Still no St. Luke’s resolution as supervisors consider CPMC hospital project 

click to enlarge Escape? CPMC’s escape clause in a deal to rebuild St. Luke’s has drawn criticism. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • Escape? CPMC’s escape clause in a deal to rebuild St. Luke’s has drawn criticism.

Even as negotiations over the preservation of St. Luke’s Hospital in the Mission threaten to derail a $2.5 billion California Pacific Medical Center construction project, supervisors continue to review other aspects of the controversial deal.

The proposed development would include a new 555-bed acute-care hospital at Cathedral Hill and a seismic rebuild of St. Luke’s, which serves lower-income residents in The City’s southern neighborhoods.

On Monday, a committee of the Board of Supervisors held its fourth hearing in recent weeks on the project. Supervisors and residents raised concerns about traffic impacts on Cathedral Hill, particularly with ambulances joining the already jam-packed Van Ness Avenue corridor. Others spoke in support of the development, which is expected to help cut crime and blight in the area.

“I think we all want to see these hospitals built, but rebuilt the right way,” said Board of Supervisors  President David Chiu.

But conservative new financial projections in recent weeks from the Sutter Health-owned hospital group have prompted Mayor Ed Lee to ask that the deal, which has been in the works for years, be redone. Lee wants the hospital to eliminate an escape clause that would allow it to back out of running St. Luke’s for at least 20 years should its financial condition deteriorate significantly.

“The bottom line is, we’re still negotiating,” mayoral spokesman Francis Tsang said.

Today, the Board of Supervisors will consider the project’s environmental impact report. The Planning Commission approved that document in April, prior to the announcement from the Mayor’s Office that it wanted to renegotiate.

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