Swedish Health begins $1.3B expansion

Seattle-based Swedish Health Services is kicking off a $1.3 billion-plus North Tower project on its First Hill Campus, Puget Sound Business Journal reported Nov. 29.

The 750,000-square-foot medical tower will have a new acute care facility, an additional outpatient and imaging services building, and office space. The 12-story tower will also feature 24 advanced operating suites and an emergency department with 31 rooms, eight dedicated to behavioral healthcare. While North Tower will open with an initial 72 beds, 108 more will be added.

Plans for an additional 900,000-square-foot second tower are also in the works. The project, which began planning in 2015, will more than double the campus size, from 1.5 million to 3.15 million square feet.

"This project is essential for us," Elizabeth Wako, MD, president and CEO of Swedish Health, told the publication. "We need it to be able to continue operations to continue to provide service to our community. It is very much a replacement of some very aged facilities."

While an amount was not disclosed, the board of trustees of Providence, which affiliated with Swedish around 10 years ago, approved the North Tower funding strategy Sept. 27 and secured a construction loan, which Swedish will pay down over time with the help of philanthropic support. Swedish currently employs 13,500 people systemwide and more than 4,100 people on First Hill. 

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