A year after being run from Elk Grove, Calif. Northstate University project approved by Sacramento City Council

California Northstate University's proposed Sacramento hospital retains the same bunny-ear 
design that was proposed in Elk Grove. | 

Almost one year to the day after the Elk Grove Planning Commission voted against a hospital proposed by the for-profit California Northstate University, a near-identical project was unanimously approved last night by the Sacramento City Council.  

The proposed $1 billion hospital project is part of the former Sleep Train Arena redevelopment in Sacramento's north Natomas neighborhood. CNU was given 31 acres by the Sacramento Kings organization on the 183-acre site redeveloped to include CNU's hospital, commercial development, and housing. 

CNU proposes a 768,000 11-story hospital and will be part of a phased development over ten years. In addition, their plans include relocating their medical school in Elk Grove, child care facilities, and senior care facilities.

One year ago, on February 19, the Elk Grove Planning Commission denied CNU's application for their project in Elk Grove's Stonelake neighborhood. Along with stiff community opposition to shoehorning the massive project on a 13-acre parcel directly adjacent to residential areas, the planning commission noted their site was on a flood plain. 

Although CNU and its president Alvin Chueng could have appealed the decision to the Elk Grove City Council, they decided to pursue their facility in Rancho Cordova. After failing to reach an agreement in Rancho Cordova, they found a willing partner in Sacramento.

Unlike opposition in Elk Grove, during the hearing's public comment, approximately one dozen speakers were in favor of the project. They cited claims that the hospital will create up to 8,000 jobs in their support.

CNU retained their bunny ear design for the hospital and noted that each hospital room in the facility would be single-room occupancy. The Natomas hospital includes a helipad, and as they did in Elk Grove, they will seek trauma certification. 

Additionally, CNU was mute on their widely ridiculed claims made in Elk Grove that the hospital could be built and operating in less than 30 months. No specific timelines were mentioned during the proceedings.  

Although the city council voted to support the concept, there were questions from council members Katie Valenzuela, Mai Vang, Jeff Harris, and Jay Schenirer. Their questions focused on patient intake, environmental and financial considerations. 

To facilitate the planned construction and possibly avoid so-called CEQA lawsuits, CNU agreed to project labor agreements that assure only union construction workers will work on the structure. However, when asked if the employees at the hospital would be allowed to organize unions, Cheung was non-committal. 

As he did when questioned in Elk Grove, Cheung was vague when responding to city council questions on how the project would be financed and if public funding will be requested. Cheung also brushed off questions if the hospital and medical school would remain for-profit or become non-profit.

Interestingly the Sleep Train arena site was discussed as a possible new location for the Sacramento Zoo. The zoo is now discussing a possible relocation of its facilities to Elk Grove.  

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1 comment

Renegade said...

Did anyone ask them where they're funding was coming from?
Does anyone recall the "Ghost Mall" and their dubious funding machine? How'd that work out?
Look out Natomas, you may be the next community left with egg on your face for buying this snake oil sales pitch.

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