Written by Jose Mora
The Sierra Gateway Commerce District. You aren’t alone if this is the first time you’ve heard of the District or have trouble locating it on a map. The Sierra Gateway Commerce District is a newly minted designated area in Northeast Clovis that the city has planned as a destination for medical and knowledge creation based businesses.
The District in Northeast Clovis is bound by properties near Highway 168 and Temperance Avenues. It has about 250 acres ready for development with an additional 500-acre expansion in the works. The District includes the existing Clovis Research and Technology Park (R&T Park) and area around Clovis Community Medical Center, which has ample land to accommodate additional health care, professional services, and supporting industries such as retail and hospitality.
With health care being a major component of the vision for the project, the District has already become a hub for the region’s burgeoning health care industry. Community Medical Centers, the region’s largest health care provider and private employer, has located their corporate offices on the Clovis Community Medical Center campus, which itself has undergone major expansions over the last few years with more to come. A first-of-its-kind for the San Joaquin Valley, a 100,000-square foot Cancer Center is under construction at Clovis Community. The $65 million Cancer Center, scheduled to open in the summer of 2018, will allow Valley residents to receive treatment that is only available at facilities like UCLA or Stanford medical centers. Additionally, Clovis Community has plans to add to their 208 licensed beds through the construction of an additional bed tower. Adjacent to Clovis Community, Valley Children’s Healthcare has begun construction on a new pediatric outpatient specialty care center set to open in the spring of 2018.
California Health Sciences University’s (CHSU) selection of the R&T Park for their permanent 70-acre post-graduate medical school campus reinforces the health care industry as a major catalyst for the District. The campus will attract over 2,000 students and 300 highly educated staff to the area. The University will be able to take advantage of the walking distance proximity to Clovis Community Medical Center, great neighborhoods, a nationally recognized school district, and the robust trail system to attract students and faculty. Founded in 2012, CHSU welcomed its first class in the College of Pharmacy in August 2014 at their interim campus on Clovis Avenue, just south of Herndon Avenue. CHSU will be celebrating a major milestone in May 2018 when the inaugural class is set to graduate.
A wide variety of professional and research and development firms located at the R&T Park are attracting a sizeable workforce from the knowledge creation sector. One of these firms is APPL Labs (short for Agriculture & Priority Pollutants Laboratories), a 34-year old environmental testing laboratory that located at the R&T Park in 2009. Understanding the importance that real world hands-on experience plays in developing a job-ready workforce, AAPL Labs has built a strong partnership with Fresno State to provide on-site education and training. Available to students pursuing a degree in chemistry or related science, AAPL Labs has dedicated a portion of their facility as an interactive classroom that provides professors and students access to laboratory staff and equipment.
The District is well connected to the region with Highway 168 and, as the name implies, is the gateway to the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains nearby. The City of Clovis and Fresno County Economic Development Corporation are ready to do our part in turning the Sierra Gateway Commerce District into a world class healthcare and technology hub by having helpful staff ready to assist interested businesses!