City pledges $14 million for Arizona Cancer Center clinic in Phoenix

May 23, 2011

By hammersmith

The University of Arizona and the City of Phoenix have reached an agreement to build an Arizona Cancer Center outpatient clinic on the downtown Phoenix Biomedical Campus. The city will contribute $14 million towards the expense of constructing the six-story, 250,000 square-foot facility, which UA envisions serving 60,000 patients each year.

Construction should begin before the end of the year, with the first $4 million of Phoenix’s support paying for design and planning. Officials anticipate opening the $135 million clinic to patients in 2014. Clinical-care provision has already begun ramping up, though, under an arrangement finalized in February that makes St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center the Arizona Cancer Center’s clinical partner in Maricopa County.

“We feel strongly as the comprehensive cancer center for the state of Arizona that we should bring the technology, the clinical capabilities, translational research–the activities of the Arizona Cancer Center” to Phoenix, said David Alberts, director of the Cancer Center, in an address to the Phoenix City Council.

The new facility sustains a practice on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus of developing collaborations to launch new endeavors. Besides the partnership with St. Joseph’s, the Cancer Center will partner with the Translational Genomics Research Institute and the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix on research, Dr. Alberts said.

“The vision of the city has been so important in building a modern medical and genomics program for Phoenix,” Dr. Alberts said in the Arizona Republic. “The Cancer Center is one piece of that vision.”

Additional potential collaborators nearby–none of which were in Phoenix 10 years ago–include the International Genomics Consortium, the UA College of Pharmacy, Northern Arizona University’s allied-health programs, and Arizona State University’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation, and Phoenix Union Bioscience High School.

City officials described the project as a major economic boost for Phoenix.

“This will add jobs–crucial, high-paying jobs,” said Mayor Phil Gordon in the Arizona Republic. “It also starts to add to that 24/7 downtown knowledge economy that we have all focused on.”

UA estimates that the Cancer Center will employ some 100 physicians at the clinic, along with several hundred nurses, other health-care providers, and support staff. The clinic will also be an “open practice,” Dr. Alberts said in the Republic; community oncologists will be able to use space on site to treat their patients.

The funding the City of Phoenix is using to help bring the Cancer Center to Phoenix will come from lease payments and fees collected by the city from tenants on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. The balance of the facility’s construction costs will be raised privately by the UA Foundation. 

The new clinic will be built on the Biomedical Campus’s northeast corner, at Fillmore and Seventh streets. Not far south is another construction project, the College of Medicine’s $129 million Health Sciences Education Building, which broke ground in October 2010 and should open for the incoming class of medical students in 2012.

The Cancer Center’s expansion from its flagship facilities in Tucson comes as several other providers are adding clinical facilities for cancer patients in Maricopa County.The $90 million Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center will open in Gilbert in September. Mayo Clinic is preparing to build a $182 million proton-beam radiation-therapy facility on its Scottsdale campus. And Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a for-profit hospital, has purchased a 42-acre plot in Goodyear adjacent to its existing facility.

For more information:

Phoenix plans funds for Arizona Cancer Clinic,” Arizona Republic, 05/18/2011

City to Support Phoenix Arizona Cancer Center Facility,” University of Arizona news release, 05/18/2011