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ISSAQUAH, WA-Swedish Medical Center this week begins the transformation of a 55,225-sf office building here into the state’s first stand-alone emergency room. The Seattle-based nonprofit healthcare organization expects to complete the $18-million project early next year.The building, which is visible from Interstate 90, is known as I-90 Lake Place I, Building B. Owned by a state trust, it is located at 2005 N.W. Sammamish Rd., across from the entrance to Lake Sammamish State Park. Swedish inked a 20-year lease for the building earlier this year. The negotiated lease rate was not immediately available; if signed for the state’s asking rate of $1.50 per sf per month, the lease would cost Swedish an additional $20 million over the 20-year term.The renovation work will include significantly reconfiguring interior walls, upgrading HVAC equipment, adding systems for delivery of medical gases, installing a backup generator and constructing an entrance for emergency vehicles. In addition to the ER, the Swedish complex will include a medical-imaging center, a sleep lab and, on the second floor, a community health education classroom and offices for primary care and specialty physicians.Swedish also is hoping to construct a full-fledged hospital in Issaquah in the next several years. In June, it submitted the necessary Certificate of Need application with the state Department of Health for a $197-million, 175-bed hospital on one of two sites it has tied up. The preferred parcel is a 15-acre lot located in the Issaquah Highlands on the east side of Highland Drive that is owned by Port Blakely. The first alternate is the 30-acre Issaquah Gateway parcel at the northeast corner of SE Newport Way, north of Oakcrest Drive, which is owned by a local family. Also vying for approval for the right to develop a hospital in Issaquah is Bellevue-based Overlake Hospital Medical Center. It has applied to the state for approval of a new 120-bed, $203-million hospital at 6520 226th Pl. SE, which is an existing Overlake medical property off East Sammamish Lake Parkway near Interstate 90. “In their view, they are probably competing,” Karen Nidermayer, a Certificate of Need analyst with the state Department of Health told GlobeSt.com in August. “In our view, it’s a little too early to tell right now whether there is room for two more hospitals in Issaquah.”

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