The organization said it is accelerating its plans and upping its investment in Orange County, in response to the market's pressing need.
City of Hope, an independent research and cancer treatment center based in Duarte, California, announced plans more than a year ago to partner with a developer of mixed-use planned communities to build a $200 million cancer treatment facility in Irvine. Those plans just got a whole lot bigger.
The nonprofit announced Tuesday morning that it will accelerate the project's timeline and increase its planned investment to more than $1 billion. The new campus, which will be built on about 11 acres of land at the FivePoint Gateway in Irvine, is expected to include not only an outpatient facility but also a clinical research center, integrated cancer preventive care, and a specialty hospital focused exclusively on treating and curing cancer.
City of Hope President and CEO Robert Stone, JD, says the organization revised its strategy in response to a recognition of the community's growing demand.
"It wasn't until we announced we were coming and did a needs assessment that we saw how great the need was for the highly specialized care we would bring," Stone tells HealthLeaders.
As the population ages in Orange County, the cancer incidence rate is projected to increase 18% over the coming decade, according to City of Hope's market research. At present, nearly one in five cancer patients in the area travel for advanced care. Since it can take Irvine residents two hours to commute across the Los Angeles metro area to City of Hope's main campus in Duarte, opening this second campus is part of the organization's effort to provide care closer to home.
Annette Walker, MHA, president of City of Hope Orange County, said in a statement that the organization's leaders have spent the past year listening to Orange County residents and revising their plans accordingly.
"It became evident that we needed to bring our highly specialized treatments as soon as possible," Walker said. "We're delivering on our promise and opening our doors faster to alleviate the unnecessary hardships on patients and their families."
The plan announced last year had called for a 73,000-square-foot cancer center to be developed on property donated to City of Hope by FivePoint Holdings, LLC. The revised plan, however, calls for City of Hope to purchase about 11 acres and an existing 190,000-square-foot building.
"We believed that we would build from the ground up on vacant land," Stone says. "We now have the opportunity to cut our market entry time in half by taking a building that was already in existence, the shell was already in existence."
Under the plan announced last year, the new facility was slated to open by 2025. Under the updated plan, the facility is slated to open in 2021, with the outpatient facility expected to open first, Stone says.
City of Hope already has 30 clinical care sites across the five-county region, with another facility slated to open this year in Newport Beach. But this bigger investment in Irvine is different, Stone says. Rather than focusing on care delivery alone, the Irvine campus will include major research and innovation-seeking operations.
"This, for us, is in many ways creating a second campus," he says.
The organization has grown significantly in the past five years. City of Hope saw 25,000 patients in 2014; that number more than tripled to 83,000 in 2018, Stone says.
The total price tag of more than $1 billion will be split roughly half-and-half between capital needs and programmatic needs, Stone says, adding that the organization is pleased to associate itself with a broader development that includes residential, commercial, and recreational spaces as well.
"Having the ability to partner with a developer like FivePoint to not just create this cancer campus of the future here in Irvine but also have the potential to be shoulder-to-shoulder in defining what a broader medical community and broader needs are and to embed ourselves in a community is a unique opportunity," he says.
FivePoint Holdings LLC Chairman and CEO Emile Haddad said in the statement that his company believes in building a sustainable society, with places that offer equal access and spaces "where the body, mind and soul get strengthened together."
"Because it takes a village to build a community, FivePoint is constantly searching for partners that innovate and shape the future of how people will live," Haddad says. "As FivePoint considered the importance of wellness, it was clear that City of Hope is the ideal partner to bring world-class cancer treatment and research to Irvine and Orange County."
Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.
Photo credit: City of Hope Orange County Cancer Campus Located at FivePoint Gateway in Irvine (Provided)
The independent research and treatment center is buying about 11 acres of land and a 190,000-square-foot building in a planned community development in Irvine.
The facility, which is located at FivePoint Gateway in Irvine, is expected to open in 2021.