From Elk Grove to Rancho Cordova, now California Northstate sets sites on Natomas for proposed hospital

The rendering for the California Northstate University Hospital now proposed at the former
Sacramento Kings arena is nearly identical to those when the hospital was being pursued in Elk Grove. | 

Proponents of a hospital originally proposed for Elk Grove's Stonelake neighborhood that shifted to Rancho Cordova have now set their sites on Sacramento's Natomas area. 

California Northstate University, the Sacramento Kings, and the City of Sacramento announced today they are now in discussions for the proposed hospital to be built at the 35-acre location of the SleepTrain/Arco Arena in the city's Natomas area that was the former home to the Kings. 

The for-profit school first announced plans for their proposed 400-bed teaching hospital in Elk Grove's Stonelake Landing shopping center, which the school owns, in December 2018. The announcement was met with great enthusiasm by members of the Elk Grove City Council but was immediately confronted with community opposition led by the group calling itself NEST - Neighbors Ensuring Stonelake Transparency.  

After facing considerable community resistance, the Elk Grove Planning Commission in February voted against CNU's plans to demolish the shopping center on the city's far west side and approve its rezoning request citing numerous environmental considerations. Not long after that setback, CNU officials said they entered discussions with the City of Rancho Cordova. 

The topic also became politically toxic and was a factor in former Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly's reelection defeat in 2020. Additionally, Elk Grove District 1 City Councilmember Darren Suen, who initially offered full-throated support, backtracked after the city switched to by-district elections, and it became apparent it was an unpopular project with voters. 

That setback for CNU led to the reported ouster of several consultants associated with the project, including former Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis, former Sacramento City Councilmember Allen Warren, Joshua Wood, executive director of Region Builders, and Brian Holloway of Holloway Land.  

Sources who asked not to be identified for this story report even after CNU approached Rancho Cordova, Elk Grove continued talks, but school officials were unbending in negotiations. Among the demands made of Elk Grove was that the school be given free property, including the city-owned parcel in the Civic Center for the proposed Project Elevate facilities. 

Additionally, CNU officials were reportedly unwilling to consider parcels in the city's Southeast Policy Area and would not consider downsizing the proposed 13-floor facility. The project had an estimated price of $900 million.  

“Elk Grove city leaders did everything we could to assist CNU at their chosen project location and present alternative locations and options for their consideration,” Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen said. “Ultimately, none of the options presented met their needs. We still believe that this is an important project for the Sacramento region and we wish California Northstate University and the City of Sacramento every success in establishing the project in Natomas."

CNU has operated in Elk Grove since 2014, when it opened its medical school and its existing pharmacy college. In today's press release, Elk Grove said the pharmacy school operation in Elk Grove would continue. 

Along with opposition by environmental groups like the Environmental Council of Sacramento, who was concerned with a massive structure being located near the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, much of the resistance to the project from Elk Grove citizens was led by NEST. In a statement released this afternoon, NEST spokesperson Staci Anderson said they were pleased by the decision but will continue to monitor CNU's activities in the community.  

"We are pleased to see it officially announced today," Anderson said. "We will remain vigilant in monitoring CNU's future plans for their property in our community, and hope those plans include repairing the damage they've done to our small business neighbors, as well as repopulating the center with tenants that provide valuable and desirable services to residents of Elk Grove."

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1 comment

Steve L said...

Dear Natomas:

Caveat Emptor.

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