By Chris Rauber
San Francisco Business Times – June 3, 2015

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, long an independent pediatric hospital but now part of UCSF’s growing medical empire, won the Oakland City Council’s final approval for major rebuild plans totaling $500 million last night.

The unanimous City Council vote approved certification of the hospital’s 10-year master plan, according to hospital officials.

The first phase of the project will cost an estimated $180 million, said Doug Nelson, executive director of facilities development for the hospital. It will include adding a new six-story outpatient center at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and 52nd Street, and a new entry to the existing parking structure, as well as “gutting and remodeling” a number of areas of the existing hospital, including the neonatal and pediatric ICUs plus surgery, recovery and support areas.

“We’re excited to get started,” he said.

Oakland’s City Council officially certified approval of the hospital’s EIR at an action-packed June 2 meeting. That’s the project’s final regulatory go-ahead, Nelson said, except for city permits.

Permits have been applied for, but not yet received, he said.

An earlier City Council vote took place May 19, but required a second vote two weeks later.

Bert Lubin, M.D., the hospital’s longtime CEO, who helped orchestrate the UCSF affiliation expressly because Children’s Oakland couldn’t fund it without outside help, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

The initial phase must be completed by the end of 2019 to meet state seismic safety mandates, Nelson said.

Right after that, in early 2020, plans call to start on Phase 2, a $320 million, five-year phase that centers on building a new inpatient pavilion, after an existing wing of the hospital at the south end of the property is demolished.

The second phase also includes building an additional 334-space parking structure and a new three-story clinical support services building at the corner of Dover and 52nd streets, plus adding 12-14 rooms to its existing 16-room Family House, which provides a place for visiting patients’ families to stay.

The former Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland affiliated with UCSF on Jan. 1, 2014. It has 190 licensed beds, 500 physicians on staff, 2,600 staffers and an annual operating budget of $500 million.