Dart buys Hyatt, Beach Suites to close

| 16/03/2016 | 44 Comments

Hyatt-hotel-site-Grand-Cayman(CNS Business): Dart Realty (Cayman) has acquired another major piece of property in Grand Cayman’s popular tourist area and where the current hotel operation is set to close down in six months. The island’s largest landholder has bought Beach Suites and the former Hyatt Resort, as well as the Britannia Golf Course but the firm has not revealed what it plans to do with this latest acquisition. The former owners had made the decision to close the hotel in the heart of Seven Mile Beach, which will not only impact workers at the hotel but also room stock on the island.

On a number of occasions the current PPM administration has also cited the site of the former Hyatt as one of its much hoped for projects that would get started during this term and create jobs. The former owners, Embassy Investments Limited, had indicated they had plans to turn the former Hyatt Resort into a business hotel and convention centre. But in a release Wednesday, Dart said it had no specific plans yet to do anything with this new resort.

Mark VanDevelde, CEO of Dart Realty said, “The decision to acquire the property comes after years of intermittent discussions with Embassy Investments Limited. We have no definitive redevelopment plans as yet; in the coming months we will carefully study the site, explore options and master plan its integration into Camana Bay.”

The site was bogged down in major legal battles with the insurance companies following the destruction of the bulk of the once popular resorts during Hurricane Ivan. But the Beach Suites was not as badly damaged and was reopened just months after the 2004 storm.

Embassy said that its priority now was to help staff find new jobs before the closure. “Severance packages will be offered to all employees and additional optional retirement packages are being developed for those of retirement age,” said Jan Bertelsen, a spokesperson for Embassy.

Meanwhile, Dart said that it would meet with the staff with a view to offering some people work at their new hotel or somewhere else in the major network of companies across the islands now owned and operated by the corporation.

“After Easter, Kimpton’s and Dart’s human resources teams will meet with each and every individual member of staff impacted by the closures to assess their interest in and suitability for new employment,” said Juliet Du Feu, SVP Human Resources at Dart. “I am pleased that the Grand Cayman Beach Suites staff, which includes many talented and long-serving Caymanians, will have the opportunity to be considered for employment with our group of companies, as well as with the 266-room Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, on schedule to open this November.”

Dart said that Du Feu (née Johnson) worked for nearly 10 years in human resources at the former Hyatt Resort and will know many of the long-serving employees at Grand Cayman Beach Suites, who were themselves former Hyatt employees.

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Category: Construction, Local Business, Stay-over tourism, Tourism

Comments (44)

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  1. Donna says:

    I'm a travel agent and I rely on the support from the staff. They have a great staff, why mess with it? I've dealt with Ryan Williams and Brent Weimer and they have delivered every single time. That's why I've sent so many people there! Now it'll be a monopoly and I won't get that same support. UGH! If it ain't broke, DON'T FIX IT!

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  2. Anonymous says:

    ...and by the way, both Ken Dart and Bob Dart are Caymanian. The Caymanian people should be proud that they can count such successful people among their tribe.

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  3. Delusional says:

    Delusional. These comments are delusional.

    First, by investing literally billions of dollars into Cayman real estate, the Dart organization (it is not just one man sitting on a throne, it is an organization of many smart people, including Caymanian people) is actually putting itself at risk. What stops any government from passing a law that taxes their projects or the land that they own? Or even nationalizing that land? The comments below have the power position completely reversed. It is the Dart organization that is at risk, not the people of the Cayman Islands.

    Second, nobody complains about Dart when they build a playground for children, make substantial donations to local charities or employ literally thousands of people on this island who then spend their salaries at local businesses who in turn profit from Dart's contribution to this economy.

    The argument about "progress" and the rate of change is a legitimate one to have. Voters should have that argument with their elected officials. But whether a particular person likes or dislikes the aesthetic appeal of Camana Bay is NOT a reflection of Dart or "expats taking over Cayman". Maybe the critics should look inward at how they vote and who comprises the government before they criticize a business organization that contributes more to the local economy than any other private company, or criticize the expat community which comprises fully half of this island's population.

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    • Anonymous says:

      won't happen as long as Dart can keep local MLAs in office, now when expats take over that too they will use their power for greater leverage to get benefits our poor puppets never dreamt of

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Why not change the law that there cannot be so much owned by one person?

    I initially meant to say non Caymanian and property ownership. Similar to the company ownership law. But he is Caynanian now...

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I guess you either love him or you hate him, but what those that deal immediately with Mr Dart and his posse lack is an ability to effectively negotiate. Mr Dart has been incredibly effective at levering Countries distressed debt against themselves and here we have a few home grown champions tackling our Goliath. While there's no doubt the cash infusion has and will benefit Cayman as a whole, it's becoming increasingly obvious 'the Dart Posse' holds the upper hand with momentum and cunning patience over it's respected counteragent. CI Govt with the greatest respect you have met and been overridden by your match, - I do believe it's now time to instill a select team (so what if it's expats) with an ability to wrangle on par with the Dart Posse as per the best interests of all in the Cayman Islands.

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  6. Robert says:

    Everyone is worried and complaining now, but when those 4 ladies from West Bay forsaw what was happening and filed suit against Dart's purchase the road closure, you same ones wanted them to go away.

    Now look - and he's not even done yet. Pat yourselves on the back. It's too late. You should have stood with those ladies and defend our island being sold out to individual, instead of calling them nuisances.

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  7. WaYaSay says:

    And another domino tumbles.......... another hotel property that Dart has bought and doomed to the bulldozer. Why would he want to keep that five story Seven Mile Beach property when he can easily get Planning permission to rebuild another exquisite multi $million per unit, ten story "private club" a-la Donald Trump? An ultra high priced property that will attract the ultra rich clientele that can afford it. Just do not expect them to mix with the locals.
    Never mind that it will take some time to sell off............it already had a tourism accommodation license and can be rented in order to attract that high 50% tourism tax and the same will accrue to Government ............. a win, win for all!!!! REALLY.

    The PPM will be delighted, and so will Archer. We will worry about what happens when it is all sold out and no longer needs that Tourism Accommodation License, because it will be occupied by the rich that occupy their units for one month of the year and do not rent to lowly tourists, a-la Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago...............6 stars you know!

    While he is redeveloping it he might as well close down that old piece of West Bay Road and put in a lush beautiful manicured lawn to separate those discerning owners from that noisy traffic, and certainly separate them from those natives.

    Some other Government besides the PPM can worry about the lowly Caymanian workers who will find that the promise of a new job is just that............ , a promise, The PPM will not be around when they come knocking on Social Services door anyway.

    No one with good business sense, as Dart obviously has, is going to employ skilled Caymanians, with years of experience, at the salary scale that their skills and experience demand, especially since he can employ qualified foreign nationals on work permits, at entry level pay, anytime, and in any quantity he wants to.............. OK, maybe one or two will be hired at the new Kempton, but certainly NOT everyone.
    Dart has no obligation to do so, they are not his employees to start with. Remember Juliet does not have the final say on who gets hired by Dart, nor does she get to decide what job openings are available, she just gets to place the ad do the interview and make up the short list!

    The majority of the present day Caymanians, workers at this property, can only look forward to becoming wards of the Department of Social Services within the next 5 years as their savings are depleted on the necessities of life!
    Pension? Who can live in Cayman on $1,000.00 per month anyway?

    Remember the old Holiday Inn and the promises made by the Ritz Carlton and it's developer that all of the Caymanians working there would be assured jobs?
    How many of these former tourism workers are employed at the Ritz Carlton today?..........NONE.
    How many experienced Caymanian managers from other properties are employed there?............NONE.
    What about the workers for the bulldozed Marriott? How many of those are guaranteed jobs at the new Kempton?

    I have said it before and I will say it again, it is a dangerous game we play when we put complete economic control of one of the pillars of our economy, into the hands of one single investor...........that person being Dart.

    Uncle San's arms are very long and I pray every day that he does not reach down here to Cayman, if he thinks he has reason to. We may one day find that we have acquired a new distinction ............... the only British Colony in the world, that is owned by the United States of America.

    For those of you that think I am full of it, I have two words for you.....STANFORD, ANTIGUA. Then again here are two much closer to home.........WEBB, FIFA.

    For those that thinks that Uncle Sam needs a legitimate reason to "reach out", shut someone down and put Caymanians on the unemployment line, here are two more words for you, CALADONIAN BANK.

    CNS, I am sorry if I have repeated myself here............but darn it, someone needs to say it!

    What do you say?

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    • Richard says:

      You are absolutely correct, WaYaSay. And I'm afraid it is too late. Dart has taken over much bigger places than Cayman.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    He has also tried to acquire the condos beside the Palms and no doubt will eventually be successful.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Look at the map. The man also owns much of the Waterways, probably the land in front too. Soon he will own and control everything this side of George Town and your politicians are letting it happen.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I'm not sure why you would close Beach Suites down so close to high season. Unless he's ready to move on making the changes, he's leaving a huge hole on a very popular part of the beach. Plus, Beach Suites is very popular with residents having memberships... Ugh, another popular long time favourite bites the dust.
    I loved that place.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    I wonder why Dart didn't also buy TI Resort while they he was at it? Maybe he just wants to wait for the current developers to fold so the place can be added to his portfolio for peanuts.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    The guy isn't shy. Kinda funny they'd say they don't have any plans for it. Kinda funny the whole thing with dart. Kinda funny.....

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  13. Anonymous says:

    lots of backward comments here without really saying anything specific in terms of what the negative impact will be?

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  14. Anonymous says:

    The writing has been on the wall since 1996 but many were either to blind to see or making too much money on Dart's band wagon. This I say to born Caymanians and those who have truly adopted Cayman as their home. You, your children and grand children will all be working directly or indirectly for Dart Corp. Cayman wether you like it or not. We have essentially let an invasive element through the gates the likes of which gods could not even imagine. Cayman is Dart's world now to do with as he sees fit.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Love all these doomsday posts. "Someone owning too much land will wield uncontrolled power over government". Yeah right. Just like the Kirckonells, Fosters and Thompsons et al have for the last 50 years. Get a clue.

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  16. Doom says:

    OMG this is too much for ONE owner. This is so dangerous my goodness think about the power that he will have over our politicians. Yikes!!

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  17. Anonymous says:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/the-distressed-debt-vulture-now-gobbling-up-the-cayman-islands-a6729521.html

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    • Anonymous says:

      Just read the article. It would be good if they would consult someone that is a long time resident here before going to press.. Only a few things wrong with it and it doesn't even scratch this surface..
      "Over the years, Cayman’s governors have welcome Mr Dart’s deep pockets." It was not the Governor, it was Mckeeva Bush and the Cayman MLA's that have welcomed his deep pockets. Our Governor doesn't have any control over giving away our beaches and prime land.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The fact is the same governors/governments, don't get hung up on it. The concept still holds true. We have bowed to his money to the point that we have lost control of our country to him. It is the government that let this happen. i.e. the people. We need to elect better. Thanks God for OMOV.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Plus don't forget he finally got Royal Palms.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Not much left. If you people knew the percentage of land that Dart and his companies and shell companies and other companies by any other name owned, you would be shaking in your flipflops.
    Thanks Mac.
    I hope all the expats will be happier and happier now. Greedy Caymanians, you just keep selling him your property and whine about the expats taking over....

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  20. Anonymous says:

    I used to applaud Dart's business ethnic but no more. He is starting to own too much and turn it into anything BUT Cayman. Caymanians, you are losing Cayman, don't let it happen. Stop it before it is out of control (or is it already?). Personally I no longer appreciate the "perfect" setting of Camana Bay where every bug is exterminated, dogs disappear, each leaf is pruned to the right length. Now we even need to remove rocks from shorelines because they don't "fit". Oh, what future for my child on this his island?

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    • Anonymous says:

      the usual backward small town nonsense.....it's a free market..get used to it....nobody is forced to sell to dart....
      his track record in cayman has been excellent....
      cayman is lucky to have dart.....

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      • Anonymous says:

        What a "wet behind the ears" and generalistic response. If only you stopped listening to drivel and simply re-spouted it. Track record ... what a giggle. You only know what you are fed.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    What is the exact closure date?

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  22. Anonymous says:

    He has done a lot of good but these two acquisitions are dangerous. In allowing one man to own such a full sweep of land you, the people of Cayman, are turning your island into a rich mans play ground.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    so now we are going to have two eyesores except one is going to be abandoned on the beach and directly on the Seven Mile Stretch...that will not send a good message to investors..

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  24. Anonymous says:

    Well at least by closing down one existing site and acquiring another well suited to hotel development there is not going to be a squeeze on the market followed by a period of intense concentration at the supply level.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Well looks like the dart is headed straight for the bulls eye. Congratulations Cayman.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    This man owns half of the beach and much more through the rest of the island. He will let us work for him but he wants to own it all. Can thank only Big Mac for granting him status. Now he can do whatever he wants.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The PPM has not exactly changed anything. They continue to allow the Dart take over of our country. It is time for anti trust laws..

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  27. Anonymous says:

    A monopoly like DART is very dangerous for the Caymans. Economic in addition political power means it does not matter who is elected. DART will own the Caymans.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Please don't refer to the Cayman Islands as "the Caymans". Just don't.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Why are they closing Beach Suites? Wasn't it just renovated?

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  29. Anonymous says:

    So McWeeba What you now say about our room tax for 30 years.
    Great deal NOT!!!!

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  30. Anonymous says:

    Finally!! Leave it to Dart to get rid of that eyesore.

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  31. Driftwood by paper says:

    Didn't mr dart did the same thing after acquiring island companies?

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