What’s next for the new old St. Paul’s Hospital?

The new site, just east of Main Street, was purchased by a holding entity in 2007.

Plus, a northern B.C. gold mine gets a new owner and an app for diabetes gets funding

What’s next?
Half a decade after the healthcare foundation behind St. Paul’s Hospital floated a multi-billion-dollar move east, its proposal has moved a big step closer to realization with the help of a $500 million promise from the provincial government. But why now?

One theory: The land beneath St. Paul’s has become valuable enough to pay Providence Healthcare’s share of the new complex. When the new super hospital opens up in 2021 or 2022, it will leave vacant a 6.7-acre parcel of land on a major corridor in downtown Vancouver. Assessed at $465 million—up by a third since 2013 (as Bob Mackin notes)—sale to a developer could pay for around half of the $1.2 billion bill for the new hospital. 

As for what the future site at the current St. Paul’s would look like, the land is zoned for towers of up to 550 ft., or around the same height as the adjacent 50-floor Wall Centre. With an up-zoning, it could go for as much as $511 million according to David Taylor, who runs the blog Vancouver Market. Any redevelopment, however, would likely have to keep the heritage-designated 1912 hospital building (not that Vancouver has perfected the preservation strategy known as façadism) and contend with the view corridor of The Lions that bisects the site, cutting down the size of any future towers.

There’s an app for that
Ayogo, a Vancouver-based video game maker best-known for its app to help patients dealing with type 2 diabetes, has raised $2.5 million from a group of investors led by the venture capital arm of pharmaceutical giant Merck. The company’s main app is designed to help patients with chronic conditions stick to their care plans through trinkets, incentives and challenges (all in the vein of fun) that let patients track their medications, receive reminders and advice, and set goals. Unsurprisingly, healthcare providers like it too.  

Golden orphan
An idled gold mine deep in Northwest B.C. has been orphaned after its Toronto-based owner AuRico Gold Inc. merged with another mid-sized gold miner in a $1.5-billion merger. The Kemess mine, which closed down in 2011 but which still contains “highly prospective” deposits, will be spunoff under the auspices of a new company, AuRico Metals, which will receive US$20 million from its its merged parent companies to in part develop the mine.