Community Post

New Development proposed for Swedish/Sabey Campus

The Sabey Corporation and Swedish Medical Center, current owners of the former Providence Hospital Campus, have submitted a request to the City for approval of plans to build a 132,000 square foot medical building with underground parking for 240-357 vehicles on the east side of 18th Avenue between Jefferson and Cherry. This proposal will be reviewed by the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for the institution at a public meeting on Tuesday, November 18th at 5:30 P.M. (The meeting most likely will be held at the Swedish Education Center, on the first floor of the James Tower Building, 18th Avenue and E. Jefferson St, but the exact location has not yet been posted; check CentralDistrictNews for later information.)

Developments on university and hospital campuses (“major institutions”) are governed in Seattle by Major Institution Master Plans (MIMPs). The Land Use Code establishes a system whereby institutional development can be permitted to take place in residential-zoned neighborhoods where the large size, scale, and the uses of institutions would ordinarily not be allowed by the zoning standards. In return, the development is planned through a process with a lot of opportunity for public review by means of the Citizens Advisory Committee.

At Tuesday’s meeting the CAC will be asked to make a recommendation on the request of Swedish that the new project proposed for the east side of 18th Avenue be considered a “minor amendment” of the existing MIMP. The existing MIMP envisions for that location a day care center for use by medical center staff and neighborhood residents, a gym or fitness center for patients, staff, and others, and a small inn primarily for hospital patients’ families. That development was slated to be about 30,000 square feet and require parking for about 30 vehicles — about one fourth the size of the new proposal with less than one tenth the vehicle traffic.

The existing MIMP was adopted by the City Council in 1994 and was arrived at after many adjustments and compromises by the hospital, the community, and the City. Many in the neighborhood believe that the institution agreed to concentrate development in areas other than the 18th Avenue portion of the campus which is immediately adjacent to single-family homes. Rather than large-scale development, smaller- scale buildings such as the day care center, fitness center, and inn would be placed on 18th Avenue.

After the adoption of the 1994 MIMP, Swedish Medical Center acquired the campus from the Sisters of Providence, and following that Swedish sold about half of the campus to the Sabey Corporation. Swedish and Sabey are not interested in the small-scale plans agreed to by Providence in 1994. The position of Swedish and Sabey is that the 1994 MIMP authorized a maximum area of development on the campus and that so long as the total floor area of proposed buildings does not exceed that maximum, it‘s not necessary to participate in a new Master Plan process which would require City Council review.

Tuesday’s public meeting will be an important part of the decision making process. CAC members have repeatedly sought greater attendance and input from community residents at CAC meetings.

11 thoughts on “New Development proposed for Swedish/Sabey Campus

  1. This development will create jobs, increase the tax base and bring a world class hospital to the CD. I say build it even bigger, give them tax incentives and fast track it so they can start sooner!

    • LMAO! Underground parking three stories underground with over 350 stalls will NOT create jobs! It will create a lot of traffic and pollution! Swedish is NOT thinking about creating jobs in this neighborhood. They mentioned last night that they were offering early retirement/severance pay to cut down cost! I was at the meeting 12/13 and they didn’t want to talk about their sneaky dealings with Sabey. Most of the people they hire will be from outside the CD! Even the daycare center, gym, will be mainly for hospital employees and patients! LOL! People in the neighborhood will only be able to use those facilities based on space available at a super high price! I spent 4 nights in that hospital with kidney stones my bill was over 24,000! The food was horrible! Couldn’t get anything organic! I feel better now that I’m getting acupuncture! Their medicine almost gave me a heart attack!

  2. I have attended quite a few of the CAC meetings to learn about this development. I haven’t attended recently, only because I ceased being included on the email distribution list for some reason.

    I strongly encourage our community members to attend the meeting on Tuesday to listen, learn, and voice their opinions/concerns. This new project is a 180 degree turn from the original plans and would have great impact on the Central District.

    19th Ave is already quite a cut through for hospital folks. We are continually all parked up with visitors/employees and the 2 hour time limit does little to help. Adding hundreds more office spaces and 350 parking spots will compound the problem – not help it.

    I don’t know all that Sabey is up to, but they have now not only purchased one, but two houses on my street. (Swedish is barred from doing this.) This continued encroachment only confirms that Sabey is not a corporation that the people of the Central District can develop a trusting partnership with.

    I implore the people of the Central District and the City Council to conclude that this is a MAJOR Amendment and require Sabey/Swedish to go through due process and create a new MIMP. Asking for one revision at a time, but absolutely changing the integrity of the original MIMP with the compounding alterations is not an acceptable business practice!

  3. The majority of homes on the street that are most threatened by this development are high-density, and low-income. Indeed the 2nd house that Sabey, under the guise of 17TH & JAMES LLC, just purchased in September was built in 1991 as a part of the CENTRAL AREA PUBLIC DEVELOPMENT project. The King County Recorder’s Office website lists almsot 40 publically filed documents for 17TH & JAMES LLC and of these, 8 are for Land Deeds around 18th Ave moving East.

    Why move East? Properties to the West are already zoned for commercial use and in fact, Swedish/Sabey just finished construction of a new parking garage. If parking and office space are so important to this hospital, why can’t they build up instead of outwards in the opposite direction of all other medical institutions and properly zoned properties? Why not focus on the commercial properties already there? Is buying up low-income property from families that were already trying to make ends meet before the recession hit in any way helping our neighborhood? Whatever their words, the actions of Swedish/Sabey are clearly stating that they DON’T care about being good neighbors! This is just another horrific attempt to build a bigger footprint at the expense of the working families nearest them.

    This hospital has the unfortunate distinction of having the most schools and non-profit organizations within a 1/2 mile radius of it than any other hospital in the city or as far as I can tell, the state. If Swedish/Sabey REALLY cares about this neighborhood and this city, they’ll follow the MIMP they agreed to when they purchased Providence or implement a new Master Plan Process. If they REALLY care, they will sell the properties that they have already purchased on 19th back to other low-income families and give any proceeds to the local Boys and Girls club, Garfield High School, the Cherry Stree Community Center or any other youth oriented non-profits within a 1/2 mile of their doors.

    In addition to attending this meeting, folks should also email their thoughts on this issue to the head of Sabey and the Seattle city council.

    [email protected] or call (206) 281-8700

    Sally Clark chairs the ‘Planning, Land Use & Neighborhood Committee’. Her email and phone number is: [email protected] (206) 684-8802

    Richard McIver is chair of the ‘Housing and Economic Development Committee’. His email and phone number is: [email protected] (206) 684-8800

  4. under the guise of 17TH & JAMES LLC??…… Very typical that a separate LLC is created so that a crack-head who wanders inside and falls down and breaks his neck does not have the ability to bring down the whole company with a frivolous lawsuit, as we know the hyper-liberals of the CD would be falling all over themselves to make this happen…. Since personal responsibility has been uprooted, this is the only way someone with something to lose can protect themselves… Thank the deeply democratic Trial Lawyers Lobby, as they play on your fears and cash in on both sides of the deal.

  5. My first thought upon reading the post above was whether the author actually lives in the neighborhood or is simply engaging in the age old tactic of trying to distract community members from the real issues. Crackheads who file law suits? Come on. You know full well that the issue is Sabey’s disingenious tactics. If they would come to the table in an honest and transparent way, and attempt to act like a good neighbor, perhaps we could get somewhere. There is nothing hyper-liberal about that.

  6. Steve Sheppard just confirmed that the location of tonight’s Swedish/Sabey CAC meeting is the Swedish Education Center, first floor of James Tower. Usually it’s possible to enter that building and get to the room most directly from the 18th Avenue doors about mid-block between Cherry and Jefferson.

    Meeting starts at 5:30.

  7. Although much divided, CAC advised that the 18th Ave proposed structure be viewed as a Major Amendment. Now their “recommendation” goes to the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and then to the City Council.

    Let your views on the matter be heard!

  8. Hospitals are exempt from taxes that businesses pay and they already get federal grant monies. So as Swedish/Sabey expands, our tax base shrinks. Guess who picks up the tab for the grants and pays to off-set the shrinking tax base?!

    Job creation has been limited. For construction, Sabey uses the same firms over and over. Many are not from Seattle and do not employ people living in Seattle. As to the employment opportunities to the folks that will be leasing the new buildings, keep in mind that about 40% of the new construction is vacant. So, the jobs have yet to materialize for the currently completed new construction. All the construction will be for medical and medical/scientific businesses and entities. So unless you are in the medical field or are a researcher, the new jobs will be few and limited to mostly PhDs and MDs.

    As far as world class goes. This hospital has hit the front pages of newspapers due to a number of ugly malpractice suits. Still, if you look at the purpose of the new construction and expansion, Swedish/Sabey has made it clear they are trying to tap into the wealthy Asian market (wealthy folks flying from Asian countries seeking extraordinary and expensive medical procedures not currently performed in their home countries). What does this mean for us here in the CD, more expensive medical care that we can’t afford because a land developer (Sabey) must make its profit.

  9. what is up with the crusade? the last blog i saw was five months ago!!!!!! I am totally for shutting down 17 and james llc.