December 10, 2008 in Business

WSU deal will create medical facility

By The Spokesman-Review

A partnership that includes Washington State University could break ground next year on a Riverpoint Medical and Health Sciences Institute that would take advantage of the growth in health-related research and teaching at the university’s Spokane campus, project participants say.

WSU would lease 3.6 acres of land to Denver-based NexCore Group LP, which would construct a 60,000-square-foot building, or larger, depending on tenant interest. Arthritis Northwest would be the lead tenant responsible for recruiting doctors, therapists and other practitioners to the venture.

Arthritis Northwest Administrator Karen Ferguson said the group’s six doctors, three nurse practitioners and staff of 42 would occupy as much as 20,000 square feet of a Musculoskeletal Center of Excellence. The center would be the first phase of a potentially multi- stage medical development across Spokane Falls Boulevard from the campus shared by WSU and Eastern Washington University.

A commitment from another like-size group or several smaller groups should be enough to get construction under way, Ferguson said.

She said efforts to recruit tenants will begin in January.

Arthritis Northwest, Ferguson said, has become a clearinghouse for patients who need referrals to orthopedists, neurologists, dermatologists, physical therapists and others.

“We want the patients to be able to see all those physicians under one roof,” she said.

Ferguson said the proximity to WSU’s School of Nursing, which would be directly across the street, and Health Sciences Building would create an environment where students and medical professionals could exchange information on the newest developments in health care.

“We’re really excited to be able to collaborate with WSU,” she said.

Although the lease includes the Jensen-Byrd Building, Ferguson said there are no immediate plans for its redevelopment.

Downtown Spokane Partnership President Marty Dickinson said the development will help connect the campus to downtown. Another 8,500 patients will use the Riverpoint institute’s services, she said.

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