A Kaiser Permanente primary care, mental health and wellness facility will replace the former Kmart store in Kent.
Kaiser Permanente purchased the 8 acres at 24800 W. Valley Highway in December for $15 million, according to King County property tax records. Kmart closed in 2018 and the site has remained vacant. Kmart opened the store in 1978.
“This purchase is the beginning of an effort by Kaiser Permanente to transform access to health care for the people of Kent and other communities between Seattle and Tacoma,” said Gretchen Benzin, executive director of facilities for Kaiser Permanente Washington, in an emailed statement. “This centrally located property is ideally situated to serve these communities.”
The project is part of the company’s plan to increase access to health care for people in South King County. With continued population growth projected, this new facility will help meet those needs and provide access to primary care, mental health and wellness, according to the statement.
The development is part of the $1 billion investment Kaiser Permanente announced in 2017 to support new and upgraded facilities in Washington. As a leading health care provider, Kaiser Permanente said it is committed to delivering the future of health care, care equity and accessibility for its more than 700,000 members across the state.
A construction timeline remains to be determined, according to a Kaiser Permanente spokesperson. The size of the facility also hasn’t been determined yet.
Kaiser Permanente has a primary care center on Kent’s East Hill at 26004 104th Ave. SE. The company also has clinics in Federal Way, Burien and Renton.
Bill Ellis, city economic development manager, told the Kent City Council at its Jan. 5 meeting that the new health facility would be a good fit with the nearby Kent Station, accesso ShoWare Center and the Maleng Regional Justice Center. He said it also will tie in well with the city’s Meet Me on Meeker project that will include improved streetscape amenities, wider sidewalks, street trees and vegetated buffers, pedestrian signals, pedestrian lighting and street lighting between the new Ethos Apartments and downtown.
The Goodwill Outlet store, which sits south of the former Kmart, will remain, Ellis said.
Oakland, California-based Kaiser Permanente was founded in 1945, according to its website. The company includes Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and its subsidiaries The Permanente Medical Groups, which is in Washington.
It has more than 12 million members, 39 hospitals, 719 medical offices, 23,000 doctors, 63,000 nurses and 217,000 employees across nine states.
In 2017, Kaiser Permanente acquired Group Health Cooperative and its subsidiaries, which have been caring for members in Washington since 1947. Kaiser Permanente Washington serves more than 710,170 members and supports the health of communities in Northwest Washington, Central Washington, Eastern Washington, the Coastal and Olympic region and Puget Sound. It has 37 medical offices across the state.