After three years of controversy, Seattle Children's Hospital celebrated a quiet victory yesterday when the deadline for challenging the hospital's expansion, which will allow for 350 additional beds, passed without any suits being filed. Legal challenges to the hospital's Major Institution Master Plan, which was approved by Seattle City Council earlier this month, had to be served to Mayor Mike McGinn's office by 5:00 p.m.
- Left to right: Bob Tobin, attorney for the Seattle City Council, Pete Buck, attorney for Laurelon Terrace, and Clayton Graham, attorney for Children’s Hospital.
Attorneys representing Seattle City Council, Children’s Hospital, and Laurelon Terrace Condominiums—which are being sold to the Hospital for the expansion—were standing by at the mayor's office until the hour of reckoning. After years of a battling the Laurelhurst Community Club, they were prepared for the worst.
But Peter Buck, the attorney for Laurelon Terrace, says that after yesterday's deadline, no more challenges are expected. “We have definitely rounded third and are preparing to slide into home plate." The Hospital's purchase of Laurelon Terrace is expected to close on August 31, 2010. “The $93,000,000 sale ...gives the hospital a perfect site to expand on raw ground," Buck adds, "thus avoiding the almost impossible task of trying to obtain approvals to build on top of an existing, operational hospital.”
At least 10 appellants have argued in favor of the hospital expansion and against it before the city council. In February, a compromise was reached between the Children's Hospital and the LCC that reduced expansion plans by 20 percent and capped building heights at 140 feet if the LLC agreed, in turn, to drop it's litany of appeals.
No word yet on how hospital staff is celebrating this victory.
UPDATE: They are celebrating by working harder. Lisa Brandenburg, Chief Administrative Officer for Children's Hospital, says: "We are eager to begin building the beds we so desperately need to serve our region's children. We have a significant amount of work left to do to meet our goal of having our first new beds ready by 2013. The next milestones will involve the actual detailed design and permitting of the first phase of construction, and we are now able to seek approval from the Department of Health to add the needed beds to our facility."