Holding a martini glass and surrounded by cleavage-baring showgirls, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman called the Cleveland Clinic‘s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health “the most important building in the history of Southern Nevada” during his final state-of-the-city address.
Let’s hope Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson got a few ideas for his next public speech.
The Clinic’s presence will bring Vegas worldwide acclaim as a leader in brain research and help diversify its economy by pulling in more medical tourism dollars, Goodman said, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
The $100-million brain center, which began treating patients in July 2009, “is dedicated to the conquest of Alzheimer, Huntington, Parkinson, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and all forms of memory disorders,” according to its website.
In July, the Clinic will bring in more physicians to conduct research into Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, according to Goodman. Las Vegas has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Clinic in talking about expanding onto three more parcels of land near the center, the Sun reported. The center was constructed on a former contaminated brownfield that was once used as a rail yard.
The Ruvo center certainly has a distinctive look — the Plain Dealer’s architecture critic called it “an explosion of stainless steel” — thanks to the design by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. Goodman recounted a poignant moment with Gehry when the architect first saw the building’s finished auditorium.
“He looked up, he looked around and saw what he had created — basically a cathedral in the middle of the desert,” Goodman said. “And tears came to his eyes, he was so impressed.”
Las Vegas businessman and philanthropist Larry Ruvo began planning the center after his father, Lou Ruvo, died in 1994, a victim of Alzheimer’s disease. Larry Ruvo wanted to create a cognitive disease center where compassionate care would go hand-in-hand with cutting-edge treatments, and sophisticated research would be combined with education for caregivers.
Markets outside of Ohio are becoming increasingly important to the Clinic as it looks to diversify its revenue base.