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European group to build CHUM superhospital

Montreal's new French-language superhospital will be built by a consortium made up of foreign companies in a public-private partnership with the province.

Downtown superhospital will be open to patients in 2016

Quebec Premier Jean Charest, centre, joins Health Minister Yves Bolduc, second from left, and others Friday for a symbolic groundbreaking for the new CHUM superhospital in downtown Montreal. (CBC)

Montreal's new French-language superhospital will be built by a consortium made up of foreign companies in a public-private partnership with the province.

Premier Jean Charest announced Friday morning that the CHUM Collectif consortium was awarded the project because its bid was the only one to meet the province's criteria.

Charest said there were two finalists in the bidding process, and a consortium of companies based in France, Spain, and Great Britain was the only one that could guarantee it would stay within the province's $2 billion budget.

The hospital, which is scheduled to open its doors in 2016, will be a part of the Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, or CHUM, Montreal's French-language hospital network.

The province said it will have more than 700 patient rooms and 39 operating rooms.

Plans for the new CHUM superhospital. ((CHUM))
Charest said Friday that a public-private partnership is the most efficient and cost-effective method, and that in the end it was too big of a project for Quebec companies to handle.

"Building a university hospital is a very complex and unique undertaking. The size of the project and financial requirements are also extremely important," said Charest.

Charest said Quebec firms will be involved as subcontractors.

But the premier's critics said there's no evidence that a public private partnership is the best way to build the hospital.

"It's a fiasco for the government," said Agnès Maltais, the Parti Québécois health critic.

Although the province said the new hospital will be open to patients in 2016, extra ambulatory services, an amphitheatre, a library and clinical and administrative offices will be added in a second phase of construction lasting until at least 2019.

The hospital will be built on the current St-Luc Hospital Centre site on René-Lévesque Boulevard in downtown Montreal.

Video: This CHUM video shows the designs for Montreal's new french-language superhospital.

With files from Steve Rukavina

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