Gilbert’s under-construction hospital is the heart of a planned 40-acre medical campus that also will include a doctors’ offices complex, two oncology centers, a senior assisted living center, hospice facilities and a large, holistic wellness center.
The wellness center, pegged to include seven treatment buildings, a healing garden, a 200-seat auditorium and hightech communications capabilities that would connect the naturopathic healers to traditional medical hospitals and holistic centers across the road and across the world, is closest to developer Bill Lund’s own heart.
"We saw what naturopathic medicine could do. They have made so many advances," Lund said.
Burgeoning plans for a medical complex offering traditional and alternative treatments are part of Lund’s 1,470-acre Spectrum at Val Vista, a master-planned community of homes, shops, restaurants and the largest auto mall in the state, if not the country.
The 88-bed Mercy Gilbert Medical Center is pegged to open in spring 2006 on the southeast corner of Val Vista Drive and the planned Santan Freeway stretch of Loop 202.
An expansion that would more than double the number of hospital beds is already planned, and efforts are under way to raise enough money to double the hospital’s size again.
The wellness center, which Lund said he will fund mostly through his own family’s foundation, will be a focal point for naturopathic medicine, and it will be dedicated to the memory of his former wife and daughter.
Lund said he will ante up $10 million of his foundation’s money for the project, which he hopes will result in medical doctors and naturopathic doctors working together to provide the optimum patient care.
He said he has had lots of interest from others who may boost the budget to more than double that. Among the holistic healers who have already contacted Lund about possibly lecturing — if not taking a bigger part in his project — are holistic industry luminaries such as Deepak Chopra, University of Arizona’s Dr. Andrew Weil, and Dr. Rustin Roy of Pennsylvania State University, Lund said.
Lund expects to have design plans for the wellness center submitted to the town for review within a month.
Plans for the medical offices and oncology centers are already submitted, he said.
He hopes to have an assisted living complex for seniors within two to three years. And Lund donated one acre of the medical campus to Hospice of the Valley to develop its own facilities.
Gilbert Town Manager George Pettit said there isn’t such a comprehensive medical treatment complex anywhere in the East Valley or the state.
"It’s rare to have the opportunity to blend traditional care and the holistic approach," Pettit said. "Bill has tremendous vision."
Mayor Steve Berman said Gilbert’s highly educated and affluent population will embrace the plan.
"You can put a Wal-Mart anywhere, but some projects you can’t put just anywhere," Berman said. "It’s a reflection of who we are that (Lund) is putting this together here and a reflection of who we are that it will be successful. People who live here think out of the box."
Spectrum’s other components are proceeding at or ahead of schedule, Lund said.
More than half of the 130-acre Santan Motorplex, which will be the largest auto mall in the state, is sewn up by auto dealers planning to hawk 11 brands of cars. A local dealer is in negotiations for space to add another brand, Lund said.
"Within three or four years, it will be pretty well built-out," he said. Lund expects at that time, Santan Motorplex dealers will sell 40,000 cars a year.
By today’s standards, that would make it the largest auto mall in the country.
Santan Motorplex’s hightech curlicue monument should be in place by September, and the first dealers will be selling cars before the end of 2006, Lund said.
Main Street Commons, the Kierland Commons-like retail center that Lund is partnering with Kierland developer Woodbine Southwest to build should break ground by May 1, Lund said. It will be nearly twice the size of the hugely successful, open-air shopping center on the Scottsdale-north Phoenix border that inspired it.
Gilbert economic development director Greg Tilque said the town is looking forward to the sales tax boost from the auto mall and highend shopping center.
"It will give us a good base that will serve our residents and bring people in from outside our borders," he said.
Lund also is in negotiations to land two limited-service hotels — that means brands without full-service restaurants such as Fairfield Inn, Hilton Gardens or Courtyard by Marriott. Lund won’t name the chains in contention, but he expects both hotels to be built by 2007.
Of the 3,000 homes, townhomes and apartment units that will house Spectrum residents, all have been committed to builders, Lund said. In fact, more than 900 homeowners have already moved in.
By the end of 2007, the residential part of the project should be completed, Lund said.