A hotel, Dairy Queen, ampm gas station/store and car wash are in the plans for a vacant property on Kent’s West Hill.
The businesses are proposed to be built on 4.8 acres at 23703 Military Road S., just southeast of the Interstate 5 northbound off-ramp to Kent Des Moines Road, aka State Route 516. The property is east of I-5, west of Military Road South and south of Kent Des Moines Road.
The Kent City Council on Nov. 16 unanimously approved a multi-use rezone to general commercial from community commercial to allow a hotel to be built. The city hearing examiner already had approved the rezone. The other businesses were allowed under community commercial.
“It’s a pretty good location,” said Sukhraj Singh of RJSS, LLC, which owns the property, in a Nov. 24 phone interview. “We were looking to the future for the businesses. A lot of I-5 traffic stops there. There’s a need for a hotel and it’s close to the airport.”
Singh, of Federal Way, has submitted plans to the city for phase 1 of the project to include the restaurant, gas station/convenience store and car wash. He hopes to start construction in March or April.
The four-story, 100-unit hotel would be built as part of phase 2. Singh said he has talked with a couple of hotel developers and that it would be a franchise hotel, which allows a local owner to use the parent company’s name.
“It’s right by the off-ramp and corner of 516 and Military,” Singh said. “It’s a pretty good location and the train (light rail) station is coming across the freeway.”
Sound Transit plans to open the Kent Des Moines Station in 2024 at Pacific Highway South just south of Kent Des Moines Road when light rail extends from SeaTac to Federal Way.
City planner Sam Alcorn said RJSS has civil and building permits submitted for the Dairy Queen Grill & Chill, ampm gas station/store and car wash to be built on the eastern portion of the property near Military Road South. The permits are still in review.
Singh said he plans to submit permits for the hotel now that the council approved the zoning change.
Kent has two other Dairy Queen restaurants, both on the East Hill. Kent has several ampm stores.
The property is appraised at $1.1 million, according to King County property records. Singh bought the property for $800,000 on a foreclosure sale in 2017. The property sold for $1.1 million in 2006, according to county records.
The Century Motel, 23421 Military Road S., built in 1982, sits just north of property. The motel has just 23 rooms. Single-family housing owned by King County Housing Authority sits south of the property, across South 239th Street. Properties to the east across Military Road South are in unincorporated King County and include a pet cemetery, townhouses and single-family residences.
Most of the vacant property is heavily vegetated with trees, shrubs and grass, according to city documents. There are no streams or wetlands on the property.
There has been an increased demand for commercial services since Sound Transit received funding to extend light rail and to build a station on Kent’s West Hill, according to city documents. In 2011, the city council adopted the Midway Subarea Plan to help create jobs, housing and services around high-capacity light rail transit.