Developer floats cancer center in suburbs, not downtown Phoenix

[Source: Jahna Berry and Edythe Jensen, Arizona Republic] — An influential developer wants the University of Arizona to consider putting a sought-after cancer center in a suburb, not downtown Phoenix.  Officials from UA, which would oversee the future cancer center, have downplayed the developer’s queries in Chandler and Surprise.  Patients need a center in a sprawling, resort-like setting, and Phoenix doesn’t have enough room for that, said the developer, Tom Hornaday.   But Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon isn’t taking any chances and wants UA to reaffirm its commitment to build the center in his city.  Gordon has reasons to be worried:

  • Last year, Phoenix lost to Goodyear on a $70 million cancer center that was to be built near Loop 101 and Thomas Road.  This year, talks collapsed for a Banner teaching hospital on UA’s fledgling downtown Phoenix medical-school campus.
  • Chandler and Surprise are jockeying to be players in the state’s bioscience scene.
  • There are new Valley political players, and leaders at UA, who were not part of the early planning for Phoenix’s 28-acre biomedical hub.

Eventually the area, bounded by Garfield, Monroe, Fifth and Seventh streets, would share a hospital, researchers, and the three state universities.  Already, UA’s medical school and Translational Genomics Research Institute and a unit from the ASU engineering college have taken root there.  State lawmakers recently approved $470 million for future campus construction.

Gordon wants UA to reaffirm its four-year-old commitment to put a branch of the Arizona Cancer Center in Phoenix.  “While outsiders are trying to put together a speculative real-estate deal, it risks slowing down and diverting the attention necessary to continue the momentum to build the biomedical campus,” Gordon said, noting the state Legislature and other groups have committed more than $1 billion to the downtown project.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

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