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U.S. firm plans private hospital in Griffintown Jason Magder Montreal Gazette Wednesday, February 06, 2008 An American company that specializes in medical tourism is planning to set up a private hospital at the southeast end of Griffintown. The company is hoping to occupy at least 24 stories of office space as part of a construction project planned for the area bordered by the Peel Basin and the Bonaventure Expressway. Roland Hakim, one of the developers, wouldn't reveal the name of the medical tourism company, but said the health complex would serve mostly people travelling to undergo medical procedures, such as knee and hip replacements, but could also serve people from this country. The hospital would have the same comforts as a four-star or five-star hotel, Hakim said. He added medical tourism is becoming very popular. People travel to undergo medical procedures, either because it's usually less expensive than doing it in their own countries, or they want to schedule a vacation around their recovery period. It would be part of a 2.8 hectare project that includes an intermodal station, for a planned tramway into Griffintown, as well as a train that is planned to link Montreal with the South Shore. The project also calls for a heli-port at the top of one of the towers where several helicopters can land. There would be a movie theater, shops, restaurants, conference rooms, office towers and a hotel. "It would be the first thing people see when they come to Montreal and we want it to be something nice," Hakim said. He said the first phase of the project, which includes the hospital, could be built in three years. However, Pierre Varadi, Hakim's partner in this project, and the president of Canvar, said nothing can be built before the Bonaventure Expressway is torn down and rebuilt at street level, a project still in the planning phase. "They say they will do it within four years, but I don't know if they will do it that quickly," he said. The development is one of many being planned for the area. Canada Lands is expected to present a proposal later this year to redevelop the defunct Canada Post sorting station. The massive project would cover about 11 hectares of land and would be built just east of the 10.2 hectare project proposed in November by the company Devimco. Hakim said development of Griffintown is inevitable. "The downtown core has to expand and the only place it can expand is further south," he said. "This will become the new downtown core."