West Bay announced as site of Aster Medcity hospital

This site map shows the location of the planned new hospital, assisted living facility and medical school on a 40-acre site by the junction of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway and Batabano Road. - Image: Supplied

Aster Cayman Medcity project manager Gene Thompson announced Tuesday that the company’s planned US$350 million hospital will be built in West Bay, on land purchased from the Dart group.

Speaking at a press briefing alongside Premier Alden McLaughlin and Health Minister Dwayne Seymour, Thompson said the 40-acre site was located by the junction of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway and Batabano Road.

Government officials, Aster representatives and Thompson in December announced plans for the Aster Cayman Medcity hospital, but did not state where the location would be at that time, saying a number of options were still being considered.

Aster Cayman Medcity project manager Gene Thompson chats with Premier Alden McLaughlin following the announcement of the location of the project at a press briefing on Tuesday, 23 Feb.

Thompson said Tuesday that the West Bay site was one of 15 locations that was looked at for the hospital and its associated projects, such as an assisted living facility and a medical school. The initial phase of the project will include a 150-bed hospital, eventually expanding to 500 beds, he said.

Aster has submitted an application for a planned area development, or PAD, to the Department of Planning. If that master plan for the site is greenlit, individual planning applications will also need to be approved for the various elements of the project.

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Thompson said the West Bay location, with its proximity to the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, meant that it was easily accessible for local residents, as well as for medical tourists arriving at the airport, and that no new roads would need to be constructed to facilitate the hospital.

Thompson said Dart’s investment in road infrastructure over the years meant that Aster was able to consider West Bay as the site for its tertiary- and quaternary-care hospital, which will offer highly specialised services.

Other than the sale of the land, Thompson said Dart was not involved in the project and was not a partner, adding that Aster was the sole investor. Asked if Aster were looking for other investors in the project, Thompson said he was unable to comment on that, other than to confirm “this is an Aster-funded project in its entirety”.

He said Medcity – both the hospital and the medical school – would create opportunities for Caymanians hoping to pursue healthcare careers.

“Aster already has a rich heritage in training future healthcare professionals and is already working with and endorsed by the Royal College of Physicians in the United Kingdom,” he said.

Thompson said the project would soon be offering construction jobs.

He commended the government for its “vision” in developing and promoting the medical tourism industry, creating a third pillar of the economy.

McLaughlin said, “This is indeed exciting news… as this, along with the other medical expansions announced last week, will certainly put the Cayman Islands on the map regionally as not only a preeminent healthcare medical tourism destination but it will also provide many benefits to the people of these islands.”

Last week, representatives of Health City Cayman Islands and Dart announced that the two companies had partnered to build another new hospital – a $100 million, 70-bed facility –  in Camana Bay.

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