McLaren’s $450M Commitment to the Future of Lansing

A state of the art medical center. A magnet to attract and retain the best doctors and specialists. A strengthened bond between a care provider and a research university. Economic development opportunities for South Lansing.

Those are just a few of the major benefits expected to result from McLaren Health Care’s (McLaren) plan to build a $450 million campus adjacent to Michigan State University (MSU), expanding its existing partnership with the university on research, education and clinical services.

“I think the impact is this: It’s very rare in the United States for a brand-new hospital to be built from the ground up,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership. “A $450 million investment like that – the biggest capital investment ever approved by McLaren corporation – is a signal that Lansing’s economy and Lansing’s future is very, very hot.”

The 240-bed facility at MSU’s University Corporate Research Park between Collins Road and U.S. Route 127, which will house more than 1,000 physicians, researchers, educators and other staff, is expected to open in late 2021 according to McLaren. It will include a cancer center, ambulatory care center and facilities for health care services, education and research.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to collaborate with MSU to redesign and elevate health care for a region and the state for generations to come,” Philip A. Incarnati, president and CEO of McLaren Health Care, said in a prepared statement. “Our partnership will transform health care delivery to support a world-class medical experience and advance pioneering medical research.”

The new campus will replace McLaren’s two current facilities in Lansing on Pennsylvania Avenue and Greenlawn Avenue, portions of which are nearing 90 years old, according to McLaren.

“The hospital is moving from one location to another location, but it remains in the City of Lansing, so the economic impact on the city is only a net gain because we can redevelop what will be the former hospital sites and get those on the tax rolls, maybe, and create jobs there in addition to having the new hospital and its existing jobs,” Trezise said.

The expansion of the McLaren-MSU partnership is “huge for the university and the connections between research and development at MSU and at McLaren that are going to occur, including all of us attempting to build a medical device and medical manufacturing industry around the new hospital,” said Trezise.

McLaren-MSU collaborations will include the sharing of clinical research data, physician and researcher recruitment, cooperation on clinical trials and other partnerships.

“It means that we – we being Lansing and MSU – are going to be home to one of the most advanced health care facilities in America. That is going to be incredibly attractive to new doctors, specialists and students,” Trezise said. “Secondly, it’s going to be a great way for us to attract new, medical-related businesses to our community, and thirdly it will help MSU attract new professors and doctors into their schools of medicine.”

An estimated 2,500 construction-related jobs will be created to build the hospital campus.

“I think it’s another great anchor for South Lansing. We have an opportunity to redevelop the former hospital sites that are really deep in South Lansing, really in the neighborhoods,” Trezise said. “I think we have a really great chance to interact with neighborhoods and to come up with great ideas and plans to redevelop those properties, and make sure they’re done correctly for South Lansing and for the future.”

Trezise said community leaders are just starting the process of identifying the next uses for McLaren’s two older hospital sites.

“My gut feeling is that the number one use is what it’s used for now, which is medical services, medical-related industries. I think that those are probably the strongest possibilities,” Trezise said. “I think that a campus setting lends itself to technology companies, possibly those types of [businesses] being interested in the property and other sort of office uses.”

Benefits will extend far beyond South Lansing, as the new hospital site sits at a junction between the cities of Lansing and East Lansing, the MSU campus and Lansing Township.

“The University Corporate Research Park property is unique because it is situated at the crossroads of South Lansing and Michigan State University,” Daniel Medrano, vice president of facility management for McLaren Health Care, said in a prepared statement. “It’s not often that a development of this magnitude can have such a positive impact on so many municipalities and organizations.”

The new McLaren campus, along with Sparrow Hospital’s recently opened Herbert-Herman Cancer Center near downtown Lansing, is expected to make mid-Michigan a more hospitable place for doctors and specialists to work and stay.

“Competition always results, we hope, in wage pressures,” Trezise said. “We hope that doctors and specialists are probably paid at a higher level. We hope that doctors feel that taking jobs here is not a one-and-done scenario, that if it doesn’t work out they would have an alternative to look at in our region, and so we’re hoping all of that creates a more robust wage environment and helps us keep and attract even more specialists within our region.”

“As everyone knows in our region, there are times when you have to leave the area to get certain kinds of specialty medical care. Of course, we want to plug those leaks as best we can,” Trezise said.

Higher wages and the presence of multiple health systems have often pulled doctors and specialists away from mid-Michigan and toward Grand Rapids and Metro Detroit.

“Those are two huge competitive advantages over us, so I believe this system and Sparrow’s cancer center both lift us to compete better with those two factors,” Trezise said. “I want to thank McLaren and I want to continue to congratulate Sparrow. We’re a global economy, this is a global move and they picked us, and not another community, for this investment. It says a lot about our very prosperous future.”

For more on the project, go online to mclaren.org/redesignhealthcar

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Omar Sofradzija

Omar Sofradzija

Omar Sofradzija is an adjunct journalism instructor at Michigan State University. Prior to that, he was a columnist and reporter at the Las Vegas (Nev.) Review-Journal, where he covered the development and launch of that city's Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) bus rapid transit system and the Las Vegas Monorail.

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