The vision of Health City as a world-class medical tourism destination has taken another step forward with construction under way on apartments for patients at the East End facility.

Health City Development has begun work on 59 apartments for staff and longer-stay patients, as well as a commercial building which will house banks, stores and offices.

Gene Thompson, director of Health City and one of the principals of Health City Development, said the support services and surrounding infrastructure of the hospital is starting to take shape.

“We are growing exponentially,” he said. “We are seeing international patients from across the region, from the U.S. and Canada. The timing is right. If anything, we are behind where we should be. We need to get on it and get this done.”

The apartments are largely geared toward longer-stay patients, who have been discharged from hospital but need to remain close by for physiotherapy and follow-up appointments.

The five-story building will also include a recreation room, basketball and volleyball courts and a lagoon-style pool, shaped around the natural vegetation.

The two-story commercial building is aimed at creating a supporting infrastructure around the hospital and for the eastern districts in general as business grows.

Andria Souza, operations manager for the development, said talks are under way with various businesses, including banks and retailers. Planning permission was granted last month, and construction crews have already begun shaping the land for development.

Mr. Thompson targeted a six- to nine-month construction period for the two buildings and vowed to hire mostly Caymanian workers for the job.

“We will follow the same model as when we built the hospital. We won’t require reference letters, police clearances – we are going to give people opportunities.” As future phases of the Health City development unfold, he expects that policy to continue.

“With what we have in mind, there will be continued expansion over a number of years,” he said. “We believe in giving opportunities to Caymanians and particularly to those who might not usually get a chance because of the list of requirements.”

The development will feature solar power, saltwater air conditioning and other innovations to ensure sustainable use of resources, he said.

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