Building and Supporting Communities: Davenport Development, Cayman Islands
Two partners, Ken Thompson and Paul Pearson. Fifteen years in business. Six residential developments. $600,000 in donations annually. This is Davenport Development.
Words by Natasha Were. Renders by The Electric Drawing Board.
In 2006 Davenport Development’s founders, Paul Pearson and Ken Thompson made their first foray into property development with Valencia Heights. They had a clear vision and plenty of enthusiasm – but relatively little experience. However, their ability to understand and deliver what Cayman residents wanted stood them in good stead then and continues to do so today.
“From the outset, we saw that we could make housing more affordable if the footprint were smaller,” Paul explains.
“But we wanted to do more than build condos – we wanted to offer residents a whole lifestyle.”
From the more Mediterranean-style Lantern Point and San Sebastian through to the contemporary South Beach feel of Vela, Arvia and Bahia, the aesthetics of Davenport’s developments have evolved, but the underlying principles have remained.
The communities location is always carefully chosen for commuters’ convenience; energy-efficient, hurricane-rated construction is a priority and gated for security and peace of mind. But it is the exceptional, resort-like facilities – tennis courts, gyms, landscaped gardens and spectacular pools – that have become the hallmark of a Davenport development.
This winning combination of affordability and luxury amenities has proved enduringly popular, with developments frequently selling out pre-construction. But that doesn’t mean the company hasn’t weathered tough times.
Over the past year, the effects of the pandemic have hit the construction industry in Cayman hard. First, there was the 10-week lockdown, which caused building project delays, in turn obliging the company to extend its bank loans and insurance policies.
Additionally, the global disruption to shipping has delayed the arrival of materials by up to three months, while shipping costs have soared. And because Davenport Development had already sold the properties they were building, the company had to absorb these additional costs. In total, the company estimates Covid to have cost them over $600,000.
Arvia, a collection of canal-front condos at Grand Harbour, is now scheduled for completion in June 2021. The South Sound community of Bahia is on schedule for completion in December 2022.
Sharing their Success
Despite the difficulties, business partners Ken and Paul have not lost sight of their relative good fortune, nor their philosophy that with success comes an obligation to give back.
Paul acknowledges that in the early days, sponsoring fundraisers was good PR and put the company name in front of the people they hoped would one day become clients. But as their reputation has grown, they have shifted the focus to help where most needed and for the two business partners that tends to be the organisations and charities working in health, education and family affairs.
SUPPORTING THE COMMUNITY
Davenport Development Ltd’s donations include:
• Building the George Town Primary School Performing Arts Centre
• Donation of books and laptops to George Town Primary School
• Over $200,000 to the Breast Cancer Foundation
• Over $100,000 to the Cayman Islands Cancer Society
• Platinum sponsor of Flowers Sea Swim for 11 years
• Regular donations to Feed our Future and Meals on Wheels
• Sponsor children’s lunches for the St George’s Positive Intervention Now programme
• Annual sponsorship of Lighthouse School
• Over $10,000 per year to Chamber of Commerce
• Regular sponsorship of events such as Power of the Purse, International Men’s Day, International Women’s Day and the Lions Club Mammogram Drive.
The list goes on.
“It’s about being a good corporate citizen,” Paul says. “There are no tax advantages to making charitable donations in Cayman, but we have a duty and a responsibility to help if we can.”
When the business partners hear stories of children going hungry or people in need, it strengthens their resolve to support their community.
“In a place like Cayman, where we have one of the highest per capita incomes in the region, if not the world, that should not be happening,” Paul says. “We can do better. We all need to do better.”
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