Teaching Hospital Planned for Natomas Arena Site

Source: California Northstate University Medical Center project website

BY BRANDY TUZON BOYD
THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

A new medical center and teaching hospital is slated to be built where Sleep Train Arena currently stands.

During a press conference held today in Natomas, the Sacramento Kings ownership announced new development plans in partnership with California Northstate University which will demolish the defunct arena to make way for a multi-phase project including Natomas’ first hospital.

For more than a decade a hospital and college campus have been popular with area residents as possible reuses of the arena property in Natomas. In 2011 the Natomas Think Big Subcommittee focused on a high-tech campus, hospital campus and college campus as preferred reuses of the site. And during her 2013 “State of Natomas” address, Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby said the top-three possible reuses for the 183-acre site included a hospital, university or high-technology campus akin to a Google or Facebook.

North Natomas was Sacramento’s first master-planned community, designed with then Arco Arena (later Power Balance Pavilion and Sleep Train Arena) arena at its epicenter. The term sheet for the new sports and entertainment complex built downtown called for a shovel-ready project by the time Golden 1 opened. But it wasn’t until late 2018, when the Sacramento Zoo started eyeing the site for relocation, that the Sacramento Kings submitted plans to rezone the land and redevelop it for housing and retail.

As proposed, the first phase of the California Northstate University medical center project will include a 250-bed teaching hospital, underground and surface parking, according to the project website. The facility’s design was developed by San Francisco’s Fong & Chan Architects and is planned to be 11 stories tall and feature a helicopter pad to support trauma services.

The second phase will include the possible addition of 150 beds, an outpatient clinic, medical office building, two parking garages and medical school expansion and dormitory, according to the project website.

The project would create an estimated 3,000 jobs, Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby said.

California Northstate University operates medical, pharmacy, dental and psychology colleges in the greater Sacramento area which grant Doctor of Medicine degrees.

Ashby said the university hopes to eventually relocate all four colleges to one big campus in Natomas.

The university first unveiled plans to build a new hospital adjacent to its Elk Grove medical school campus in December 2018.

But earlier this year, in February 2021, the Elk Grove Planning Commission unanimously rejected the proposal. A month later, in March 2021, Rancho Cordova officials and university announced they were in discussions to locate the teaching hospital there.

Sleep Train Arena, originally ARCO Arena and later Power Balance Pavilion, opened in 1988.

The arena has remained mostly vacant since hosting its last Sacramento Kings game in 2016. During the pandemic, the arena has served as an alternate care hospital, testing site for autonomous vehicles and storage for unused rental cars.

The Sacramento Antique Faire recently relocated to the arena parking lot temporarily due to construction.


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