Major investments and developments in health care facilities underway in League City will attract even more and have reverberations throughout the region and county, officials said last week at a gathering of medical and economic development officials.

“Here comes the boom!” said Jeff Sjostrom, president of the Galveston Economic Development Partnership, at an event Wednesday organizers say was the launch to create a “medical innovation ecosystem” in the region.

Population boom

The rapid growth in League City, now with at least 102,010 residents, is driving the expansion of the health care marketplace, officials said.

“This is going to be something that literally changes the game,” Sjostrom said.

Representatives from the League City Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Galveston Economic Development Partnership, Galveston County and League City — all sponsors of the event — said they intended to create a health care and medical innovation ecosystem. What officials are calling an ecosystem others have called a medical district.

The facilities expanding or building in the area are significant.

• The University of Texas Medical Branch plans to expand its League City Campus, 2240 Interstate 45, to 3 million square feet. The master campus plan includes constructing medical office buildings, a comprehensive ambulatory medical center and education, research and office facilities for students, faculty and support staff. The medical branch also will build a central utilities plant, logistics facilities and a parking garage. New construction will occur in three phases over 25 years.

• MD Anderson Cancer Center expects the first patient in June 2018 at its 135,000-square-foot outpatient center underway at the medical branch’s League City campus. The center will cost about $112 million, with $88 million for construction and $24 million for equipment.

• Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center, under construction in Pinnacle Park at 2555 S. I-45, is a 47,000-square-foot facility that will be the health care system’s largest such center when it opens in January.

Number crunching

The University of Texas Medical Branch’s League City campus will expand its research in cancer, working in collaboration with the adjacent MD Anderson professionals, said Dr. David Callendar, medical branch president. Academic researchers also will study heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, he said.

They will collect data and crunch numbers on determining factors in the population’s health, including genetics and environment, Callendar said.

The concentration of hospitals and clinics in proximity to each other in League City will attract more private investments in health care to the area, Sjostrom said.

“We envision working with partners up here in emerging technology,” Sjostrom said. He also expects to see related businesses such as medical tourism to grow.

Bob Mitchell, president of the Bay Area Economic Development Partnership, envisions a technology corridor along I-45 that links the Johnson Space Center to the medical branch in Galveston.

Sjostrom agreed, saying the health care boom in League City will have widespread effects.

“What’s happening in northern Galveston County presents opportunities for economic growth throughout the entire region, including communities across the county and on Galveston Island,” Sjostrom said.

Valerie Wells: 409-683-5246; valerie.wells@galvnews.com


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