Statement on CNU and City of Sac Announcement


Officials from the City of Sacramento and California Northstate University (CNU) today announced that they are in discussions on locating CNU's proposed medical center and teaching hospital project, once slated for Elk Grove, in Sacramento's Natomas district. This follows CNU's previous announcement in February that they would pursue the project in Rancho Cordova, after first having worked with Elk Grove to locate the project there.

CNU opened its Elk Grove campus on the City's west side in 2014, becoming only the ninth accredited medical school in California. CNU enjoyed immediate success in Elk Grove, rapidly growing its campus, degree programs, students, and staff. Today, the university occupies 130,000 square feet in Elk Grove, with over 1,700 combined students and employees in five colleges including medicine, pharmacy, psychology, and health sciences. Despite today's announcement, CNU officials have indicated they plan to retain their pharmacy school at the current site in Elk Grove. They have also submitted an application to the city to expand the campus to accommodate a new dentistry school.

CNU announced plans to build a 1.5 million square foot medical center project, featuring a 13-story teaching hospital, in Elk Grove in December of 2018 when they filed an application for project approvals with the City. CNU proposed to construct the project on the site of its existing campus and an adjacent neighborhood shopping center it had purchased near I-5 and Elk Grove Boulevard, immediately adjacent to single-family residential neighborhoods and the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

On February 18, 2021, the City's Planning Commission recommended to the Elk Grove City Council denial of the project, siting environmental concerns, location within the 200-year flood plain and opposition from neighboring businesses and residents. At CNU's request, the project was never presented to the City Council for a final determination. At that time, CNU stated publicly it had begun exploring alternative sites outside of Elk Grove. Despite that announcement, City staff continued to work with CNU for four months to identify viable alternative sites for the project within the city. All told, following the Planning Commission hearing, city staff presented six alternative sites throughout the city with favorable zoning and circulation, and likely lessened neighborhood and small business opposition. Many of these same sites were discussed with CNU prior to filing its application in 2018.

"Elk Grove city leaders did everything we could to assist CNU at their chosen project location and present alternative locations and options for their consideration," said Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen. "Ultimately none of the options presented met their needs. We still believe that this is an important project for the Sacramento region and we wish California Northstate University and the City of Sacramento every success in establishing the project in Natomas. We continue to enjoy a strong working relationship with CNU, and we will do everything we can to support the continued success and growth of the university campus in Elk Grove."


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