Health facility site moves forward

Westgate property to go off market during 120-day negotiation period


A consultant’s findings presented to the Beaverton City Council on Tuesday night advanced the city’s proposal to locate a collaborative community health center on the former Westgate Theatre property at The Round at Beaverton Central.

Erdman Co., a Wisconsin-based real estate developer specializing in health care facilities, shared the results of its $150,000 study on the viability of establishing such a complex on the vacant property, which the council deemed the most viable location for such a complex.

Based on federal, state and Washington County data, Erdman representatives noted a high concentration of households below 185 percent of federal poverty guidelines in the vicinity of the Westgate site. With 13 percent of children living beneath the poverty line, 12 percent of the county’s population is unable to afford a doctor’s visit, the study showed.

It also noted the recent expansion of the city’s medically underserved areas by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration from two to seven. The tracts are centered on the downtown business district near Broadway Street and Southwest Farmington Road in the general vicinity of The Round.

Without taking a vote, the three council members present went along with a recommendation from Lindsey Kuipers, the city’s project coordinator, to pull the Westgate property from the market for 120 days while negotiations take place among the various entities involved with the project. Councilors Ian King and Cate Arnold, who voted against further study of the site in July, were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

The health collaborative would bring agencies including Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, Women’s Healthcare Associates, Providence ElderPlace, Lifeworks NW and Pacific University, under one roof in Central Beaverton.

Erdman officials estimated the cost for construction, land acquisition and contingencies at $33 million, with partner tenants paying $16 to $25 per square foot to lease space in the building.

The city purchased the Westgate property for $4.9 million in 2005 and entered an intergovernmental agreement with Metro, which invested $2 million to become a partial owner of the 3.94-acre site.

Following weeks of negotiations, Kuipers said she hopes to return to the council by early February with an intergovernmental agreement and finalized plans to move forward on the project.

“That’s a pretty aggressive schedule,” Mayor Denny Doyle noted. “I’m glad we’re moving forward. There’s a lot of work to be done.”

Rustin Becker, Erdman’s senior vice president of strategic planning, said the project in the wake of the study appears “feasible, sustainable and represents a strong level of care.

“We remain very committed

to advancing this project,” he added, “and would like to see it move forward.”

Councilor Marc San Soucie called the health collaborative a “significant milestone for the city. There’s the potential for a really strong partnership here,” he said. “We’re not done yet, but it’s looking good, and I’m encouraged by everything that I’ve seen so far.”

For Councilor Betty Bode, the faster the city has a multifaceted facility to accommodate the health needs of its residents, the better.

“I want to give you as much time as you need, but also tell you to hurry up, because we need this,” she said. “The people who need care and the people who are hungry and the people who need mental health assistance, they need it now. So I’m sure they would say to all of us, ‘Yeah, tell ‘em to go ahead. Keep going.’”