ISSAQUAH, WA-Swedish Medical Center has won state approval of its application to develop a 175-bed hospital here, where it opened an emergency center in 2005. The state Department Health’s decision comes after two appeals by Swedish to reverse the agency’s original denial of its application.

Swedish’s preferred development parcel, which it has under option, 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 phase of the hospital is expected to be up and running in 2012. All three phases are expected to cover about 10 acres, with the remainder to be used for other uses, possibly medical office space.

Swedish filed its original application with the state in 2004. Overlake Hospital and Medical Center filed a similar application shortly thereafter. The state denied both applications in 2005, saying there was no need for a hospital based on its count of available beds in the region.

Swedish and Overlake both appealed and an administrative law judge upheld the state’s original decision. While Overlake stopped there, Swedish appealed again, arguing that the state should not have included in its count 132 beds from Group Health Eastside Hospital in Redmond because the it was scheduled to be closed on 2008. King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Hilyer agreed and remanded the decision back to the state.

Swedish’s new hospital is slated to rise in three phases. The first phase will include 80 beds, the second phase 40 beds and the third phase 55 beds. Any beds not completed seven years from completion of the first phase will be forfeited. The estimated total development cost was not immediately known. In 2005, Swedish estimated it at $197 million.

Swedish’s emergency center in Issaquah is expected to have 20,000 patient visits in 2007. “I think this clearly shows the demand for additional medical services in East King County,” said Kevin Brown, chief strategic officer for Swedish.

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