Examining healthcare construction in the Valley

Moderator Julie Garcia and panelists Russ Korcuska, Edward Willard, Steve Eiss and Mark Barkenbush. Credit: BEX Companies

By Roland Murphy | AZBEX

Depending on their orientation, attendees of this week’s BEX Leading Market Series panel on Healthcare could have heard pragmatic optimism or optimistic pragmatism.  

Speaking to a standing-room-only crowd at SkySong, the panel was made up of: 

  • Mark Barkenbush, VP at Banner Health, 
  • Steve Eiss, VP of Construction and Real Estate for Northern Arizona Healthcare, 
  • Russ Korcuska, Senior VP of Construction & Special Projects for Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and  
  • Edward Willard, Director of Business Development and Strategic Planning at Dignity Health. 

The group was moderated by Kitchell VP of Preconstruction Julie Garcia. 

The Current Projects

Garcia wasted little time getting the discussion on track and asked the panelists in turn what projects they are working on. Banner’s Barkenbush updated the group on the company’s plans to develop in north Scottsdale. After being outbid in a land auction last November for a site it had planned to acquire at Hayden Road and Loop 101, Banner now intends to exercise its option on another north Scottsdale parcel “probably within the next week.” 

Barkenbush said Banner is putting the necessary entitlement work in place, adding that all the land the company looked at in north Scottsdale required rezoning. “It’s complex,” he said, “The State Land Department’s involved. The City of Scottsdale is involved. It’s a little bit sticky and complicated and somewhat unprecedented given the zoning overlay that’s on that land.” 

Moving on, he said Banner had to pause its planned Verrado Hospitalin Buckeye but is continuing with design and entitlement work for when it is ready to resume. The company had also previously put its tower expansion project at Banner Thunderbird on hold. He added Banner is looking at its priorities and considering a number of options for the Thunderbird campus.  


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March 2023