Kaiser Permanente formally announced its intention to purchase 18 acres of land at the Downtown Railyard site, and to become the anchor tenant for the development.
“Today the future is within reach,” said Congressmember Doris Matsui, who, like other area officials, has waited 20 years for the development to take flight.
Toxic clean-up, recessions and ownership changes have delayed the project.
Local developer Larry Kelley and Mayor Kevin Johnson proclaimed the site as a new innovation center with Kaiser as its foundation.
Kelley said previous plans to start with retail development didn’t pan out. He’s banking on high paying medical and research jobs instead.
“When you have the jobs, you’ll get the housing. When you get the housing you’ll get entertainment and the restaurants. I think the difference is we’re not relying on retail,” said Kelley.
Kaiser officials say the facility will replace the aging Morse Avenue hospital and said the location was chosen because it is more centrally located.