A planning application is expected in the new year for the first two 'gateway' office buildings, shown here in an architect's rendering.
Zoning approval has been granted for Cayman Enterprise City’s proposed campus on a 70-acre site in South Sound.
Long-term plans for a cluster of office buildings, homes, restaurants and a hotel surrounding a man-made lake have been outlined for the Special Economic Zone.
The approval of a Planned Area Development application, following a meeting of the Central Planning Authority on Thursday, paves the way for the project to move forward.
The PAD approval provides general permission for the types of land-use envisaged in the overall master plan. Enterprise City will still need to seek separate planning approval for each phase of the project, which is expected to take more than three decades to complete.
Cindy O’Hara, chief development officer for the zone, said the pace of development would move in sync with the growth of Enterprise City.
That process will begin with an application for two five-story “gateway” office buildings early next year. The 180 businesses within the zone, currently housed in rented accommodation across the island, will be the first tenants.
Ms. O’Hara said there are already enough businesses to fill the first building.
“It is not a case of build it and they will come, it is more a case of build it because we need it now,” she said.
The area outlined for the campus sprawls between the Fairbanks Prison to the north and the Cayman Tennis Club to the south. It is envisaged that a proposed network of interior roads within the development will link to the yet-to-be built South Sound bypass.
Ms. O’ Hara said she was very pleased that the CPA had approved the PAD application. She is confident that applications for the individual aspects of the project will also get planning approval.
At the CPA meeting, various government agencies, including the Department of Environment and the National Roads Authority, expressed concern about such issues as the loss of mangroves and the potential impact of the development on storm-water management in the low-lying residential area.
The CPA notes in the agenda papers for the meeting, “The proposed development would be built in four phases over thirty-six years. The Authority should assess if conditions are necessary to ensure that the necessary infrastructure for each phase is complete before starting development in another phase.”
Enterprise City has indicated its intention to create an outdoor wetland and botanic park within the zone as well.
Ms. O’Hara said the master plan is flexible enough to accommodate “organic growth” of Enterprise City. She said the PAD is a first but very significant step.
She said the office space is the next priority. A Geotechnical survey and other expert studies will need to take place before an application can be made for the lake.