The Narayana Cayman University Medical Centre (NCUMC), along with supporting infrastructure, will be built on land in East End, the site that was to be the home of the East End Seaport.
In a joint statement, Gene Thompson, local director of the Narayana group, and Joseph A. Imparato, owner of the approximately 600-acre site known as “High Rock,” said an agreement had been reached that will benefit all parties and provide an ideal location for the medical complex, known informally as Dr. Devi Shetty’s healthcare city.
“The agreement ended months of speculation as to where the healthcare complex would be built. Gene Thompson confirmed that the High Rock property was the first site that Dr. Shetty visited during one of his stays in the Cayman Islands, and it was always his preferred site. Discussions between the parties have been ongoing for more than a year, during which time Mr. Imparato’s proposed Seaport Project increasingly became the target of considerable political and popular opposition. After careful consideration and listening to the voices of the community, Mr. Imparato and Mr. Thompson came to an agreement that will they feel will be mutually beneficial for the development and the island.”
The new arrangement appears to have the support of most elected members of both political parties, including Premier McKeeva Bush, Health Minister Mark Scotland, and MLA Mr. Arden McLean, who represents the District of East End.
“The High Rock site brings a number of advantages to the healthcare city project. Importantly, the hospital will be located on one of the highest points of land in Grand Cayman, offering natural protection against flooding resulting from storms. The site also provides adequate property that is necessary for the hospital, other infrastructure needs, and future expansion.”
Also, because of the site’s close proximity to deep cold seawater, engineers, if feasible, will employ a simple and environmentally friendly air conditioning technology called a Seawater Air Conditioning System (SWACS) for the complex. The technology will enable energy savings approaching 70 percent compared to conventional AC systems, a significant savings, since more than half of the costs of operating a hospital in a warm climate is attributable to air conditioning.
Mr. Imparato said while he still firmly believes in the concept of a seaport in East End, it was not politically feasible to continue with his project. He said that eventually the cargo facilities in downtown George Town will have to be relocated, which—in contrast to his cost-free option—will be “terribly expensive” for the Caymanian people.
“Nevertheless,” he said, “Gene Thompson, his partner Harry Chandi, Premier McKeeva Bush and others have done great work to advance Dr. Shetty’s vision for a healthcare city in the Cayman Islands.”
He said he is looking forward to moving on to work with the Narayana Medical City since this is an exciting project that will have great benefits to the Cayman Islands both in the short and long term.
This is not the first time that Mr. Imparato and the Thompson family have done business together. In the late 1980s, Mr. Imparato purchased the Galleria Shopping Plaza and West Shore Center from Gene Thompson’s father, the late Norberg Thompson.
According to Gene Thompson, work will begin later this year on the High Rock site, which will be designed and implemented to benefit in every way possible the Caymanian people.
“In all instances,” said Mr. Thompson, “Caymanians will be given preferential opportunities during the construction phase and also in educational, training and career opportunities as the project moves forward.”
The Narayana Cayman University Medical Centre is planned as a medical tourism facility, which will be built in phases over the next 15 years, and will require a capital investment of approximately $2 billion. It will include a tertiary-care hospital, an educational facility, a biotech park, and an assisted living community.