Spokane Journal of Business

South Hill med plaza proposed

Four- to five-story building would house ambulatory surgery, imaging centers

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Two health-care providers here are proposing construction of a four- to five-story medical building near Deaconess Medical Center, on Spokanes lower South Hill.

Janice Marich, a spokeswoman for Spokanes Empire Health Services, which operates Deaconess, says that Empire and HealthSouth Corp., which is based in Birmingham, Ala. but has operations here, have started design work on the project and have selected a developer, Houston-based Medistar Corp., which would own the building.

Steve Schaefer, HealthSouths Eastern Washington area manager, says that work on the building, tentatively called the Spokane Integrated Medical Plaza, is expected to start either late this year or early next year. The project is scheduled to be completed in late 2002.

Marich says the medical plaza is planned for a city block that Empire Health owns directly south of Lewis & Clark High School and southeast of Deaconess. The block is bordered by Fifth Avenue to the north, Howard Street to the east, Sixth Avenue to the south, and Wall Street to the west.

As currently envisioned, the medical plaza would include 80,000 square feet to 100,000 square feet of floor space, Schaefer says. A multilevel parking garage also would be constructed on the site, he says.

Both Marich and Schaefer decline to disclose a cost estimate, but similar Spokane-area projects have cost millions of dollars to develop.

Integrus Architecture PS, of Spokane, is designing the medical plaza.

Medistar would lease or buy the land from Empire Health, Marich says.

A small office structure called the DuPont Building and a large parking lot currently are located on the site. The DuPont Building, which houses a few Empire Health operations, will be demolished for the project, and those operations, which include the Inland Northwest Genetics Clinic, among others, will be relocated, Marich says.

The medical plaza will house a new ambulatory surgery center and a new diagnostic imaging center that Empire Health and HealthSouth will operate jointly, Schaefer says.

HealthSouth also plans to move one of several physical therapy offices that it operates in the Spokane area into the building and open it there as a sports medicine and rehabilitation center, Schaefer says. No other tenants have been secured yet, he says.

Schaefer says HealthSouth and Empire Health plan to set up separate limited-liability companies to operate the surgery center and the imaging center.

Empire Health and HealthSouth also have partnered in recent years to operate the Valley Outpatient Surgery Center, which is near Empires Valley Hospital & Medical Center, at 12606 E. Mission. HealthSouth operates a diagnostic-imaging center in the Valley Womens Health Center, at 1415 N. Houk.

Linn  Parish
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Editor Linn Parish has worked for newspapers and magazines since 1996, with the bulk of that time being at the Journal. A Montana boy who has called Spokane home for some time now, Linn likes Northwest trails, Deep South foods, and lead changes in the ninth inning.

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