The year that William F. Dart founded the Dart Manufacturing Company. Steel tape measures, dog tags and a children’s marble game were first off the production line of this small-scale Michigan machine shop.
13,000 employees, 35 locations, 4 countries
Today Dart Container employs thousands of innovative people dedicated to exceeding expectations in manufacturing.
Invested by Dart Interests in real estate projects in seven US states. Luxury residences, mixed-use communities, resorts and multi-family properties, the Dart Interests portfolio is built for success for generations to come.
This story begins in 1937, in Mason, Michigan when William F. Dart’s small machine shop began producing dog tags for the armed forces. Fast forward to the fifties and the creation of a simple but innovative heat resistant foam cup, and the rest is family history.
Innovation remains at the heart of all Dart activity today, it’s a mindset we share across all our industries and interests. We believe in better – better living standards and a prosperous future for all.
Dart is a family company with its roots in engineering and manufacturing. The story began in Mason, Michigan, where Ken Dart’s grandfather, William F. Dart, set up a small machine shop producing identification tags for the armed services.
In the 1950s, the company began to experiment with expandable polystyrene. Led by Ken’s father, William A. Dart, Dart Container Corporation became one of the 20th century’s great success stories. The innovative design of a new polystyrene foam cup that could retain heat and was cost-effective to produce coincided with the birth of the fast food industry which created unprecedented market demand for disposable food containers. Over the past 60 years, Dart Container products have become a staple in the food service industry. The company continues to innovate, exploring new technologies and scientific solutions that could improve the product. Brothers Ken and Bob Dart are the third generation of the Dart family.
A frequent traveller, Ken Dart immediately recognised the Cayman Islands as a place of natural beauty and as an international financial centre conducive to his business and investment activities.
After graduating from college, Ken joined the family business as Vice President of Engineering.
The West Indian Club boasts spectacular gardens that reflect Ken Dart's passion for trees and horticulture.
The purchase of this Seven Mile Beach hotel and its accompanying 236 acres formed the basis for what would become Camana Bay.
Established long before any building began, the Nursery’s 26 acres was once the largest collection of tropical plants in the Caribbean. The use of native and indigenous plants grown at the Nursery has become a signature of Dart projects.
Camana Bay was almost 10 years in the planning. It involved an environmental impact assessment, coastal engineering for canals, traffic studies and multiple planning applications. Led by Jim Lammers, Dart Realty’s Managing Director for eight years, the masterplan team included internationally acclaimed architects Moore Ruble Yudell and landscape architects Olin.
The Growing Communities partnership with Government created a community park in each district of Grand Cayman, starting with Scholars Park in West Bay.
Following catastrophic damage caused by the Category 4 storm, the Dart Foundation funded numerous initiatives including a $1m donation to the National Recovery Fund.
Dart's first venture into retail was following an investment in Island Companies, a well-established local business with a number of premium brand jewellery and watch stores in George Town.
In addition to beautiful landscaping and children’s play areas found in all district parks, the George Town park has an amphitheatre by the sea and is home to the National Trust’s Visitor Centre.
Unlike most real estate developments, Camana Bay broke the mold by building its Town Centre ahead of its residential neighbourhoods.
Originally called SafeHaven, these six office buildings were purchased and renovated post-Ivan as Cayman’s first business park.
Two buildings on the waterfront were given a major facelift and reopened as the Flagship Building and Island Plaza.
Dart's expanding portfolio was matched by a growing workforce as the employee count reached 100, many of whom are still with the company today.
Active Capital, Dart's portfolio of retail businesses, expanded to include Blackbeard's liquor stores and Cayman Distributors beverage wholesalers.
Cayman International School moved into its new campus at Camana Bay, becoming the cornerstone of the new community. Catering to students ages 2 to 18, CIS follows the U.S. curriculum and offers the International Baccalaureate programme at high school.
Anchor office tenants were accounting firm EY and Cayman National Bank, with the bookstore, cinema and Abacus restaurant opening shortly afterwards.
Decco was formed to manage construction and design for Dart projects in Cayman and overseas, led by Cameron Graham.
Camana Bay’s Town Centre was recognised for innovation and sustainability in the first annual Governor’s Award for Design and Construction Excellence.
Dart acquired a significant real estate portfolio which included the former Courtyard Marriott Hotel, which had been closed since 2008, and the Cayman Islands Yacht Club.
Dart signed an economic stimulus package with Government that included investment in infrastructure and community programmes and redirecting West Bay Road to redevelop the old Courtyard Marriott. Also known as the National Roads Authority (NRA) Agreement, three subsequent amendments reshaped the deal and committed Dart to an additional $400 million in future investment in the Cayman Islands.
Dart’s first scholarship programme was launched for high school students with a focus on STEM subjects. It later expanded to add university scholarships, summer work experience placements and enrichment activities in Cayman and overseas.
Long-time supporters of the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, the Dart family donated funds for a state-of-the-art lecture room to support education in the arts.
Dart contributed funding and technical expertise to help rebuild one of Cayman’s most important heritage institutions.
As part of the NRA Agreement, Dart completed the extension of Esterley-Tibbetts Highway, expanding the road from two lanes to four from Batabano in West Bay to Camana Bay.
Recognising the limitations imposed by an existing structure, Dart decided to demolish the former Courtyard Marriott Hotel and began designs afresh for a new resort that would become Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa.
Dart invested in Dragon Bay lands which included Cayman’s only 18-hole golf course, the North Sound Golf Club.
In partnership with KPMG, Dart launched the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (CAIS), inviting headline speakers such as George Bush and Tony Blair. In conjunction with the conference, Dart hosts the annual Legends tennis event, featuring former World #1 Champions and Tennis Hall of Famers.
Once a Grand Cayman landmark, the former Hyatt Regency had never fully reopened since Hurricane Ivan. The property, including the Britannia Golf Course and the Grand Cayman Beach Suites, now forms the northern boundary of Camana Bay.
Cayman’s first new hotel in a decade and Kimpton’s first outside of the U.S. opened with a sunset worthy of its name. The AAA Five Diamond resort’s pool, spa and restaurants are also available to owners of The Residences at Seafire.
Dart donated land for Cayman’s first dedicated hospice facility, now known as Jasmine. The new building was funded in part by a previous Dart employee Derek Haines who raised over $1.4 million by running six marathons in one year.
The Esterley Tibbetts Highway expansion continues with the opening of an underpass through Camana Bay. Over it is a pathway, known as the Rise, which allows pedestrians to walk from the Town Centre towards the beach without having to cross the highway.
Dart expands its tourism portfolio with the acquisition of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, the island’s premier luxury resort for more than a decade.
A decade after opening, the town is home to 40 shops and restaurants and a business community of more than 2,000 people. Camana Bay continues to grow, with plans for future office space and a school expansion underway.
Dart, in partnership with International Schools Services, announces a US$60 million expansion of Cayman International School that will almost double its current size and student capacity.
Dart and NCB Group introduce OLEA, the premier for-sale residential development at Camana Bay. The waterfront community will consist of 124 condos, townhomes and duplexes constructed over four phases, located along the southern reach of the Camana Bay Harbour and adjacent to Cayman International School (CIS).
The Seven Mile Beach hospitality portfolio continues to diversify with the reopening of Beach Suites - now known as Palm Heights - a boutique hotel grounded in local culture, services and design.
Dart further expanded its hospitality portfolio with the acquisition of the nine-room resort, Le Soleil d’Or, on Cayman Brac, a boutique resort which gained international acclaim for its farm-to-table philosophy.
Dart demonstrates continued confidence in the Cayman Islands’ tourism product through the acquisition of Comfort Suites Seven Mile Beach hotel, adding further to Dart’s hospitality portfolio. The property is now reflagged and rebranded as Hampton by Hilton.
Dart-owned Cayman Distributors Group invests in the Cayman Islands Brewery, best known for Caybrew and the award-winning White Tip Lager.
Dart project manages the airfield upgrades at Owen Roberts International Airport as part of the IDL Projects Joint Venture contracted by the Cayman Islands Airports Authority.
Dart developments Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa and The Residences at Seafire achieve the first LEED® Silver certification for a hospitality project in the country and one of less than 200 worldwide.
Dart receives approval on applications for the development of a new commercial building and a 10-storey, for-lease residential apartment building in Camana Bay.
Decco Consortium, the Dart-led preferred bidder to implement the country’s Integrated Solid Waste Management System, begins remediation work of the George Town Landfill.
Following the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and the adverse effects, Dart provided financial, logistical, and community support to numerous initiatives including the seed donation to launch a new private sector-led recovery fund.
With an initial grant of CI$1 million from Dart, R3 Cayman Foundation launches to manage the private sector-led fund which supports readiness, relief and recovery efforts in the Cayman Islands.
Work began on the Airport Connector Road, a project managed by Dart, to alleviate heavy traffic in the area. Phase one will connect the Camana Bay South Roundabout to Sparky Drive, and phase two is expected to complete the connection directly to the airport.
Dart and InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts announce plans for the Caribbean's first Hotel Indigo near Seven Mile Beach. Subject to planning approval, the 282-room hotel is slated for completion in 2024.
Conceived two and a half decades ago, the Dart Nursery provides an oasis of over 180 species of palms and 500 species of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants used throughout Dart's developments and community projects.
The Cayman Islands Government signs a 25-year contract with Dart to design, build, finance, maintain and operate a new integrated solid waste management system, and complete the George Town Landfill's ongoing remediation.
The Dart Scholar programme, which was originally launched as a Dart Minds Inspired initiative, celebrated its 10th anniversary in with the naming of three additional Dart Scholars.
Dart introduces a new brand for the company with a change in logo, the introduction of 11 brand colours and a strong focus on its people.
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman reopens on the 16th year anniversary of the hotel's first opening after Dart completes a $50 million renovation of its rooms and public spaces.
A state-of-the-art industrial laundry facility, Cayman Linen Services opens with the goal of reducing the environmental impact of the laundering process within Dart's hospitality portfolio.
Dart announces a CI$350,000 donation to support a much-needed renewal of the Field of Dreams sports complex, which will be spread out over 10 years. The facility, which is operated by the YMCA and the Cayman Islands Little League Association, serves more than 3,000 residents. This decade-long partnership demonstrates our ongoing commitment to youth development and local sports.
Health City Camana Bay, a project that will see a 70,000-square-foot modern, state-of-the art medical facility being built on three acres of land to the south of Camana Bay, broke ground in a ceremony attended by representatives from Health City and Dart, and government leaders.
At a topping out event for 60 Nexus Way on 24 February 2022 (attended by business leaders, tenants and government officials), law firm Appleby and technology-focused investment firm Block.one were announced as the anchor tenants who will each be moving into a full floor in the building’s 9th and 10th floors respectively.
Dart expands its five-star hospitality portfolio with the acquisition of the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla. Located along the northwestern shore of the island offering 3,200 feet of pristine beachfront and sweeping views of the breaking surf, the resort is a perennial favourite among luxury travellers to the Caribbean.
Photo credit: William Torrillo at Mango Media
At its annual Shoppers' Night Out event on Thursday, 20 October, Camana Bay launched its 15-year celebrations, marking 15 years since the opening of the Town Centre in 2007.
We refer to our commitment to innovation as the pursuit of excellence, because it is a never-ending pursuit of improvement.
From a simple machine shop to becoming market leaders in foodservices solutions, the Dart’s family visionary approach spans generations and borders.
Across all Dart businesses, our people work hard, think smart, pursue excellence and continue to strive for the innovation that bore that first foam cup.
Built for success
Led by brothers Ken and Bob Dart, Dart Interests is on a mission to develop exceptional residential, commercial and resort properties across the US. With a $1 billion portfolio of luxury residences, Class-A office space, exclusive resorts, mixed-use communities and multi-family properties, the group is driven by the same core values, culture and philosophy that binds Dart around the globe.
From the Upper East Side of New York to the California coast, Dart Interests is poised to become an industry leader in luxury real estate.
The future of Dart
Developing for the future
Investment in the future – it’s a way of life at Dart. From our humble beginnings in Michigan to our vision for a sustainable Cayman, we’re future-focused. Our investment intent is multi-generational and spans all elements of life here, crossing infrastructure, environment and education. We’ve made a multi-generational commitment to the Cayman Islands and we’re positive of what’s to come.