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UCI Health Plans $80M Irvine Inpatient Hospital

52 beds for stroke, heart patients

UCI Health is looking to expand its already substantial development plans in the area around John Wayne Airport, with the construction of a new $80 million inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Irvine.

The rapidly growing academic healthcare system, the clinical enterprise of University of California, Irvine, last week got city planning approvals for a 52-bed, 69,750-square-foot inpatient convalescent facility. It will be located at the 48-acre Irvine Concourse campus alongside the San Diego (405) Freeway, which currently holds a collection of office buildings, hotels, restaurants and an Equinox gym.

The four-story project, located on an empty 1.5-acre parcel on the southwest corner of Von Karman Avenue and Morse Avenue, would be used for patients who are recovering from conditions such as stroke, heart attack, and orthopedic injuries, according to city filings.
The average stay would be between 12 and 14 days, with patients brought to the hospital from other facilities, including UCI Medical Center in Orange, the county’s largest hospital.

The project, called the UCI Health Rehabilitation Hospital, is expected to average 42 patients and would be open around-the-clock. It will employ about 200 people.
It would not provide behavioral, alcohol, or drug rehabilitation services, according to city filings.

UCI Health “provides leading critical care to a region of more than 3.5 million people—they deserve a state-of-the-art rehabilitation center that offers advanced technologies to help them get back to their lives faster,” said UCI Health CEO Chad Lefteris.

LifePoint Partner

Plans for the project have been in the works for some time; the Business Journal in February was first to report on San Diego-based healthcare real estate developer PMB LLC’s efforts at seeking approvals for the development.

At the time, the hospital groups that would use and operate the property hadn’t been disclosed.

Along with UCI Health, which runs UCI Medical Center, its flagship campus, the project involves Brentwood, Tenn.-based LifePoint Health, a healthcare operator whose portfolio includes 32 rehabilitation and behavioral health hospitals. Its nearest facility is in Escondido in San Diego County.

LifePoint unit Kindred Rehabilitation Services will manage the hospital’s day-to-day operations, and patients will receive care provided by UCI Health physicians and clinical staff.

UCI Health and Kindred “have a shared vision to create the most innovative and comprehensive rehabilitation center on the West Coast,” Lefteris said at the time the partnership with LifeTime was disclosed in June.

Other companies involved in the project, city filings indicate, are architecture and interior design firm Taylor Design of Irvine; Kimley-Horn, a planning and design consultant with local offices in Orange; environmental consulting firm LSA, which has a local office in Irvine; and Irvine-based entitlement firm Starpoint Ventures.

PMB, which reports having developed over 100 facilities representing approximately 5.5 million square feet, has worked on several projects in Orange County.

Late last year, PMB and Providence St. Joseph Hospital kicked off work on the
new 137,000-square-foot Helen Caloggero Women’s and Family Center on the campus of Providence in Orange.

$1.3B Project Nearby

Irvine is now seeing a flurry of hospital-related construction move ahead.

On Jamboree Road, a couple miles away from the Von Karman development site, UCI and UCI Health are well underway with a new medical complex on a nearly 25-acre site on the north end of the university’s campus.

The multi-building UCI Health-Irvine complex, with an estimated cost of $1.3 billion, will include a 144-bed, 350,000-square-foot acute care hospital with an emergency room, the outpatient Joe C. Wen & Family Center for Advanced Care with primary and specialty health services, a Center for Children’s Health and the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Ambulatory Care building.

The outpatient Center for Advanced Care and Center for Children’s Health will see their first patients in early 2023, and the hospital and cancer center will open in 2025, according to the school.

The $80 million inpatient hospital is expected to begin construction by December and begin admitting patients in late 2025.

Busy City

Elsewhere in the city at the Great Park Neighborhoods, City of Hope Orange County last month unveiled its new outpatient center for cancer research.

The 190,000-square-foot Lennar Foundation Cancer Center will serve as City of Hope Orange County’s primary building for research and clinical trials.

Along with the Lennar-backed medical office facility, City of Hope is in the early stages of building a nearby 170,000-square-foot cancer hospital, the first of its type in Orange County. That stand-alone facility is expected to open in 2025.

About 3 miles away from City of Hope’s project, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian has expansion in mind at its Irvine campus; see page 1 for more.

Mark Mueller
Mark Mueller
Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of the Orange County Business Journal, one of the premier regional business newspapers in the country. He’s the fifth person to hold the editor’s position in the paper’s long history. He oversees a staff of about 15 people. The OCBJ is considered a must-read for area business executives. The print edition of the paper is the primary source of local news for most of the Business Journal’s subscribers, which includes most of OC’s major corporate and community players. Mark’s been with the paper since 2005, and long served as the real estate reporter for the paper, breaking hundreds of commercial and residential real estate stories. He took on the editor’s position in 2018.
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