BETHLEHEM, PA-St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network has signed a development agreement with Charlotte, NC-based Cogdell Spencer Inc. for the opening phase of the Riverside Outpatient Campus. This phase will occupy approximately 55 acres on the 182-acre parcel St. Luke’s acquired for the campus, which is bordered by the Lehigh River, Freemansburg Avenue and Route 33 at the intersection of Interstate 78.

Construction cost for phase one is $100 million. It consists of four buildings with an aggregate of 383,000 sf and includes a 120,000-sf outpatient healthcare pavilion, a 90,000-sf cancer center and two medical office buildings aggregating 173,000 sf. The architect is Gaithersburg, MD-based Wilmot/Sanz Inc.

The outpatient pavilion will include imaging and diagnostic departments, primarily equipped by GE Healthcare to become a showcase site for that company’s state-of-the-art hospital equipment. The two medical office buildings are valued at between $35 million and $40 million, and will be owned in a single investment entity by Cogdell Spencer and physician investors. St. Luke’s will own the other buildings and will be the primary tenant of the combined project.

The state has committed $4 million to the project. “That is primarily for infrastructure development,” says Devereaux Gregg, Cogdell Spencer’s VP of development. “Ground will break for all four buildings simultaneously within a week to 10 days,” he tells Completion is scheduled for the third quarter of 2009.

Cogdell Spencer is a medical facility specialty REIT. It completed projects at Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster earlier this year. Tom Paisley, VP of the St. Luke’s project, is relocating from Lancaster to Bethlehem, while Andy Woolley will head marketing from the company’s Lancaster office.

The remaining acres of the St Luke’s land will be developed over the next three to 10 years, Gregg says. Final plans are not complete, however, in a statement, St. Luke’s says, “it could become one of the largest healthcare campuses in America.” Among considerations for subsequent phases are a hospital and educational and research facilities. St. Luke’s currently operates four hospitals, including one here and in Allentown, and a variety of other healthcare facilities and services.

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