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North Las Vegas plans to build medical campus next to VA hospital

North Las Vegas intends to build a multibillion dollar medical campus to complement the nearby Veterans Affairs hospital and greatly expand health care offerings urgently needed in the city and region.

The project, which Mayor John Lee compared on Wednesday to building a second Allegiant Stadium as he sought to illustrate its impact, is expected to be constructed in phases on 135 acres next to the veterans hospital and would ultimately more than quadruple the number of hospital beds in the city. It is also proposed to develop medical research and specialty care facilities, as well as hotel, restaurant and retail operations.

“This will help really put North Las Vegas on the map,” Lee said.

North Las Vegas has long envisioned developing the plot on the southwestern corner of the 215 Beltway and North Pecos Road to drastically broaden its health care services to the general public and to veterans who oftentimes must be referred elsewhere for certain care.

Excluding the Veterans Affairs hospital, there are just 209 hospital beds for a city whose population exceeded 260,000 people in the 2020 U.S. Census. And more than 70 percent of people taken to a hospital by the North Las Vegas Fire Department have to go outside the city for care, officials said.

Land sold for $37 million

After nearly eight years of pursuing its vision for a one-stop medical campus, the city believes it has found an appropriate partner: Pacific Group, a Salt Lake City-based developer perhaps best known in Southern Nevada for the Lake Las Vegas resort in the eastern tip of the valley.

On March 2, the City Council approved selling the 135-acre property for nearly $37 million to Legacy AK LLC, a Pacific Group company. City lawmakers are expected to vote in late April on a master development agreement with the company to move forward on the medical campus, which would take seven to 10 years to complete.

The project is unique in that it sits in a job-creation zone on Bureau of Land Management-owned land, which was given to North Las Vegas through an act of Congress in 2014, meaning that the proceeds from the sale will be routed back to the federal government.

Pacific Group has proposed a $4 billion-to-$5 billion investment over three phases that would add 740 hospital beds, including a main hospital and potentially children’s and women’s hospitals, and 2.3 million square feet of medical office and technology research space, according to its project submission to the city.

“It doesn’t necessarily completely solve, but it certainly helps create a solution for the underserved medical needs of the city of North Las Vegas,” Pacific Group Chief Financial Officer Tony Sansone said Wednesday.

The conceptual plan also calls for constructing 270 rooms across two hotels; four full-service and three fast-food restaurants; and 500,000 square feet of retail space.

Lee said the development, which is expected to create more than 10,000 full-time equivalent jobs, would significantly benefit the city’s general fund and diversify the tourism-reliant economy.

‘A perfect fit’

Lee said the city chose Pacific Group after putting the project out to bid late last year because it answered all of the city’s questions; had the desired wherewithal, experience and reputation; and its vision mirrored the city’s own.

Sansone said that he believed the city not only saw his company’s breadth of experience with master developments, but also that it understood the project required a holistic approach. While Pacific Group has been involved in health care-related projects, Sansone said, it would also be drawing on the experience of its architect, which has a specific health care division.

If city lawmakers approve the master development agreement, he said that infrastructure improvements could begin in the second half of this year, with construction underway in 2023.

“This was a perfect fit for this land,” Lee said.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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