Author: Ben Meade | Date: 04 December 2018
Construction has begun on a major development project that will put the Cayman Islands at the forefront of the global technology-driven business world. Cayman Enterprise City (CEC), an award-winning free zone development project focused on attracting global businesses to set up a physical presence in the Cayman Islands, officially broke ground on the first phase of its 53-acre mixed use development on 28 November 2018. CEC’s 53-acre development site is centrally located five minutes from the newly expanded Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman. CEC’s investment in this first phase of construction is estimated to be in the range of USD $38 million.
The 25-year, USD $500 million development project will create approximately one million square-feet of world-class office space, residential areas, restaurants, and amenities. The new urban campus will provide a purpose-built hub for digital businesses across a variety of sectors including fintech, blockchain, biotech research, envirotech, media, digital marketing, amongst others.
“The master-planned campus will showcase environmental architecture and designs to encourage socialisation and collaboration unlike anything seen in the Caribbean,” said CEC’s Chief Executive Officer, Charlie Kirkconnell. “This is perhaps CEC’s most significant milestone since opening for business in February 2012. We have worked tirelessly to promote CEC and the Cayman Islands as an ideal base for conducting international business, as well as to support businesses that have established zone companies, so that they can focus on growth and innovation.”
Benefits, including a fast-tracked set-up process, turn-key office solutions, as well as the concierge style service, offered by CEC has attracted over 250 businesses to operate out of CEC’s three special economic zones (SEZ) which include, Cayman Tech City, Cayman Commodities & Derivatives City and Cayman Maritime & Aviation City. In October 2018, CEC was recognised as 2018’s top free zone in the Americas for small and medium-sized (SME) investors by fDi magazine, part of the United Kingdom’s Financial Times group. With tremendous growth over the last six years, CEC officials anticipate that the number SEZ businesses will double within the next five years.
The government of the British Overseas Territory has supported the CEC development since its launch in 2012. With a dedicated government authority, licensing fee concessions and guaranteed fast-track processes, CEC enables international companies to quickly and efficiently establish a Cayman Islands office, which in turn allows them to generate active business income within a tax neutral environment.
“The real major contribution is the potential that this campus offers to our Islands when it is completed and filled with exciting and thriving new businesses. This campus, and the businesses that it will draw to our shores, is an important part of helping to diversify our economy,” stated the Premier of the Cayman Islands, Hon. Alden McLaughlin, who gave congratulatory remarks at the recent groundbreaking ceremony.
Due in part to the significant number of Fintech companies that have set up within CEC’s Cayman Tech City the Cayman Islands Government has responded legislatively with the introduction of modern intellectual property and copyright laws, and most recently by announcing the intention to develop a regulatory sandbox-type framework for digital assets.
The Cayman Islands Minister of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure Hon. Joseph Hew said, “The Cayman Islands Government will continue to develop infrastructure that will foster CEC’s growth and attract and embrace developing technology companies, so we can support our growing creative digital economy and become known around the world as a place where new technologies and new industries are born.”
The first phase is scheduled to be completed by the end of Q3 in 2020.