UW News

November 2, 2006

King County Council approves Harborview Building Project

Harborview Medical Center has received unanimous approval (9-0) from the Metropolitan King County Council for the development and construction of the Ninth and Jefferson Building (NJB), a critical component of the expansion project for the medical center. The council approved a $180 million pubic-private partnership that will complete construction of the building.

The council’s action approves leases and funding agreements for financing, design and construction program outside the voter-approved bond program of 2000. The plan approved this week calls for a 14-story building that will include such services as the King County Medical Examiner, research laboratories, clinical services, as well as retail space and underground parking.

Construction of the building will be directed by developer Wright-Runstad who will manage building contractor Turner Construction. The construction costs will be funded through an innovative lease/lease back financing method. Under this method, the County leases the land to the NJB Properties, a non-profit agency that will issue tax-exempt bonds to finance the building project. NJB then will lease the completed building back to the county, using the county’s lease payments as revenue to pay off the bond debt. When the bond debt is paid off, after approximately 26 years, King County takes ownership of the building from NJB Properties.

 “This wonderful success was due to the remarkable team effort and partnership of Harborview, King County, our Board of Trustees and the UW,”  said Johnese Spisso, chief operating officer. “The redesigned 14-story building will enable Harborview to meet the long-term space needs and continue to serve the community and our teaching, research and clinical care missions.

 “This is a best practice example of how working together with a focused mission has successfully resolved a project shortfall and turned it into an incredible opportunity for the future of Harborview, the UW Medicine faculty and staff who work here, King County and the community we serve.”

 The Puget Sound Business Journal recently named Johnese Spisso one of its 2006 Women of Influence. The annual award program spotlights local businesswomen and acknowledges their increasingly important role in the community. A panel of distinguished judges reviewed hundreds of nominations and came up with the top 20 women leaders. Each winner was described as a woman who possesses the authority and power to “move the needle” in business and industry, while working for the good of her institution, the community, and mentoring other women to become leaders.

Spisso was nominated by David Jaffe, Harborview’s executive director, John Sothern, president of the Harborview board of trustees, and several organizations and community members.