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The sale of Cayman Grand Harbour made front page news in Cayman today in the Caymanian Compass. IRG's owner Jeremy Hurst was quoted in relation to the sale and the opportunity it presents, as was developer Mike Bell

The Grand Harbour development – home to Hurley’s supermarket and the Black Pearl skateboard park – is for sale, offered at a total price of about US$45 million.

The site is being sold in five separate plots, including several undeveloped acres, pitched to potential buyers as a prime location for residential development, a marina and possibly a business hotel.

Existing lease agreements for the shops, which include Papa John’s pizza and Blackbeard’s liquor store, would be retained by any new owner, according to sales agent IRG. Some businesses at Grand Harbour, including Hurley's, Healthcare Pharmacy and Bush Doctor Ltd., are tenant-owned and are not included in the sale.*

But the sale could potentially affect the future of the skate park. That site is being sold separately for nearly US$3 million and a new owner would likely have the option of developing it for commercial purposes.

Current Grand Harbour owner Mike Bell is a board member of the Cayman Islands Skateboard Association and leases the park at “peppercorn rent.”

Mike Myles, government’s at-risk youth officer who runs the park, accepts that there is little anyone could do if a new owner wants to use the land for different purposes. But he said he is hopeful that the skate park will survive and continue to offer a positive outlet for young people for years to come.

Mr. Bell is also hopeful that any new owner will continue to operate the skate park, which he built. He said he has had to switch his focus to his family’s company in Alabama, but he would still like to see his grand plan for the site, which included residential, retail and restaurant development, come to fruition.

Mr. Bell said he had become frustrated with the lack of growth in Grand Cayman and was willing to sell. Jeremy Hurst, owner of IRG, the realtor responsible for finding buyers for the Grand Harbour plots, said it is possible that one developer could buy the entire complex or that the five parcels could be sold separately.

He believes the two plots adjacent to the shopping center, offered under the headings “professional village” and “residential/hospitality village,” have immediate development potential. “It could be an expansion to the shopping center, it could be more of a business-type development. We have had interest in the past from business hotels looking at going in there and I could see something like that working well in the location.”

He said an apartment complex, similar to the nearby San Sebastian residential development, could be another option for the site.

By far the largest plot, and the highest priced at nearly US$20 million, is the North Sound Village at the northern end of Grand Harbour.

Mr. Hurst said the site, which borders the North Sound, would be suitable for a leisure development, potentially including a restaurant and marina. He said the dockside skate park site also has potential for waterfront development. And he said buyers would have the option of retaining the skate park by building vertically above it – essentially turning it into an indoor facility with bars, restaurants or homes above.

“We have had quite a bit of interest from potential buyers, but we have not agreed to a deal as yet,” said Mr. Hurst.

He said IRG would be calling for sealed bids from interested parties in the next few weeks. “Clearly it is a high value location and that value is only going to increase as development continues in the eastern districts,” he said. “All that traffic has to pass buy Grand Harbour. That’s the opportunity we are selling.