Enterprise city close to deal

| 12/07/2011

(CNS): The developers proposing to create a science and technology centre in Grand Cayman say they are on the verge of an agreement with the Cayman government and hope to sign in a matter of days. A spokesperson for Cayman Enterprise City told CNS that they expect the proposed legislation to support the special economic zone will be ready for public consultation in August and the developers now have options on land for which they are currently undertaking final negotiations with the owners. One of the least opposed development projects currently being considered by government, CEC is promising jobs and a new string to Cayman’s economic bow.

Not thought to have the negative environmental or social impacts of some of the other large scale proposals that government has considered in recent months, CEC has been met with less concern from the public. Focusing on attracting modern technologies such as bio tech firms, internet companies and multi-media, CEC says it expects to create 800 local jobs in the first year. CEC also says it will create new careers for Caymanians in the fields of IT, science, media, commodities, commerce and academia that have not previously existed.

The government signed an MOU with the developers inJanuary and the developers say they are now about to sign a draft agreement which will pave the way for development to begin next year. “We are confident that a draft agreement will be signed with CIG this week or early next and once signed it’s a green light,” Hilary Cahill, VP of Marketing & Business Development, said explaining that the firm is working with government on the Special Economic Zone Law, which will provide the legislative framework to support and oversee CEC.

“A new Special Economic Zone Authority is being established to regulate the zone and members of civil service will work cohesively with CEC management team to ensure an efficient and seamless service at all times.”

The firm said it has also taken on the former National Trust boss, local CPA Frank Balderamos, as VP – Investor & Operations and he will be the key link in the relationship with the new Zone Authority on behalf of CEC.

Once the draft agreement for the economic zone is in place, CEC will begin operations and Cahill added that key players have already been hired for both the local and international management teams. Sixty-eight percent of the local team is Caymanian and Cahill confirmed that it is CEC’s intention to continue identifying and hiring Caymanians to fill as many key positions as possible.

“Our global marketing and business development strategies have been developed and our product offering is close to being finalized. Our director of design and construction — Caymanian Architect Cindy O’Hara — and her team are close to finalizing the details of the master plan,” Cayhill added. “After going through the permitting process we intend to begin construction of phase one.

This first phase will cover 150,000 sq ft and is expected to break ground in the first quarter of 2012, with the first tenants expected to move in to CEC during the beginning of 2013. The business development team is currently said to be reaching out to large global brands and Fortune 500 companies based in SEZs in the Emirates regarding establishing a presence in CEC.

“Those companies already understand the benefits of being based in an SEZ and for brands wishing to have easy access to the lucrative North American and South American markets, CEC is an ideal location,” Cahill said. “It allows them to operate from a tax neutral zone, whilst enjoying CEC’s other special concessions. There are 3,000 SEZs around the globe and our team researched hundreds…. visited twelve countries and ultimately chose Cayman as the perfect strategic and geographical location in which to develop CEC,” Cahill added.

The firm had also determined that lifestyle was an important factor for corporations when choosing from zones that offered similar concessions and benefits.

“Companies can take advantage of the economic and strategic benefits of being located in CEC to expand into new international markets and their executives can enjoy acosmopolitan lifestyle on a beautiful, safe English speaking tropical island which is only a stone’s throw from the U.S. and operates on the NYC time zones,” Cahill noted.

In the first instance the draft agreement will call for the firm to rent existing space in George Town from Caymanian landlords to temporarily house tenants, where they will still enjoy the full CEC concessions, until the new city is finished, allowing them to move to Cayman and begin their operations immediately. 

“This has been very well received by local commercial landlords as we understand that somewhere in the region of twenty percent of commercial office space in Cayman sits empty and is currently un-leased,” said Cahill. “As we construct each phase and our tenants move into their new buildings so future tenants of CEC will replace them in the existing George Town office space whilst phase two is constructed.”

AlthoughCEC would not say which companies had signed on the dotted line because of continued negotiations, it did stated that it has been approached by major brands including Virgin, Baxter, Pfizer, Cisco Systems, Oracle and IBM.

Category: Local Business

Comments (33)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Build it and they will come.

    Big Mac has been watching too many movies.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mac is just signing approval it is the developers and the idea men behind this that are convincing Mac to allow them to "build it and they will come"

      It will be a good idea but mostly for the ones involved and not the general public.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes, this deal may be the most widely acceptable of all of the current projects, but that's simply because;

    a.) It doesn't step on anyone's toes

    b.) Is based on a  'pie in the sky idea' of something that will not happen

     

    If we are going to say "lets press ahead with this project and only this project" we are in a very doomed situation.  Other projects that are on the table such as the Dart deal and any other eminent projects need to be given the green light.

    We are in a bad place Cayman, we need to get work going!

     

  3. your missing something... says:

    Where will this facility be? Go ahead an knock down more tree's! Maybe they should referbish an Ivan building instead of breaking more of caymans little ground, there are more than enough of those.

  4. Anonymous says:

     

    Has anyone read the CEC website? It better than any of the other project – it covers a lot of stuff and highlights that it’s an intellectual property centre – no industrial estate or manufacturing. Why do we Caymanians always like to shoot things down? This is a fantastic project – I need a career for my son, I need him to have a future on his Island. CEC is ideal I think

    • Anonymous says:

      I have looked at the CEC website. I think this is the best idea that the current government has come up with but I would like to know what concessions they will give. The website states "Reduced, Flat-rate Work Permit Fees" so I assume they have been promised that. How fair is this to other, existing, businesses?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm… I wonder how long it will be before Alden, Ezzard, and Arden, find something wrong with this project too.

    • Anonymous says:

      We are lucky we have them to logically analyze the projects and not get drawn in with the euphoria that desperate people get when they believe that for no reason at all a stranger is going to give us free lunch…

    • Anonymous says:

      Well you know, the idea is great but the devil is in the details. What are the concessions being offered?

      • Caymanian- no more politricks says:

        Who cares?  Really, we all know we need more people here to survive, we have created this monster and now have to keep feeding the beast

        I've never seen construction slow down (apartments are still being built on every street, just look around!) and our politicians think it is the ONLY arm of the economy so unless we have construction-contracts-for-cronies, we will not have any growth.

        I'm sad to say we have lost control over our politicians and greedy businessmen.  My grandfather who was a pillar of the community must be rolling over in his grave to see that the businesses that they built together are being run by a small group of banded together greedy buddies who drive fancy cars, lunch at all the hot spots, have wasteful wives and spoiled brats for children.

        I say bring on the CEC, maybe it will give some hope to those children who are not going to make it into the civil service (thank goodness).  

        Only education will set the next generation free….our generation is a greedy sad lost cause.

    • Anonymous says:

      They already have …

      • Anon says:

        Really. When & what was that? All I recall were some questions about opening up similar 'concessions' to the wider businesss community.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Good move if, with the other projects in the pipeline, you want Cayman to resemble a giant indusdrial estate.

    If you go down this road be prepared to restructure your economy to survive without  tourism, stayover or cruise-based.

    And always bear in mind that this type of project is very fragile and subject to legal and/or financial forces beyond the control of either the Cayman Islands or HMG in the UK.

    • Anonymous says:

      If I look at this project (which unlike all the other proposals, I support) in isolation, I cannot see it having an adverse effect on the tourist industry (stay-over or cruise) and on the basis of the current information available (having come from an industrial area myself) I fail to see how it would turn Cayman into a giant industrial estate as you suggest.

  7. Anonymous says:

     

    Of all the projects that have been proposed by this Government, this is the one that is most suited to our Islands and the only one that is likely to succeed. Mac but he has got this one right.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have no problems with the concept of an Enterprise City or a Free Trade Zone, but I am hearing rumours of some "disturbing" concessions in the MOU that could be disasterous if they are included in the draft agreement.

    Specifically, I am hearing that the developers of Enterprise City are asking for concession akin to the way the cruiseship operators do business. Once on board the ship, the cruiseship operators not only want every penny spent by passengers on the ship, they also want a percentage of anything spent at local businesses in the various ports.

    If it is true that they do not want to be subject to our Planning Laws, want to install their own utilities etc. then it looks like the developer's promise of bringing business for Caymanian companies will be little more than what the cruise ships offer. We all can now see the bargaining power the cruiselines now have once they get you to become dependent on the crumbs they have been feeding you.

  9. Anonymous says:

    i really hope we're not flogging a dead horse or iguana for that matter here. How guranteed are we that the named companies–Virgin, Baxter, Pfizer, Cisco Systems, Oracle and IBM etc. will for fact set up shop in the Cayman islands as this is proving to be the most expensive place to run a business and the likes of IBM, Cisco, Virgin, Barclays will always prefer to dirt cheap countries that offer low government fees and running costs with large  IT educated populations such as india to establish business outsource centers. XXXXX

  10. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a Pie in the Sky idea to me!

    • Anonymous says:

      Good job UDP. This, the Dart deal with the dump, and CHIC company to build the Cruise Berthing facility instead of the East End Sea Port, sounds like good deals made. Keep up the good work!

    • Caymanian says:

      Dear CNS,

      Since you know the key players details, please kindly ask and let us know where we can apply for positions if they are looking for qualified Caymanians at senior level for development and also local support.

      I am an overseas degreed IT professional with Caymanian status.  I have six years of experience with excellent references and am currently unemployed.

      Who are they using for local recruitment?  How do we get considered?  

  11. Loren says:

    This is very good for the country and the people of these islands.  A well needed project at this time.  Thank you developers and Mr. Premier.

  12. Ubelievedat says:

    Will this "City" be built on OUR Public Beach???

    ie 7 Mile PUBLIC Beach !!

  13. nauticalone says:

    This seems a good project. Hope it gets started soon.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful.  The one thing I fully support,,, just the one so far though, but credit where its due!  THIS is the kinda diversification we need.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed, this is the best idea that the current government has come up with.

      • Anonymous says:

        I thought it was a private sector idea, and government is spinning it around to says its theirs? The delay is only down to government, XXXXX

         

         

  15. C.M. says:

    WELL DONE, PREMIER AND UDP!

    Let's see your critics spin this one, because they are already talking about replacing you for another yet with no mention of economic solutions. And I just wonder who can replace you???  LMAO :o))

    • Anonymous says:

      I am one of his biggest critics – but unlike many (regardless of political background) I do give credit where its due – probably because I am able to remain independent of either party as I don't have a vote!

  16. Anonymous says:

    "… and their executives can enjoy a cosmopolitan lifestyle on a beautiful, safe, English speaking tropical island …"

     

    Cayman of 1995 called and would like their rightful characterization returned.

     

  17. Anonymous says:

    It is always nice to get positive news! Hope this project goes through.

  18. Anonymous says:

    ''The government signed an MOU with the developers in January and the developers say they are now about to sign a draft agreement which will pave the way for development to begin next year''….zzzzzz

    hahahah… i love the 'soon come' spin…..the reality is that the last 'update' said development would begin this year……..sounds like a mckeeva update…. 

    • Anonymous says:

      and whatever happened to our medical tourism "industry"?  has a single shovel of turned been turned?  Someone needs to learn the difference between a project and a pipe dream.

       

  19. The Lone Haranguer says:

    Make it happen already, let's get some action in this economy.