Health City: 2016 looks like a growth year

All signs point to an extremely promising harvest in East End: The seeds have been sown. Now, the first buds are beginning to open.

In this case, the crops to which we refer aren’t agricultural — but medicinal. As is published on the front page of today’s newspaper, development of Health City Cayman Islands is about to enter a new stage of growth.

According to stories in today’s Compass and our business broadsheet the Cayman Islands Journal, Grand Cayman’s medical tourism facility intends to invest nearly $25 million in capital projects in the year 2016, on new or expanded residential, commercial, medical and hospitality ventures.

Health City’s plans follow on its accreditation last April by the U.S.-based Joint Commission International, an independent gold-standard benchmark indicating that Cayman’s tourism hospital offers top-notch medical care. (Put another way, it’s the healthcare equivalent of the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.”)

Since the “Shetty Hospital” (as we know it in Cayman) opened in February 2014, construction has largely been limited to the hospital campus itself. But that, too, is about to change, as local entrepreneur Joe Imparato prepares to break ground on a major commercial development around Health City, consisting initially of a new supermarket, bank, gas station, pharmacy, restaurant and liquor store. Longer-term plans for Mr. Imparato’s City Services include a hotel and apartments.

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Although it is independent and unaffiliated with Health City, the planned development by City Services certainly has a symbiotic relationship with the healthcare complex, which is operated jointly by India-based Narayana Health and U.S.-based Ascension.

We mean, quite simply, that the City Services development (as the name implies), will be built in order to satisfy the demands of Health City clientele and staff, and otherwise to take advantages of Health City’s economic potential.

“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.”

We’d like to add our own commendations for Mr. Thompson, in particular, for his dedication to ensuring that Caymanians are first in line to partake of the career opportunities presented by Health City, starting at the very beginning by employing local construction workers to build the hospital facility. That effort continues today, and into the future, as hundreds of students participate in on-site internships, local nursing students undertake clinical rotations — a program that is a joint partnership with UCCI and Cayman’s government — and Health City looks toward establishing a medical college.

Health City has the potential to be a singular catalyst for change in the trajectory of Grand Cayman’s development, as the elusive “third pillar” of our country’s economy. More generally speaking, Health City and complementary enterprises are illustrative of the power of private sector entrepreneurialism, when the public sector wisely confines its role to that of enabler and facilitator.

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