John Laing, Cambridge Hospitals in £120m joint venture

The Forum development, located on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, will bring together a post-graduate education centre, a private hospital, a 198-room hotel and a conference centre.

John Laing, the UK infrastructure developer, has entered into a joint venture with Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) to deliver the Forum development. 
Located on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, the £120 million (€144 million; $194 million) complex will include a post-graduate medical education centre, a private hospital, a 198-room hotel and a 550-seat conference centre. It will be designed by international architecture firm NBBJ. 
Funding for the project will be entirely provided by John Laing – with no public money used – making it the first major initiative of its kind undertaken by the National Health Service (NHS). John Laing and CUH are currently finalising the development’s funding and operational plan, as well as working to secure planning permission. 
Construction of the Forum will be carried out by Laing O’Rourke, while Ramsay Health Care UK has been put forward as its future operator. CUH will receive annual income and a share of the profits over the life of the project, which will be channelled towards the Trust’s existing medical centres, Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie Hospital. CUH will also manage the postgraduate medical education centre. 
 “John Laing is keen to invest sustainably in good quality public infrastructure, and the Forum is a great example because it will provide a social hub for the biomedical campus, give Cambridge a centre for postgraduate medical education that reflects the standards of its teaching, and generate substantial income for NHS care,” commented Peter Ward, director of healthcare projects at John Laing. 
Construction of the Forum is planned to start in spring 2014. Its developers expect to open the completed facility in summer 2016, and that more than 500 staff will be employed on the premises. 
The news comes at a busy time for John Laing. The firm’s new investment commitments, which totalled £45 million in the first half of the year, included the acquisition of Alder Hey hospital in the UK and the Svartvallsberget wind farm in Sweden. These brought the total assets it manages to £1,244.4 million as at 30 June 2013, compared to £1,102.1 million a year earlier. 
The firm also announced its intention to raise additional capital for John Laing Infrastructure Fund, its £250 million listed vehicle, earlier this month. The firm expects to collect between £100 and £240 million through a share issue on the London Stock Exchange, to be finalised by early October.