Mike Bell, who built the Grand Harbour shopping and residential development, died in the U.S. this week. He was 51.
The Florida-based developer is understood to have suffered a heart attack. Jeremy Hurst, of International Realty Group, hailed Mr. Bell’s influence on Grand Cayman.
He said the Grand Harbour complex, which includes Hurley’s supermarket and the Black Pearl skate park, was among the first mixed-use developments of that scale on the island.
“He was a very likable, good-humored man who was passionate about everything he did,” said Mr. Hurst, who has worked with Mr. Bell since the conception of Grand Harbour in the early 1990s.
Mr. Hurst said Mr. Bell, who had a home in Cayman and had Caymanian status, was very community-minded and had built the skate park and wave machine to draw families to Grand Harbour.
He later leased the skate park at peppercorn rent to a non-profit organization in order to provide constructive activities for young people.
Bobby Bodden, the real estate entrepreneur and developer who built Governor’s Square, said he was “beyond shocked” by news of his friend’s death. He said Mr. Bell had multiple businesses and was involved in supporting the fracking industry in the U.S. He died while on a business trip. “He worked seven days a week,” said Mr. Bodden. “He was a brilliant man and a very good friend.”
He said the Grand Harbour development was a significant landmark in the Cayman Islands and still the only shopping plaza on that scale east of the airport. A funeral service will be held for Mr. Bell in Alabama this weekend.