Scottsdale Healthcare is planning to create an urban downtown campus over the next 20 years with new high-rise hospital towers, mid-rise medical office buildings and parking garages.
The company's long-term plans for its campus, roughly from Scottsdale Road east to Drinkwater Boulevard, and Second Street south to Osborn Road, were revealed in a preliminary rezoning application filed with the city last week.
Scottsdale Healthcare will be asking for special campus district zoning on the 45-acre site to allow for expansions of the main hospital building, new medical office buildings, new hospital towers including one as high as 120 feet, and more parking.
Over the next three years the company hopes to build a 60-foot neurosciences office building at the southeast corner of Scottsdale Road and Second Street, a new surface parking lot on the site of the current downtown Scottsdale post office, a new parking garage and 75-foot east hospital tower, according to preliminary plans filed with the city.
The 120-foot, or eight-story, west hospital tower, described as high-density by the plan, is slated to be built sometime after 2020. Today, the tallest building on the campus is the hospital itself at 75 feet.
"Hospitals have unique operating characteristics and it makes much more sense to move patients vertically rather than horizontally," said Michelle Pabis, Scottsdale Healthcare's government relations director.
Pabis said there has been community support for taller buildings on the medical campus.
"Most people realize a hospital is really unique in this height and density debate," Pabis said.
The first planned new building is the neurosciences offices on the site currently occupied by Scottsdale Auto Supply, which previously was entangled in a land dispute with the city and Scottsdale Healthcare.
Jack Long, owner of the auto parts store, said he now pays rent to land owner Scottsdale Healthcare, and hopes to continue to run the 54-year-old business at the site until the hospital gives notice that it's ready to start construction.
This fall, Scottsdale Healthcare is expected to take over the post office site once the postal facility moves to its new location northwest of Scottsdale and McDowell roads. While initial plans are to create a surface parking lot, a building expansion is planned for the site sometime after 2020.
Pabis said Scottsdale Healthcare would like to start its first new projects in 2009. The cost of the long-range plan was not released.
In addition to the expansions and new buildings, Scottsdale Healthcare plans to eliminate one vehicular entry point into the campus.
"We want more of the traffic to be on the outside of the campus and make the interior more pedestrian-friendly," Pabis said.
The pre-application submittal to the city July 22 was made the day after the city unveiled a draft version of the new Downtown Plan, which, once approved, will guide future development downtown for the next two decades.
The draft plan encourages the development of a medical urban neighborhood that will support and enhance the existing downtown medical campus, including "vertical mixed-use development" to serve efficiency needs of the hospital. The first public hearings on the downtown plan are expected this fall.
"We would like the Downtown Plan and our master plan to have synergy and make sure one supports the other," Pabis said.
Scottsdale Healthcare has filed its pre-application for rezoning, but will still be required to make a formal application before the case is presented to the Planning Commission and the City Council.
Erica Bruno, a spokeswoman for the city's Planning Department, said the first meeting between Scottsdale Healthcare officials and city planners is set for next week. No public hearings have been set, she said.
Scottsdale Healthcare operates three hospitals. In addition to the main Osborn campus, it operates Scottsdale Healthcare Shea and Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak.