The Durham City Council approved two items Monday night that will allow a 13-story addition to Duke University Hospital.
The council unanimously approved a special-use permit and a site plan to expand the hospital at 2301 Erwin Road. The plan calls for a 13-story, 504,423 square-foot addition.
The permit was required as Duke seeks to construct a 145-foot building, which exceeds the 120-foot height limit for structures in the University College district.
Kevin Sowers, president of Duke University Hospital, said the addition is needed as the hospital system plans to renovate Duke North, the original hospital on Erwin Road that was built about 40 years ago. Hospital officials are in the early stages of planning and wanted to get the city’s approval before taking the plan to the Duke University Health System Board.
“We are not going to our board until June of next year to seek approval,” Sowers said. Officials haven’t determined what type of patients will stay in the building.
If the plan moves forward, the new tower would have 330 beds and create swing space as Duke renovates the three towers in Duke North, Sowers said. A final decision hasn’t been made about what would be done with the extra space once the renovation is complete.
The system has a total of in 957 beds. From 85 to 95 percent of those beds are occupied Monday through Friday, Sowers said.
“If you know anything about hospitals, anything above 80 percent is a high occupancy rate,” Sowers said.