usage of the property.

“We are not turning this into an industrial area. It’s the next best thing that could be placed next to something like the Botanical Park,” McVey explained.

Reports state that the new plan will include a median with one lane on each side, with a price tag around $50 million.

The expansion of the East West Arterial Road will also allow easier access to the redevelopment of the Beach Bay Resort. With plans to rebuild the now run-down building into a five-star hotel, government officials said they are currently waiting on agreements to be signed and hope to have everything finalised in the next couple of weeks. The plan to redevelop this area has been on government’s agenda for several years. The 50 acre property is located at the end of Beach Bay Road in a residential area. Reports state the first phase of the project will cost around $200 million, with construction planned to begin in January 2016.

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Category: Construction, Featured, Local Business

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