AUSTIN-Seton Healthcare Network has a selected the site for a new children’s hospital to serve the Austin area. The medical care and services provider plans to build the hospital at the northeast corner of Interstate 35 and Parmer Lane, which is surrounded by burgeoning retail developments.

Seton has the parcel, which measures just less than 28 acres, under contract, a hospital contact says. Barshop & Oles, the retail developer with operations in San Antonio and Austin, owns the property. An associated 100,000-sf office building is expected to be developed by another company, which was not identified.

Seton cites the same criteria that is drawing retailers like Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and H-E-B to the intersection. Access to the site is convenient, it’s on public transportation routes and it’s within the City of Austin. It also is large enough to accommodate expansion.

Seton, which operate hospitals, clinics and specialty medical facilities in the Austin area, is proposing a 451,000-sf hospital with 164 beds. It would include a 33-bed emergency room department, 12-suite surgery center, recovery, imaging and outpatient facilities.The new facility may not mean the existing Austin Children’s Hospital, which Seton operates, would be closed. Seton has said, however, that the facility is overloaded. The new hospital will be three to four times larger than the existing one.

Seton will monitor demand through construction and adjust the hospital’s size accordingly. The new hospital is expected to open in 2007 and serve children’s health needs through 2015.

Seton has begun a $50-million expansion and renovation of its main hospital in central Austin and other facilities. It’s also working on a $1.5-million expansion to the children hospital emergency room.

Before Seton, retailers had been the order of the day at the I-35-Parmer Lane intersection. A 90,000-sf H-E-B grocery store anchors the 115,000-sf first phase of the Tech Ridge shopping center. Lowe’s and Wal-Mart also have plans for stores at the intersection.

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