In the same week that healthcare-heavy Ellerbe Becket announced its purchase by AECOM, news of another healthcare-related merger was released. Global design and consulting firm Stantec, with 10,000 employees, announced on Oct. 28 that it is acquiring Granary Associates, a 100-person healthcare architecture and interiors firm based in Philadelphia.

Stantec, based in Edmonton, Alberta, has acquired more than 60 architecture, engineering, and design consulting firms since 1997. With the Granary deal, "part of our strategy is to grow our presence in the U.S. in healthcare," says Bruce Raber, Stantec's vice president and practice leader for healthcare, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Stantec has a large healthcare practice in San Francisco, and the addition of Granary gives it a place from which to expand on the East Coast.

Raber says Stantec is not daunted by the recent tumult surrounding healthcare reform legislation in Congress. "There's no doubt that healthcare, however it's provided, is going to continue to be an area that gets a lot of attention," he says. "The amount of money Americans spend on healthcare is a big chunk, so we have to provide better facilities."

The transaction is scheduled to be final in early November, structured as an asset purchase. Granary Associates' employees will keep working in their current offices in Philadelphia, New York, and Doha, Qatar.