May 17, 2016

Swedish Hospital’s Expansion Approved by Seattle City Council

On Monday, May 16, 2016, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to approve a 1.4 million square foot expansion of Swedish Medical Center’s Cherry Hill campus. It is the largest expansion of a medical institution in the state and will increase facilities for medical, research and support services, including space for Swedish’s brain and spinal-care programs, which include state-of-the-art treatment and rehabilitation for traumatic spinal injuries. 

The expansion was part of a multi-year city Major Institution Master Plan (MIMP) process that started in 2011 and involved engagement with the surrounding community, a Citizens Advisory Committee, environmental consultants and others, and was previously recommended for approval by the Seattle City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee. Swedish’s previous MIMP was adopted in 1994 and was set to expire in 2009, but was extended by amendment to 2011. 

Swedish is the largest nonprofit health provider in the region and the expansion is necessary to accommodate growth over the next 30 years. The Cherry Hill campus serves approximately 380,000 patients annually and that number is expected to increase by up to 50 percent over the next 30 years with the growth of the Puget Sound region. The expansion will include a gradual increase in the number of beds from 225 to 385, which is already approved under Washington state’s certificate of need. 

Physical Development

The physical development of Swedish Cherry Hill will include the demolition and rebuilding of aging buildings, as well as the construction of new buildings, which will be better suited to accommodate best medical practices and provide Swedish with the flexibility to plan for the future of health care and the needs of the community. Development will be concentrated at the center of the campus and located within the current boundaries of the Cherry Hill campus. Taller buildings will be built along the west end of the campus that boarders Seattle University, with lower buildings along the east end that is adjacent to residential properties. 

Public Benefit

Expansion of the Cherry Hill campus will allow Swedish to continue providing excellent medical care to the Puget Sound region, at a time when demand for medical services is increasing because of a growing and aging population and the Affordable Care Act, which has increased the number of insured patients requiring care. Through the MIMP, Swedish has remained a good community steward and will deliver additional public benefits, including expanded community education programs, community space, charity and subsidized care, and more. 

Transportation Management Plan

As part of the MIMP process, Swedish developed a Transportation Management Plan (TMP) with the goal of decreasing the number of single occupancy vehicles accessing the Swedish Cherry Hill campus through a variety of initiatives. 

The TMP includes:
  • Transit incentives that encourage all employees to seek alternative commuting options, including biking and walking to work, and ride-sharing programs to decrease the number of single-occupancy vehicles on campus;
  • Promotion of transportation incentives to encourage employees to seek alternative commuting options;
  • Parking management programs to reduce spillover parking into the adjacent neighborhoods
  • Increasing intercampus shuttle service between First Hill and Cherry Hill and Swedish’s other facilities at Met Park and West Lake Center
  • New and expanded parking policies and enforcement
By the completion of the build out, Swedish’s goal is to decrease single-occupancy vehicle rates to 32 percent of all trips.  

Foster Pepper attorneys Joe Brogan, chair of the firm’s Land Use, Planning & Zoning practice, and Steve Gillespie represented Swedish Medical Center in the MIMP process. 

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