Expansion plans ahead for Health City


As published by the Cayman Compass

Health City Cayman Islands will invest $25 million in infrastructure in 2016, and as much as another $100 million in 2017 and 2018, all drawn from private sources.

The investments will come from Health City and Health City Development, expanding hospital facilities and launching a series of commercial enterprises, including staff housing, a shopping plaza, design work on a 185-room hotel and a marketing plan for a medical school.

Shomari Scott, marketing director for Health City, said the $25 million was a “rough order of magnitude” and, while unable to itemize expenses for each phase of the giant project, listed the elements.

“The challenge Health City will face is keeping up with the increased demand in areas that we originally didn’t anticipate,” he said. “This is a good challenge to have, so we are properly planning and streamlining operations to offer the best service possible.”

He offered the example of outpatient services, “consultations, etc.,” saying unexpected demand required the hospital “to get as efficient as possible and still keep a high level of customer service.”

Outpatient expansion will add 6,000 square feet, a 75 percent addition to the present facility, Mr. Scott said, “to provide for modalities we have added.”

The new 5,000-square-foot oncology wing will be an addition to the medical oncology facility. 

Construction on both the oncology and outpatient units will start in the second quarter of 2016, finishing in the last quarter of the year or the first quarter of 2017. Meanwhile, planners will embark on a market analysis for Health City’s long-anticipated medical college.

Details of the school remain undecided, but the project took its first steps on Nov. 15 when 10 third-year students from the University College of the Cayman Islands four-year nursing program became the first interns in Health City’s four-week training program. Ultimately, Health City hopes to employ UCCI-trained nurses full-time.

Also in the 2016 pipeline are non-hospital projects, created by Health City Development: Phase one of the 59-unit Parrot Ridge Apartments, comprising one-, two- and three-bedroom units between 450 square feet and 1,000 square feet, designed for staff and patients. Work will start in the first quarter of 2016, ending in the last quarter.

Gene Thompson, project director for the Thompson Development Group, said hospital staff had been boarding at the Wyndham Reef Resort, which offered reduced rates. “They worked with us, but that cannot continue, so next year, we will have our own staff housing,” Mr. Thompson said.

At the same time, design and enabling works will start on the second phase of Parrot Ridge, another 59 units similar to phase one, and on design for the 185-room hotel, which will include medical services intended to aid patients in transitioning out of Health City after treatment.

“We have a ‘good’ challenge here,” Mr. Thompson said. “We originally thought the average patient stay would be 9.5 days, but now we see it’s more like 30 days, much longer than we had anticipated.” In the second quarter, Health City Development will start work on the 24,000-square-foot Heron Landing Commercial Centre, scheduled to open in the final quarter.

Adjoining development

In addition to the development on the Health City site, Joe Imparato of City Services, which has significant land holdings around the medical tourism facility, has long-term plans for a hotel and apartments in the area.

The Central Planning Authority gave approval last week for three commercial buildings and a gas station off Sea View Road to the west of the hospital entrance.

Mr. Imparato said the retail businesses, which will include a pharmacy, restaurant and liquor store, would be completed within 22 months.

“Our primary goal is to provide convenient services for the staff at Health City together with the assisted living community that is part of Health City’s master plan, and will be created in due course,” he said.

The developer already has a Planned Area Development application approved, rezoning large tracts of land in East End. Conceptual plans for a community provisionally named Lighthouse Coast envisage homes, offices and a hotel springing up around the hospital.

Mr. Imparato said, “City Services owns all of the land surrounding the Shetty Hospital comprising of just over 800 acres. Our long-term objective is to develop this land in phases that will include retail, commercial, recreational, hotel, and residential.”

The phasing of each stage will depend on the speed of growth of the medical tourism industry in the Cayman Islands. “We believe in and support Health City,” Mr. Imparato said. “While slow to get mobilized, we now observe significant strides towards achieving their long-term goals.

“Gene and Harry [Health City developers Gene Thompson and Harry Chandi] are to be commended for bringing this project to Cayman and our plans are to parallel Health City’s expansion in years to come.”

He said City Services is seeking a co-developer for the hotel, which he said would be a “traditional tourist facility” in the moderate price range.

Even though Health City is planning its own hotel next to the hospital, Mr. Imparato believes each development will target different customers.

He said the Health City hotel was expected to be designed to transition patients out of hospital, with the benefit of medical supervision and assistance as needed.

No time line has been set for the hotel. Separate planning applications will need to be made for each stage of the development.