California Northstate submits plans for proposed Elk Grove hospital, medical district

UPDATED 6 p.m., April 19

California Northstate University has submitted plans for its proposed sprawling $750 million hospital and ancillary structures in Elk Grove's Stonelake neighborhood.  

Included in the CNU's submittal to the city of Elk Grove are a general plan amendment, project description, and a medical district development plan. Included in the plan are requests for rezoning, paving the way for the development of a biotech district.

The project, which first came to the attention of the public at a news conference in late December, has become a source of controversy in the Stonelake and Lakeside neighborhoods on Elk Grove's westside. Aside from questioning the appropriateness of placing the facility in a master-planned community, residents in that area are upset that the Stonelake Landing shopping center, which was purchased by CNU, will have to be demolished to make way for medical campus.

As proposed, the facility includes the following:
  • 12-story hospital with a helistop and a penthouse
  • a second seven-story patient tower which would increase the bed count from 250 to 400,
  • 29,300 sq. ft. central plant
  • Three parking structures with retail space, one of which includes a roof-top sports structure with “basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts for student use”
  • A four-story outpatient clinic, a five-story medical office building, and five-floor dormitory.  
CNU, which has not identified a financing source for the facility which was first pegged with a cost of $750 million, has proposed building the facility in three phases.

The first phase will include a 12-story hospital, a central plant, and over 1,500 parking spaces. In the second phase, the second wing of the hospital will be added, along with a 1,500 space parking structure, an outpatient clinic, and a medical office building. 

The final phase has plans for another parking structure, student dormitory, and a parking sports structure. The plans do not include a timetable on completion of the phases. 

When the plan was first announced by Dr. Alvin Cheung, president, and CEO of CNU, it called for 250 beds at $750 million. Since then, the for-profit school has increased its desired bed count to 400 but has not updated what the estimated project costs. 

“We are excited about our plan, which reflects our commitment to work with the community and respond to their concerns. This is why, for example, we have changed the location of the dormitory," Brian Holloway, spokersperson for CNUS said. "We are early in this process and the plan will continue to evolve as we move forward.”

Although the Elk Grove City Council has signaled its support of the project even before public hearings have been conducted, it has not been without political fallout. Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly and Council Member Darren Suen, who represents District 1, the location of the project, have been criticized for their close relations with Cheung and school.

Kathy Engle with Neighbors Ensuring Stonelake Transparency, NEST, said that attempt to change the land use of the current site to an employment center, is a bureaucratic maneuver to get around the  FAR (Floor Area Ratio) limit that the community commercial designation would include. Engle added that for the city of Elk Grove's innovation czar Christoper Jordan "to say that (for General Plan consistency) the area where Stonelake Landing sits should be designated as an Employment Center is laughable." 

"Now that I’ve seen the actual plans it is clear that the attempt to change the land use designation to 'employment center' was an attempt to say that all of the Stonelake Landing businesses are ancillary to CNU and All Data which just isn’t true," Engle said. "In fact, I would say the opposite is probably true, given their robust weekend business. This is yet another lie of omission as he [Jordan] skirted the land use by speaking to the zoning instead."

UPDATE - Our initial inquiries to CNU's in-house counsel Paul Wagstaffe and public relations representative Gary Davis were directed to Brian Holloway.



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D.J. Blutarsky said...

“There seems to be this notion that I’m some devious mastermind who dreamed up this plot to ruin west Elk Grove, and did it with CNU’s help and just didn’t tell anybody about it, and that this whole project’s approval process is fait accompli, because it’s already been cooked up and T’d up in the backroom,” he said. “That’s just absurd. People are giving me way too much credit.

Darrell Doan, Elk Grove Economic Development Director
Elk Grove Citizen, April 12, 2019

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