McCarthy Building Cos. Inc. and architect HOK joined California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in a public ceremony this week to start work on America’s first “Health and Wellness City” at the former March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County.
Named “March LifeCare Campus, the 10-year, $3.3-billion construction project will encompass 246 acres, housing some 6 million sq ft of health related structures, including a hospital, medical office buildings, retail, a hotel, a continuing care retirement community, wellness centers and healing gardens as well as facilities for veterans, skilled nursing, spiritual healing and ambulatory care.
Governor Schwarzenegger summed up the significance of the massive project: “This is going to become known as the ‘Mayo Clinic of the West’… and during construction, 12,700 construction workers will be employed. After completion, 7,200 permanent healthcare related jobs will be created.”
The March LifeCare Campus project begins at a time when the Inland Empire area suffers some of the worst unemployment in the nation while experiencing a shortage in necessary healthcare. State, county and local support for the project is unprecedented. “We’re seeing an on-going state and local community commitment to redevelop an area that is in much need of economic growth and additional healthcare capacity,” says Michael Tuohy, McCarthy’s project director for March LifeCare.
At the ceremony, two heavy duty Link Belt demolition machines were ordered by the governor to start taking down the first of more than 16 structures to make way for the 1.4 million-sq-ft first phase of the three phase project.
McCarthy is the general contractor for the current $4.5-million demolition work and master builder for the program’s overall construction. U.S. Demolition Co. of Anaheim began the take-down of the first building at the ceremony.
March Healthcare Development, led by Managing Director and Project Leader Donald N. Ecker, has spent six years formulating the overall concept of the unique health and wellness venue.
“We are pleased to have a firm with McCarthy’s reputation as part of our world-class team,” says Ecker. Internationally renowned architectural firm HOK designed the master plan for the March LifeCare Campus.