Press Room

Pacific Hospital Preservation & Development Authority: Bridging gaps in health care access

13

Nov 2013

Lease for Pacific Tower signed with Washington State Department of Commerce

SEATTLE, November 13, 2013 -- Today the Pacific Hospital Preservation & Development Authority (Pacific Hospital PDA) and the Washington State Department of Commerce announced the successful signing of a 30-year lease agreement for more than 205,000 square feet (75 percent) of the Pacific Tower property, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Revenues from the lease will fund the Pacific Hospital PDA mission to improve access to health care services and reduce health disparities. In the past 10 years, the Pacific Hospital PDA has provided more than $10 million in funding for projects and programs to support that mission. They will continue to provide almost $2 million per year in community grants.

The Pacific Tower will serve as a new satellite campus for Seattle Central Community College to house its growing Allied Health programs, which include nursing, respiratory care, surgical technology, opticianry (the only accredited two-year program on the West Coast), dental hygiene and dental assisting (a program at Seattle Vocational Institute, part of Seattle Central). Altogether, the programs currently serve 243 full-time equivalent (FTE) students, and the increased instructional space will enable a two- to three-fold increase in enrollments. Opportunities for distance learning will reach many more students. The new campus will also support the college's plans to offer two new four-year degree programs: a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Allied Health. These programs will serve some of the 1,800 students enrolled in health programs across the Seattle Community Colleges District who would like to continue their education.

According to a report by the Seattle Jobs Initiative, the health services industry has increased its employment at a 10 percent rate since the end of the recession in 2009. Demand is projected to be strong for the foreseeable future with the Affordable Care Act providing access to care for many more of the region's residents. The industry has proven to be a stable source of jobs for the King County labor market.

"Seattle Central welcomes this opportunity to expand our health care training programs in one of the most important sectors in our regional economy," said Seattle Central President Paul T. Killpatrick, Ph.D. "Locating these programs in the Pacific Tower will allow us to educate and prepare more students for health care professions that are in need of skilled workers, which will benefit Seattle and the entire Puget Sound region."

Although Seattle Central will be the primary user, Commerce will also be working with other nonprofit organizations, state agencies and local governments interested in leasing the space.

"This is a perfect use for this iconic building," said Jeff Natter, executive director of the Pacific Hospital PDA. "The revenues from this lease will support expanded grantmaking to improve access and reduce health disparities in our community. In addition, the Beacon Health College and Innovation Center will help meet the need for more skilled health care professionals to increase access, also part of the Pacific Hospital PDA's mission."

"This is a rare opportunity to create jobs, train medical professionals and deliver vital services to benefit a broad community, all within a single project," said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender. "This health care hub concept is a very efficient way to meet a growing need for access to quality health care, and we believe Pacific Tower is unique in the way it combines state, local, non-profit and education resources, while preserving an iconic landmark property in the process."

Pacific Medical Centers, also known as PacMed Clinics, will continue to lease clinic space in the Pacific Tower for their Beacon Hill site. No change is anticipated for PacMed patients.

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