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The Barcadere, Grand Cayman

Almost a decade in the making, Neville Scott reinvigorates the oldest barcadere in Grand Cayman as a world-class yachting facility that pays homage to local tradition whilst respecting nature and contributing to the country's marine culture.

When Neville Scott and his partners purchased a five-acre parcel of land bordering Grand Cayman’s North Sound in 2004 it was, he says, “a mess of monumental proportions.” Hurricane Ivan, a devastating category five storm, had caused widespread destruction across Grand Cayman only months before he acquired the lot, adding it to an adjoining ten acre parcel he and his partners already owned.

Today, that land is home to The Barcadere Marina, a top-notch yachting facility, comprising an 81-slip marina and boat yard, a fuel station, chandlery and club house complete with a fountain-pool and full service restaurant, all built to the highest possible standards, using top grade materials that are guaranteed to stand the test of time.

The development, which opened for business earlier this year, is testament to Scott’s vision, courage and determination. It has been a long road from concept to completion, but even the global financial crisis did not deter him from pursuing his dream of reinvigorating what was the oldest barcadere (boat launching and embarkation site) on the island and reinterpreting it for the 21st century.

The impetus for the project was the need to relocate the family business started almost thirty years ago by his father Anthony and uncle Stanley, Scott’s Marine, to a larger and more accessible site. However, it was Scott’s own architectural training, coupled with a lifelong passion for the sea that made him uniquely qualified to design and drive the project forward.

In designing the facility he took great care to balance aesthetics, longevity and environmental responsibility. The design of the club house is reminiscent of the Caribbean great houses of the plantation era. Solid stone construction on the lower level gives way to tongue and groove wood panelling and elegant vaulted ceilings on the upper level, while shaded verandas and large windows take advantage of the trade winds to naturally cool the interior. Incorporating out-of-the-ordinary design aspects throughout, countertops contain a mix of recycled glass, coral and seashells found on local beaches, while salvaged wood from storm ravaged docks was used to construct the entry steps and decks.

Acutely aware of the havoc salt and sea air can wreak on inferior quality materials, Scott was meticulous in selecting the very best for the development. His choices of concrete over wood for the post and beam construction of the docks and buildings, as well as metals traditionally used for shipbuilding such as brass, bronze, stainless steel and aluminium over regular metal or mild steel for the hardware and fittings, and ipe wood over more economical hardwoods were all designed to ensure the development would not only please the eye, but would stand up to the very worst that nature could throw at it.

Sustainability was also a prime concern for Scott, who chose to excavate the marina basin and put pilings in place well before removing the ‘plug’ that separated it from the open sea, ensuring the ocean was not damaged by silt from construction. His family’s forty years of experience in the local heavy equipment industry was key in this regard, providing the knowledge and resources necessary to execute his plan. Solar panels, LED lighting, and rescued plants have all been incorporated into the design to offset energy costs and keep the landscaping in harmony with its surroundings.

The Barcadere is a large-scale development, but even the tiniest details have not escaped scrutiny, ensuring a modern facility that pays homage to local tradition, values nature and will last well into the future. Receiving the 2013 Governor’s Award for Design and Construction Excellence in the Cayman Islands, as well as a commendation for Excellence in Sustainability and Environment earlier this year, was a fitting acknowledgement of not only Scott’s vision as the developer, but his personal dedication to preserving and celebrating the legacy of the maritime culture of the Cayman Islands.

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