Tue | Dec 12, 2017

GWest plans investor briefing, preps for global accreditation

Published:Friday | October 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMHuntley Medley
The GWest Centre in Montego Bay.

​GWest Corporation, the developers of the Montego Bay private health centre and commercial development GWest Centre, will follow up the official opening of the complex next Thursday with an investor briefing on plans to list on the junior market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

GWest officials say while they are in the process of taking the initial public offering, IPO, to market, financial details of the float are still preliminary and that lead arranger JMMB will advise on the prospectus in due course.

"The preliminary estimates indicated in The Gleaner on October 22 will be finalised by the project broker and the board of directors," said GWest's managing director and part owner, Dr Konrad Kirlew.

GWest is a 62,000 square feet multipurpose complex on four levels situated in the popular and still-growing Fairview shopping district that is part of the Montego Bay South development on former sugar cane lands once owned by Barnett Limited.

While most of the building is devoted to medical services, it also contains non-medical office suites and there are plans for a food concession on the top floor of the building.

The GWest concept is to provide to the public in Jamaica and overseas, a wide range of complementary, international best-practice medical services in one location.

International accreditation key

The pursuit of international accreditation is said to be a key element of the business plan, ensuring that the facility operates at the highest level of medical and corporate governance. International accreditation - which is typically applied for within six to 12 months after opening so that the accreditation body can evaluate the actual operation - will also allow for greater participation by local and international insurance companies.

"This will better enable GWest to compete internationally and have a firm footing in the medical tourism market," Kirlew said.

In 2015, GWest engaged the services of Miami, Florida-based Baptist Health International (BHI) to assist in designing the clinical units and streamlining the process in preparation for accreditation of the facilities. The role of BHI included reviewing concept designs of urgent care, in-patient and ambulatory services, equipment list and estimated costs, as well as monitoring construction.

BHI also retained internal and consultant medical architects to create final working drawings of surgery and centres for patient observation and recovery so that those facilities would be in keeping with standards for international accreditation.

Having established parameters for governance, BHI will continue to facilitate training for medical staff at the GWest Centre, its owners said.

The GWest property represents a major investment in real estate development in the western city, which has been seeing a boom in construction and rapid business growth. Private health service facilities have been a significant driver of much of the new business in Montego Bay. A $2.3-billion private hospital, called Hospiten, was built and opened there in late 2015.

The former MoBay Hope medical facility in the city, which was at one time operated by the Spanish owners of Hospiten, is to undergo a $260-million build-out into the new Baywest Hospital.

A full-fledged hospital is not on the cards for GWest, and Kirlew is quick to point to the significant capital and carrying costs involved with such a business venture.

General practice and specialist doctors' offices, a dialysis centre, imaging services, maxillofacial surgery, overnight observation and recovery rooms and a pharmacy are among the current and planned facilities at GWest, which is to see a second-phase build-out.

The GWest commercial property, for which ground was broken in 2014, has been on the market since last year. The official opening is scheduled for November 2.

huntley.medley@gleanerjm.com