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VANCOUVER, WA-Legacy Health System has acquired 24 acres in the Salmon Creek area for a new $170-million hospital. WA-Legacy Health System exercised a 45-day-old option for the 24-acre property, paying $9.7 million or $9.27 per sf to owner Alexandria Investments of Bellevue, WA.

Legacy optioned the property, near the intersection of Northeast 20th Avenue and 139th Street, in early November, shortly after Costco Wholesale Corp.’s option for the property ran out. Kirkland, WA-based Costco wanted to build one of its warehouse stores on the site, but in September saw its application to build a 148,000-sf store denied because of the traffic problems it would create.

A building moratorium was imposed by the city shortly thereafter that could last a year. Legacy, however, likes the property much better than a 13-acre property it secured for the project last summer, and is more than willing to wait. “Its size gives us far more flexibility and still coincides with our schedule,” a source with the company tells GlobeSt.com, “which is to break ground in late 2003 and end up with a hospital by 2005.”

Legacy’s status as a major family-wage employer may encourage city officials to find a solution to the traffic problems that meet Legacy’s timeline. Legacy plans to file a preliminary land-use application in January that will generate a response from the city about the traffic improvements will be required to mitigate its contribution to the traffic.

Company vice president Sonja Steves tells GlobeSt.com Legacy wasn’t lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce on the site when Costco’s option ran out. “Until we were approached, we assumed it wasn’t available,” says Steves. “After we made the initial purchase several people started coming to us with other properties and there were a number we got excited about, but we ended up ruling them all out for one reason or another.”Whether Legacy plans to sell or hold the first parcel it purchased for the hospital was not immediately known.

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