San Diego Business Journal

Kaiser Considering Second Site for New Hospital

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

County officials on Oct. 25 will consider a development-rights change affecting a Kearny Mesa county operations property that Kaiser Permanente is studying as a possible site for a new, 350-bed hospital.

The County Board of Supervisors is reviewing a proposal that would transfer development rights on the 19.5-acre County Operations Center Annex property on Ruffin Road, from Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group to Kaiser Permanente.

Kaiser spokesman Rodger Dougherty said the site is one of two that the health care provider is considering to build a facility that would replace an older, 392-bed hospital in Grantville by 2030, due to enhanced earthquake preparedness requirements.

In August, Kaiser announced that it had tentatively agreed to buy Alliant International University’s 60-acre campus in Scripps Ranch, for an undisclosed price. Alliant would then relocate within the county.

“These properties are on parallel due-diligence tracks,” Dougherty said, adding the company has not finalized its decision on the location of the new hospital.

Under the existing arrangement on the Ruffin Road property, Los Angeles-based Lowe Enterprises has the rights to develop the parcel as part of a $460 million public/private agreement reached with the county in 2008 to develop the main County Operations Center on nearby Overland Avenue.

Original plans called for Lowe to purchase the Ruffin Road land after county employees are transferred to the new main center, and Lowe would then develop a mixed-use commercial and residential project on the site. County and Lowe officials have since re-thought the arrangement amid uncertainties in the real estate market.

— Lou Hirsh