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SPOKANE-On the coattails of a rapidly-expanding population, the unofficial capital of Eastern Washington State is experiencing a marked increase in hospital facilities and medical office space. Empire Health Services is set for an $18-million expansion of its Deaconess Health & Education Center at 910 W. Fifth. The six-story building now provides 128,000 sf of medical offices for private and Empire Health physicians.

The project, scheduled to commence in February, will add 88,000 sf in four new floors. Tom Skierka, a spokesman for Deaconess/Empire Health, declined to specify leasing prices for new space as Deaconess is “in the midst of negotiations with several medical groups.” Skierka says even though Spokane’s “medical core” includes eight blocks of office buildings, demand still outweighs availability. The Deaconess project was a response to “increased demand for on-site space for physicians, medical and clinical offices.”

Spokane’s hospital facilities are burgeoning. Empire Health also plans a $20 million expansion for Valley Hospital & Medical Center at 12606 E. Mission. Scheduled for a June start, the project will add 33,000 sf. Sacred Heart Medical Center recently announced its intention to build a children’s hospital, to be housed in an addition to its existing facility. “This area is growing, and people can’t always go somewhere else for health services like heart operations,” says Skierka. “Spokane needs better facilities, and the community has a goal of becoming the regional medical mecca.”

Support services are growing in tandem with the medical industry. Tech Group Inc., a nationwide provider of temporary medical staffing (nurses, technologists, therapists), is moving from 6,500 sf in Paulsen Center to the 16,000-sf Integrus Architecture building it purchased for $540,000 from Bill Colacutico of Post Falls, ID. The building, located at 242 W. Main St., had been vacant for three years. Following a renovation, the company expects to move in next October, and expand into it over the next few years.

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