About 1,000 Group Health employees will move from Tukwila to a new administrative building the heath-care cooperative plans to build in Renton next to the Tukwila Sounder Station.
The building will be located on 12 acres on the former Longacres site at Southwest 27th Street and Strander Boulevard, near the Federal Reserve building off Oakesdale Avenue.
That location next to the Tukwila Sounder Station in Tukwila was a key factor in Group Health’s decision to move.
“As a large regional employer, we want to ensure that we provide easy access to public transportation,” said Group Health spokesman Jackson Holtz. “The commuter rail station will provide transportation for many of our employees and was an important factor in our site location.”
The City of Tukwila has talked with Group Health about the transportation needs of its employees at the current location on East Marginal Way.
Providing public transportation for those employees was one reason the city is lobbying for Sound Transit to build a light-rail station at the Boeing Access Road south of Boeing Field, according to Tukwila City Administrator David Cline. Sound Transit has deferred that station.
The City of Tukwila was notified of the decision before Group Health made its announcement on Wednesday.
With 43,000 jobs in the city, the loss of 1,000 jobs won’t have a “significant impact” on the city’s budget, according to Cline.
The employees will still be “right next door,” shopping and eating at Westfield Southcenter, he said, and having an economic impact.
“We want the best for the company,” said Cline.
The new building will provide state-of-the-art space for administrative, lab, pharmacy fulfillment and warehouse operations. Completion is scheduled for early 2017.
“We constantly are looking for ways to enhance our operations to best meet the needs of our members,” said Bill Biggs, Group Health vice president, Administrative Services Division, in the news release. “This new facility is designed to integrate the very latest technology that creates efficiencies and savings, resulting in the quality, affordable experience our members expect at Group Health.”
The current headquarters which Group Health has occupied since 1995 no longer best serves the needs of Group Health members and staff, according to the release.
Group Health will continue to have administrative staff operate out of other leased buildings, including two in Tukwila, and in Seattle and elsewhere in the state.