Tukwila working to revitalize sites of troubled motels

TUKWILA, Wash. -- Plans are moving forward to redevelop a stretch of Tukwila International Boulevard. The city is now considering multiple options for just under two acres of land where several troubled motels were demolished last year.

“The city had wanted to revitalize the area and saw it as a place that could become a great community neighborhood,” said Derek Speck, Tukwila Economic Development Administrator.

Tukwila is working on a deal to sell the properties to HealthPoint. The health provider wants to build a new $25 million health and wellness center.

HealthPoint Chief Strategy and Development Officer Lisa Yohalem said the company wants to build a health and medical facility very similar to one in Des Moines, but larger and with more community resources.

“We think that locating a health and wellness center on Tukwila International Blvd. will provide great access for people who both live in the community and work in the community,” said Yohalem.

The Tukwila HealthPoint Health and Wellness Resource Center would include shared space for exercise, nutrition, and language classes.

While negotiations are underway with HealthPoint, the city is also conducting a study to determine if the land could be the site of the new Tukwila Justice Center. It would include a police station and municipal court. The city says the preliminary plans for the justice center require a larger plot of land.

The city acquired the motel properties after they were raided in connection to a drug and prostitution investigation in 2013. The city purchased the properties and then tore down the Great Bear Motel, Spruce Motel, Boulevard Motel, and Sam Smoke Shop. City leaders say they will only recoup a portion of the $6.5 million spent on the properties. Speck says the land is valued at around $1.8 million.

“We have to go back to why did the city do this project and we did it not because we wanted to own land or we wanted to own motels,” Speck said. “We did it to reduce crime and improve safety in the neighborhoods.”