Demolition begins for huge medical complex planned for former March AFB

  • Published
  • By Susan Wolbarst
  • AFRPA / PA
Demolition began July 27 on the first of 40 buildings being cleared for construction of a huge medical complex at the former March Air Force Base. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger attended the demolition ceremony, describing the planned $3.7 billion complex as "the Mayo Clinic of the West."

The proposed 3.5-million-square-foot March LifeCare complex will include a 150-bed community hospital, outpatient services, medical offices, a senior care facility, retail, and a hotel on 144 acres.

It could take about two and a half years to plan and design the facility and get it approved by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development before construction begins. But, according to The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, "Schwarzenegger said the state is encouraging the March redevelopment by streamlining the lengthy permitting process."

Nearly 13,000 workers will be needed to build the complex, which will generate "an estimated $614,000 in annual sales tax and more than $18.6 million in land sales revenue for the March Joint Powers Authority over the duration of the project," The Press-Enterprise reported. The March JPA includes two elected officials from each of the four jurisdictions with boundaries touching the former March Air Force Base: the County of Riverside and the cities of Moreno Valley, Perris, and Riverside.

More than 7,000 people will work at the complex. Groups partnering to deliver health care at the proposed complex include Catholic Healthcare West, Moreno Valley Physicians Group, and Riverside Medical Clinic.

The former March AFB was closed in 1993 and realigned in 1996, leaving 2,074 acres (about a third of the former base) for use by the Air Force Reserve. The Air Force Real Property Agency, responsible for buying, selling and managing Air Force real estate, transferred most of the remainder to the March JPA for redevelopment.