Hospital considers LV center

The Cleveland Clinic, consistently called one of the best hospitals in the nation, is once again exploring the possibility of building a medical center in Las Vegas.

Earlier this year, the clinic announced that it would staff and operate what's now known as the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. The center is located in Symphony Park, Las Vegas' much-touted downtown redevelopment project.

Next week, the City Council will consider an agreement with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, which would study the feasibility of taking over as many as four parcels next to the Lou Ruvo center and building a medical care or research facility.

Details about what kind of center is being considered were not available Friday.

"We don't have that kind of detail yet," said Cleveland Clinic spokeswoman Erinne Dyer. "All that we can commit to and confirm is that we're evaluating opportunities for future growth."

Scott Adams, Las Vegas' urban redevelopment officer, said the clinic is re-establishing a long-standing interest in Las Vegas.

"I think it would be fair to say that their interest is broader than the brain center," he said. "I think that they're going through their own process of defining exactly what markets they want to enter into ... and how that might convert to actual development of medical facilities in Symphony Park."

The city has tried to entice the renowned clinic to downtown Las Vegas before. Mayor Oscar Goodman has been a proponent. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

At one point, plans called for a $500 million, 195-bed medical center on 25 acres, out of the 61 acres available in Symphony Park (previously known as Union Park).

The clinic opted not to go forward because of the need for a new heart center in Ohio.

The new study would be of a much smaller project -- 8.9 acres, some of which would be used for parking.

These parcels had previously been considered for a business hotel and a medical office building anchored by a surgical training center, but the company exploring these projects didn't follow through with the city. The city is trying to stay with those types of uses for the south end of the development, Adams said.

A nongaming hotel still could be part of the mix as well if it was determined that the center would draw people from elsewhere to receive medical care, he said.

Under the terms of the agreement with the city, Cleveland Clinic would have until Jan. 31 to submit an overall development plan, followed by a more detailed proposal showing building placement, parking requirements and traffic flow by March 31.

The agreement, which says the city will negotiate exclusively with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation over the city-owned parcels, lays out the approval process for any proposed development.

It would expire Nov. 29, 2010, unless both parties agreed to extend it.

The Cleveland Clinic was ranked the fourth best hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report earlier this year. It was ranked No. 1 in heart and heart surgery, and No. 2 in digestive disorders, rheumatology and urology.

After a July visit, President Barack Obama praised the Cleveland Clinic for "having some of the lowest costs for the best care," having one of the best health information technology systems in the country, and for its physicians' focus on preventable disease.

Staff writer Paul Harasim contributed to this report. Contact reporter Alan Choate at or 702-229-6435.