Atiyeh said he’s been trying to get the hospital approved for about two years.
He initially wanted to build a personal care/assisted living facility on the property, which he purchased for $1.4 million in 2007.

That use was approved by the city, said Bethlehem zoning officer Suzanne Borzak, but Atiyeh then decided he wanted to build apartments instead.

The zoning hearing board denied Atiyeh a variance to build 102 apartments in four buildings on the vacant property, because apartments are not permitted in that zoning district. He appealed that decision, but lost in court.