When the Maricopa Planning and Zoning Commission approved a zoning change to allow the Copper Sky Medical Campus to move forward, it set the ball rolling for what will become much more than the city’s second hospital. .
Yes, the developers, S3 BioTech, are planning an ER specialty hospital of at least 100,000 square feet and 25 beds. The project would also include medical services facilities, including an outpatient surgery center, catheterization laboratory, and offices to house medical practices and other medical services.
But it’s the larger vision that leads at least one planning and zoning commissioner to think much bigger.
“It reminds me of a story from years ago of a couple who wanted to do something innovative like this,” said P&Z commissioner Jim Irving. “They were turned down by several towns in the east and told to go west. They went to a little town called Palo Alto, and there in Palo Alto, Leland Stanford formed a college. That’s pretty much, to me, how exciting it is. It’s just amazing. What a personal tribute we could be Palo Alto. I’m just really excited about this, it’s a huge project, and what this project can do for our city and our state is amazing.
Nathan Steele, the city’s director of economic development and legislative affairs, agreed the project could have a far greater effect on the city’s economic development than a hospital project alone.
“This project is expected to contribute to Maricopa’s economy in a variety of ways, not only creating construction jobs, but also health care jobs once construction is complete,” Steele said. “Then there are the side jobs and the development that follows, from restaurants to hotels or whatever serves the area. We celebrate this project and all the others that are moving forward.
The 28.3 acre project is being proposed in two phases. The initial phase, which includes the hospital, will be at the southeast corner of North John Wayne Parkway and West Bowlin Road. This area, known as the Medical Campus, will also include a medical office building and medical facilities, condominiums and a hotel. This part of the project will span 14.3 acres and include 559,000 square feet of space.
The second part of the project, which is to the south at the northeast corner of North John Wayne Parkway and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, will be known as the Innovation Campus. It will cover 12 acres and have over 1 million square feet of construction area.
Highlights of the innovation campus include a sports academy, more medical and healthcare facilities, and apartments.
According to Dr. Ed Johnson, board member and spokesperson for S3 BioTech, the board hopes work will begin on the hospital as early as October and open in the first quarter of 2024. He too sees a much larger contribution. important to the city than just a hospital.
“One of our goals was to help address the challenges we’re having (the city has) with housing,” Johnson said. “We will have a mix of ownership, short-term rentals and apartments across all sites.”
He added that the growth Maricopa has experienced over the past decade has positioned the city for such a project.
“It’s one of the largest cities in the state (17e population), the second fastest growing, with a large usable population today,” Johnson said. “Given your plans to move up to half a million people and your longer term vision up to one million, there is certainly a critical mass of people who can work and be part of that vision. It’s close enough to Sky Harbor International Airport to be a national hub for some of the activities we’ll talk about.
“As you know, it’s a great place to raise a family. There are great schools, (and) a highly educated population. We intend to contribute to all those in terms of employees we want to hire in the city, with people who do not want to drive (in the valley) within the medical profession. The best scientists, doctors and others will hopefully come to live and work in your community.
The campus will literally elevate the city to new heights if the first plans materialize. A select service hotel and an extended-stay condominium/hotel are proposed for the campus and would reach heights of seven stories and 100 feet each.
Plans call for 13 buildings across both campuses, including two smart parking structures. Johnson estimated that completion of the full project would take 4–5 years.
As an economic driver, Johnson said the developers expect to release a third-party economic development report soon which will show the project will create up to 11,500 construction jobs, 3,000 permanent medical industry jobs an once the project is completed and will have a residential high school for football players. as part of the sports academy.
The tax benefit of the project over 30 years is estimated at $4.5 billion.
Johnson sees the project as a partnership between the city and his group.
“We see this as an iconic visual development as well as a driver of economic development for your city,” Johnson said. “One of the reasons we chose Maricopa, and hope you choose us, is that we believe everyone is committed to the same goals. It brought this project together. considerable amount of municipal staff to expedite the process and bring the pieces together. We feel welcome here and can’t wait to get started.