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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

CEO’s Goal: Make Grounds a Slice of Paradise

Alan Soderblom, the new chief executive at Paradise Valley Hospital, has an ambitious plan.

Also serving as the hospital’s new president, Soderblom wants to develop 54 acres of nearby land into a senior living village, affordable employee housing and a medical office building.

The development project has been approved by Adventist Health, the faith-based nonprofit group that operates the 301-bed acute care hospital in National City and owner of the nearby land.

Soderblom, 40, a Chula Vista resident, hopes to sell the plan to the city of National City as part of a wider redevelopment project to revive the low-income area.

“The South Bay is facing growing difficulties in trying to recruit doctors and nurses , if we can provide space and make it more accessible to the hospital, we should be able to attract them,” said Soderblom, who was appointed to the position Jan. 8. “Many individuals see multiple specialists now , this campus will allow people to meet all their health care needs in one place.”

Under the project, 11 acres would be used to build a senior village, with amenities to meet their medical and everyday living needs: a skilled nursing facility, independent and assisted living as well as financial services such as a bank, and entertainment, from movie theaters and shopping to restaurants.

Six acres have been set aside to build about 93 “affordable” condominiums. Employees would be given the first right to buy, Soderblom said.

About two to three acres of land are earmarked for a four-story medical office building, which could meet the rising need for private doctors to serve the community and hospital patients, he said.

Provided community members and the city endorse the plan, Soderblom expects to break ground on the senior village and affordable housing projects by year-end.

An invitation sent to 9,000 community members living within a 1-mile radius of the hospital to learn about the proposed plan elicited excitement, according to Soderblom.

About 150 people came to the hospital Jan. 26 to listen to Soderblom’s presentation of the plan and meet with representatives of the builders: Hammes Co. of Orange County, which would build the medical office building; the Olson Co. of Los Angeles, contracted for the housing project, and Generations LLC of Grants Pass, Ore., for the senior village.

“Many people said hurry up, the sooner the better,” Soderblom said.

This summer, he’ll propose plans to the city to break ground for the senior village projects and affordable employee housing late this year or early in 2006.

Benjamin Martinez, the executive director for National City’s Community Development Commission, said he’s “excited” about working with Soderblom on the new plan.

“In particular, we are very supportive of the job creation and spectrum of affordable housing opportunities this future development will bring to the city of National City and its residents,” Martinez said in a written statement.

If all goes well, the first employees could move in as early as the first quarter of 2007.

The first phase of the senior village is expected to take 18 to 24 months. The second phase will take an additional year to complete, Soderblom said.

Construction for the medical building would be last. Groundbreaking could start in March 2006 and take until the second quarter of 2007 to complete, he estimated.

Paradise Valley Hospital announced earlier plans to build a new hospital to comply with Senate Bill 1953, which mandates that hospitals meet seismic requirements by 2013.

Soderblom said it doesn’t make sense to spend some $150 million to retrofit an old hospital building from the 1960s to meet today’s health care standards.

A new hospital would have the infrastructure to meet the health care needs for tomorrow , from high-speed telecommunication lines to support new health care technologies to a new ventilation system and a state-of-the art interior design, he said.

Soderblom envisions patient rooms that are big enough to allow visitors to stay overnight and are pre-wired to accommodate technology to provide low to higher levels of care.


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