Developers break ground on massive Henderson health village

Union Village partner David Baker, in the red tie, is shown after he and other investors and lawmakers held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the health care project on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, at the project site on Galleria Drive at U.S. 95 in Henderson.

After years of planning and a major setback, developers of Union Village are gearing up to finally build the colossal Henderson health care complex.

Investors, lawmakers, including Gov. Brian Sandoval, and others gathered today for a ceremonial groundbreaking at the project site on Galleria Drive between U.S. 95 and Gibson Road.

The $1.2 billion, 155-acre development is slated to include hospitals, retail, entertainment and office space, and senior housing.

The project would be built in phases over the next decade or so. Utilities installation, road widening and other work are expected in coming months.

Union Village ceremonial groundbreaking

Investors and lawmakers line up at a ceremonial groundbreaking of health care project Union Village on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, at the project site on Galleria Drive at U.S. 95 in Henderson. Launch slideshow »

One feature announced today: Las Vegas Athletic Clubs plans to build a facility at the complex and submitted designs to City Hall today, Union Village partner David Michael said.

The health-club chain plans to buy roughly 10 acres at Union Village and build a 90,000-square-foot, $23 million to $25 million facility, Executive Vice President Chad Smith said. The company aims to break ground next year.

Union Village’s development is being led by a group of Southern California investors, including former Irvine Mayor David Baker, who now runs the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Ohio. They say the project will create 17,000 jobs and describe Union Village as the world’s first “integrated health village.”

Sandoval said it “is one of the most promising and innovative projects this state has ever seen.”

“It has everything,” he told the crowd squeezed into an events tent at the project site today. “There is nothing like it on planet Earth.”

Michael waxed philosophical, saying, “Through the centuries, men have blazed new paths...with nothing but their vision,” and that when things got tough with Union Village, his group received “divine drops” of light and guidance.

“This has been a very long journey,” he said.

Click to enlarge photo

An artist's rendering of Union Village, the proposed $1.2 billion hospital-retail-residential project on Galleria Drive at U.S. 95 in Henderson.

The first phase alone would consist of a 142-bed hospital by Universal Health Services, as well as a 45-bed long-term, acute-care hospital, a 120-bed skilled-nursing facility and about 300 units of senior housing — along with a fitness center, 150,000 square feet of medical office space and 125,000 square feet of retail space.

That initial phase is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. Developers would start building the second phase in three to four years and the third and final phase in seven to eight years, investors have said.

City officials and project developers unveiled plans for Union Village in April 2011. Two months later, Baker said construction was slated to start between December 2011 and April 2012.

But Union Village has been stuck on the drawing board. A key reason: The St. Rose Dominican hospitals network had agreed to build a 214-bed hospital to anchor the project, but it backed out in February 2013, citing a lack of financing.

Universal Health Services’ local hospital network, Valley Health System, announced in January this year that it would build at Union Village instead. The facility will be known as Henderson Hospital.

The city of Henderson bought the site in the early 1990s for a sports complex that never materialized. City officials sold it to Union Village’s development group on Jan. 22 for $13.7 million. An hour later, the investors sold a roughly 30-acre chunk, as planned, to Valley Health for $9.9 million.