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Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson
 Issue 178 - Jan 15th, 2019
Growth. It’s something we expect the UNLV School of Medicine to have plenty of in the coming years. Yes, when we look at the future, we not only see an increase in the number of talented physicians we turn out, but also an increase in the number of clinics and centers that our clinical arm, UNLV Medicine, has in Southern Nevada. It is critical to the health of our community that our research-based brand of academic medicine be readily available to the people of the Las Vegas Valley. It should come as a surprise to no one that one man we’ll turn to for advice in how best to expand is Mark Fine, one of Southern Nevada’s preeminent real estate developers, the man who took the lead in creating the wonderful master planned communities of Green Valley and Summerlin. Today, I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about Mark, who’s already played a huge role in guiding the growth of UNLV as chairman of the UNLV Foundation and chairman of the UNLV Research Foundation Board of Directors.
Barbara signature, first name only
Developer Mark Fine: UNLV School of Medicine Adds Value to Las Vegas
Mark Fine, a resident of Summerlin, is a preeminent American developer
The more you talk with real estate developer Mark Fine -- it is not hyperbole to say he changed the face of the Las Vegas Valley forever with the development of the master planned communities of Green Valley and Summerlin -- the more you hear the term “value-added.”

Parks, churches, dance studios, restaurants, boutiques, coffee shops, schools, public art, libraries -- they are, Fine says, the kind of value added features to housing developments which provide the sense of community people enjoy for family life.

“I was always talking to people who bought homes, to our sales people, about what people want,” Fine said recently. “You want to create more opportunities that might be feasible in the building of a community, which enhance the area -- the value-added that goes beyond the basic standard, which provides the something more.”

As Fine created the master planned communities that largely changed the expectations of what people could have in areas where they lived in Las Vegas, he never forgot the role of education at either the K-12 or university level in adding value to Southern Nevada. He worked to develop partnerships between the Clark County School District and business, got involved with UNLV.

A major university, one where highly developed research adds value not only to the Las Vegas Valley but to the entire country, was something he wanted to play a role in developing.
"The more brain power we have in the community, the more the community thrives...More doctors are going to live here, move here."
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with every UNLV President since the mid-1970s, each one taking the school to another level,” he says. “I was around when it was transitioning from a kind of community college to a university...when it was more about athletics than academics... It’s astounding how UNLV has grown since that time, becoming one of the nation’s top public research universities.” (In December UNLV was elevated to R1 ”very high research activity” status by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.)

The opening of the UNLV School of Medicine, Fine says, is an example of value added to UNLV. He says producing physicians centering on research driven medicine is something that a great university does. “It is major value added,” he says. “The more brain power we have in the community, the more the community thrives...More doctors are going to live here, move here.”

In addition to donating scholarship money to the medical school, Fine has provided feedback to Dr. Atkinson on school design and planning. The practices of several UNLV physicians are now headquartered in a building Fine designed at 1707 West Charleston Blvd.

“Dr. Atkinson has the medical school going in the right direction,” Fine says.

Now in his 70s, Fine was only 27 when his former father-in-law, Hank Greenspun, the owner of the Las Vegas Sun, tapped him to develop thousands of acres of land he had purchased south of McCarran Airport in Henderson.

Born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a stylish suburb of Cleveland, he graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in real estate administration. He moved to New York City, working on Wall Street in real estate finance, prior to moving to Las Vegas in 1973 to work with Hank Greenspun on Green Valley.

He went around the country to see what the few master planned communities offered. He also remembered the sense of community Shaker Heights had offered with its parks, libraries and public arts.

Southern Nevadans, he says, were largely unaware of what a master planned community could be. Making the project even more difficult, he says, was the fact that back then, Henderson “didn’t have much of a reputation for was a tough, slow process...but we listened to people and by the 80s, it really got moving, was the fastest growing master planned community in the country. Henderson became a place people wanted to live.”

In 1990, after seeing Fine’s success with Green Valley, the Howard Hughes Corporation hired him to develop Summerlin. “We’d already shown the value of a master planned community and there was demand for it on the west side.”

By 1994 Green Valley and Summerlin were the two fastest growing master planned communities in the country.

The success of those communities led to him serving as a development advisor to the master planned communities of Queensridge North and South, Mountain’s Edge and Inspirada. With his son Jeffrey, Fine stared Fine Properties in 2005, developing projects that include the 400,000 square foot Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Headquarters.

While he has thoroughly enjoyed developing approximately 2 million square feet of commercial and retail projects over his career -- the Nevada Business Journal named Fine one of Nevada’s Top 50 Leaders -- he frequently brings up his relationship with UNLV without prompting.

“The future of UNLV is great,” says Fine, who has traveled to Carson City to meet with legislators on the university’s behalf. “The UNLV School of Medicine has added much more value to a university we can all be proud of.” 
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Among the more than 72,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2017, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids) with nearly 30,000 overdose deaths.  

All previous issues of  Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson , are available on our website.
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