VANCOUVER -- Construction is beginning at the new St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver with facilities expected to be ready in 2027.

B.C.'s minister of health made the announcement during a morning news conference Monday.

"The new St. Paul's Hospital will be home to world-class public health care as well as research and a teaching centre that will help transform patient care for people in B.C.," said Adrian Dix.

"After more than a decade and a half of stalling, I am proud that our government gave this project the green light and took further action for this new, state-of-the-art facility. The St. Paul's Hospital will continue its legacy of serving the people around the province now and in the future."

The new facility will have capacity for up to 548 beds, which includes 115 new beds. Construction of the new hospital, which is being done by PCL Construction, will create more than 8,500 direct jobs, the province says.

St. Paul's Hospital will continue to operate out of its Burrard Street location until the new hospital at 1002 Station St. has been built and is fully operational.

The West End Seniors' Network has mixed feelings on the milestone.

Executive director Anthony Kupferschmidt said there is reason to celebrate, and also reason for concern.

"Having access to health care is really crucial, many adults tell us this. And the pandemic has really shone even more light on this important issue," he said.

The province said the current services offered by Vancouver Coastal Health in the West End and downtown will stay, even though the hospital is moving.

Kupferschmidt said there is a lot of uncertainty about where the satellite clinics will be located and how they will work.

"We have yet to see a concrete plan that alleviates those concerns that older adults have in the community," he said.

Meanwhile, Downtown Eastside advocates welcome the move closer to their neighbourhood.

"In overdoses, every minute means a lot," said Sarah Blyth with Overdose Prevention Society.

She said some recovering from an overdose would be released from hospital at odd hours.

"Sometimes they get let out in the middle of the night, at four in the morning, so having it not so far away is a good thing," she said. "Having somewhere that's closer is going to make it easier for people to get there and having updated services is better for everyone."

The cost of the project is just over $2.17 billion, with the province investing just over $1.3 billion. Another $100 million has been raised for other ongoing and future needs, and Providence Health Care will invest the balance of the cost from the sale of the current St. Paul's property.

The province says the new site will be the home of several leading programs and referral centres, including heart and lung care, renal care, specialty surgeries and transplants and eating disorders.

"We're extremely pleased to begin the next phase of the new St. Paul's Hospital. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build an innovative new hospital and health campus from the ground up to better serve B.C. for the next 125 years," said Fiona Dalton, president and CEO of Providence Health Care.

"A new building will allow us to also re-examine how we will provide clinical care and improve our patient, family and staff experience in a modern, more technologically advanced facility."