Kaiser Permanente said Dec. 1 that it will build a 350-bed acute-care hospital on a 19-acre property at 5201 Ruffin Road in Kearny Mesa.

The not-for-profit health plan organization was also considering Alliant International University’s 60-acre campus on Pomerado Road in Scripps Ranch, but after an “exhaustive due diligence process” on both properties, decided that the Kearny Mesa site would allow for a faster construction timeline and lower overall project cost.

“As we considered all of the things that needed to happen before opening the doors to the community, it was clear that we would be able to move faster at the Kearny Mesa location,” said Kaiser spokesman Rodger Dougherty.

The Kearny Mesa site, located just south of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, is now home to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters and other county offices. The Registrar of Voters office will likely move to a spot in one of the county administration buildings on nearby Overland Avenue by the end of 2013, said Gabriella Pugh, supervising office assistant.

Dougherty said Kaiser liked the site because it’s just minutes from Interstate 15, providing easy access for patients. The Scripps Ranch site, on the other hand, presented more difficult zoning issues and “some challenges with topography,” which could have added to the construction timeline, Dougherty said.

Kaiser will immediately begin working with the City of San Diego on the entitlement process for the Kearny Mesa property, with the goal of opening the new hospital in 2018. Dougherty declined to provide a total project cost and said that a contractor has not yet been selected.

— Kelly Quigley