A Yakima nonprofit will build a $20 million primary care clinic near Kennewick’s Vista Field after a major obstacle was removed this week.
Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic won clearance to complete a $1.8 million deal for five acres at North Kellogg Street and West Rio Grande Street when the Port of Kennewick agreed to not pre-empt its agreement with the private seller.
Formed in the 1970s, Yakima Valley is the largest community health care provider in the Northwest, operating clinics in Washington and Oregon.
Its clinic will face Chuck E. Cheese’s on one side, Toyota of Tri-Cities on another and the decommissioned Vista Field municipal airport on yet another.
The port sold the property in 2004 to Jerry Ivy Jr., who paid $544,000 in a deal that included a buyback clause.
Ivy agreed to sell the land to the nonprofit, but word of the sale alarmed port commissioners, who have big plans to transform the 103-acre former airport into an urban village with residences, commercial spaces, a theater and other amenities.
Port commission clears way for clinic deal
The port’s commission debated exercising the buyback clause for a month. Commissioner Don Barnes pushed the idea, calling the property a natural bookend to Vista Field.
Barnes withdrew his objection at the commission’s routine Tuesday business meeting.
Barnes said he didn’t know Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic was the buyer. He praised the nonprofit for its development vision and noted the port doesn’t have $1.8 million on hand to match the purchase price.
The commission voted 3-0 to remove the buyback option. That cleared the way for Yakima Valley and Ivy to close the land deal.
That will happen within 30 days, said Derrick Stricker, of NAI Tri-Cities, the commercial broker representing the clinic.
“The timing is now,” Stricker said.
Glen Davis, chief operating officer of Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, said it plans to invest $20 million in a 35,000- to 40,000-square-foot primary care clinic with a pharmacy.
Opening of clinic expected in 2021
It has begun design work, using the same designer it used for its Lancaster Family Health Center in Salem, Ore.
It expects to break ground in 2020 and to open the following year.
The Kennewick clinic will employ 10 to 12 physicians, two dentists and 80 to 90 support staff to fulfill its mission to deliver health care to patients from all walks of life and all economic circumstances.
It will not offer drug therapy or exchange syringes for drug users, Davis assured the commissioners. The latter was a nod to the unrelated controversy over a move to relocate a Pasco syringe exchange to Kennewick’s Vista Way neighborhood, which is unrelated to the airport site.
Its designers will incorporate the port’s picturesque Italian design standards for Vista Field into the clinic’s design.
“We want to fit into this community,” Davis said.
Stricker, the broker, called Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic a win for Vista Field, where redevelopment is just now getting started.
In Yakima Valley, he said, the port has a private partner bringing some 100 medical professionals to the neighborhood — the affluent demographic the port hopes to attract to Vista Field.
At Tuesday’s port meeting, the port hired Richland-based Total Site Services LLC to build the first roads and utilities, with the goal of selling sites to private developers in 2020.
Group serves communities throughout Northwest
Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic serves 163,000 patients in two states. Its offices dot the Yakima and Willamette valleys, extending east to Spokane and west to the Oregon coast.
That translates to 700,000 medical and dental visits annually for its 24 medical clinics, 12 dental clinics, eight pharmacies and 59 other program sites.
It operated on a $185 million budget in 2017, according to IRS filings.
Davis said it serves patients from all walks of life, from the neediest to the insured.
“We typically go to communities that have a need,” he said.
Yakima Valley operates the Miramar Health Center in Pasco and Dentistry for Kids in Kennewick.