Updated project information for California Northstate's 'bunny ear' iconic design hospital released by Elk Grove

Today the City of Elk Grove released updated information for California Northstate University's proposed $900 million  hospital project.

The proposed hospital by the for-profit California Northstate University School of Medicine, which was unveiled last December by the school and elected officials, calls for the construction of what could eventually become a 400-bed hospital. The project, which has a 12-story hospital that has a bunny ear-shaped aerial design, has generated considerable controversy for its vicinity to the Elk Grove Stonelake, and Lakeside neighborhoods on the city's westside.

According to the revealed plans, the hospital's bunny ears will be built in two phases. The northern pointing bunny ear will be constructed first and have 250 rooms on floor five through 12, and the second east pointing bunny ear wing will be seven floors and will have the balance of the 400 beds and be approximately 733,000 square feet at build-out.  

The written description says the first floor will be elevated seven feet. The site of the hospital is in a flood zone, and the plan says it will "mitigate against the projected 200-year flood plain level."

The description says the bunny-ear design "will provide a [sic] iconic gateway image for Elk Grove from the I-5 corridor while providing a teaching healthcare facility to service the City of Elk Grove and the California Northstate University for decades to come."

The plan calls for the demolition of some of the existing structures at the Stonelake Landing shopping center, which is owned by CNU. Buildout plans for the site include the construction of a mechanical plant, parking lots and structures for over 2,580 vehicles, an outpatient clinic, professional offices, and student housing. 

Plans for demolition of some of the buildings at the shopping center, which, along with a host of rezoning requests that need city approval, has generated substantial controversy. At a recent campaign meeting held by Elk Grove City Councilmember Darren Suen, CNU representative Brian Holloway stated they could evict the tenants according to lease agreements (see video below) while many of the small business owners and at least one leasing agent contend the school has not acted in good faith.

Although the narrative released by the city does not contain a timeline, they have an aggressive schedule. According to CNU's website, they state the hospital - presumably the first phase - will be open by 2022 with construction starting sometime in the next 13 months.

Notwithstanding their aggressive schedule, CNU faces obstacles. Even if the city approved the first phase of the project next year, according to testimony before the Elk Grove City Council by an executive with Dignity Health, it could take up to five before they receive approval from California's Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

Further complicating matters is financing. CNU has changed the hospital - not their medical or pharmaceutical schools - from for-profit to non-profit. That change in status could help them issue bonds that are tax-exempt and presumably more attractive to investors. 

Elected officials have privately expressed skepticism on the ability of an entity with no experience managing a hospital much less building one from the ground-up can secure financing. 

According to the city, the information was submitted by CNU on November 12. The information and links can be viewed here.    

Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2019. All right reserved.

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