New medical school planned for Central Phoenix provides real estate investors and developers with an abundance of  income-generating opportunities to meet campus rental housing demands

Central Phoenix will be home to a new medical school campus in spring, 2021.  At a press conference in Phoenix Sept. 18, officials from Omaha, Nebraska-based Creighton University, a private Catholic institution, announced plans to build a $100 million health sciences campus on what is currently a Central Avenue parking lot in midtown.

The new university means new residential real estate opportunities for investors and developers as demand to accommodate an influx of students, faculty, employees and operational workers in an area where demand for rental housing already outweighs inventory.   

New medical university planned for Central Phoenix

A rendering of Creighton University’s planned $100 million medical school in midtown Phoenix.
Photo: Courtesy of City of Phoenix

According to A. Mark Fendrick, director of the University of Michigan Center for Value-Based Insurance Design, the region’s fast-paced population growth and booming economy, which influenced the Mayo Clinic’s decision to build a campus in Scottsdale back in 1987  prompted Creighton University’s decision to expand its health sciences program 1,300 miles southwest of Omaha.

“It’s where the money is,” Fendrick says.

Creighton’s Phoenix campus will provide students in its health sciences programs with more training opportunities, and the university will have a huge population pool from which to recruit students. In 2017, the Phoenix metropolitan area’s population was 4.74 million, according to Census Bureau estimates—the 11th-largest in the nation, eclipsing Omaha’s metro area population, ranked 59th last year with 933,316 people.

Creighton’s health sciences programs have already taken root here. Nine years ago, Creighton established a branch campus at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center on W. Thomas Road in Phoenix for its third- and fourth-year medical students; about 100 Creighton students are currently enrolled at the campus. In January 2018, Creighton launched an accelerated bachelor of nursing program in Phoenix.

According to University officials, the first phase of the project includes construction of a building that will house nearly 800 Creighton health sciences students. The curriculum will include a four-year medical program, a nursing school, occupational and physical therapy schools, and physician assistant and emergency medical programs.

Construction will begin in spring, 2019 on what is currently a parking lot along Phoenix’s Park Central property and is expected to be completed in spring 2021.

In a written statement, Creighton University President Rev. Daniel Hendrickson said “Creighton University has strong connections to the Arizona medical community, and we look forward to expanding our impact by educating many more exceptionally qualified health care professionals to serve the community.

According to Creighton officials, the university’s nursing program in Phoenix will move into a temporary location at Park Central in January 2019 The Creighton School of Medicine will continue operating its third- and fourth-year programs in space next to Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center until the new campus opens.

According to Creighton spokesman Jim Berschedt, four-year medical student enrollment at the Phoenix campus will eventually reach 400.

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New Creighton medical university campus planned for Central Phoenix