‘Our goal is to bring The Kenney back to its former status’: New management for West Seattle’s oldest senior-living complex

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The Kenney is under new management.

After nine years, East Coast-based Heritage Ministries has ended its operation of the 115-year-old West Seattle senior-living complex. Midwest-based SAK Healthcare is now running it, we learned this week.

“We’re quite excited about the prospects for renewal here,” SAK Healthcare’s chief strategy officer Rick Snider told WSB.

The state of The Kenney has been closely watched since an ambitious $150 million redevelopment plan announced a decade and a half ago, changed amid community scrutiny, and ultimately scrapped in 2011. In 2016, it announced a smaller-scale plan for change, but that too evolved, including a sale of some adjacent properties where The Kenney once planned to build apartments.

After learning about the management change, we asked Snider some questions via email. He says SAK Healthcare “is a leading national advisory specializing in distressed health-care facilities that require strategic redirection and turnaround management services.” The Kenney has not been sold, nor is it in bankruptcy or receivership, he said, though he said SAK Healthcare was hired last month “directly by the governing board for The Kenney in cooperation with the lender.”

Since then, he said, “We’ve been on-site every week since then to conduct assessments and staff training, inspect physical plant issues, work on resolving vendor accounts that are outstanding, and put together short-term plans to stabilize the operations and finances.” This is not likely a long-term relationship, though: “Our turnaround engagements normally do not specify an end date, and they may run anywhere from twelve to eighteen months typically. Our goal is to bring The Kenney back to its former status as the premier senior living community in Seattle.”

What does that mean in terms of operational changes? Snider replied, “Our focus is to improve all aspects of resident care including clinical services and nursing, dietary, aesthetics and physical plant. We are working to rebuild the resident census to enable us to accelerate our improvement plans. We have already begun extensive efforts to restore the beautiful grounds for which The Kenney is known, partnering with Devonshire Landscapes. Many other items of deferred maintenance are also being addressed including the HVAC systems, elevators, and lighting.” Snider says the change has not resulted in any staff cuts, “and we do not plan to reduce staff. We are looking for additional senior living professionals to join the team, including a marketer, and additional staff to support clinical services and resident care.”

We also asked whether residents and their families had been notified of the change: “Yes, our leadership including our CEO, Suzanne Koenig, and our consulting team has met with the resident council and with all residents and family members in a town hall held at The Kenney. We are continuing to send out communications to keep residents and families informed of progress being made.”

Snider says his compay has high hopes for that progress: “The Kenney is a hidden gem and has incredible potential. With the collaboration of residents and staff and our vendors along with the Board, we’re moving the community forward to a brighter future. SAK Healthcare is very proud to have been asked to work with the community and provide its knowledge and skills to address the many challenges that have plagued The Kenney for years.”

The Kenney’s campus at 7125 Fauntleroy Way SW, just north of Lincoln Park, includes independent- and assisted-living units, as well as memory care.

8 Replies to "'Our goal is to bring The Kenney back to its former status': New management for West Seattle's oldest senior-living complex"

  • oerthehillz February 23, 2024 (6:09 pm)

    Thank you for reporting this. Hopefully they can make the necessary improvements without rising the costs to unattainable heights for the most of us.

  • Gerry February 24, 2024 (10:29 am)

    What were the problems?    It sounds like corporate speak.

    • K February 24, 2024 (11:17 am)

      Outstanding vendor accounts means people not being paid.  Deferred maintenance means no one was taking care of things when they broke.  Sounds like whoever had been managing the facility has either been asleep at the wheel, or just bad at their job.

      • Jethro Marx February 24, 2024 (6:28 pm)

        Perhaps. But maybe the person in charge was supposed to defer maintenance as much as possible and deliver the cheapest care possible in order to maximize profit.

  • Deserve More February 25, 2024 (12:57 am)

    In my experience we need more skilled nursing ~,rehab to hospice,~.Medicaid eligible, focus on medical and quality of life. We have too many hotel-service focused “independent living” and assisted living that charges insane prices per service needed. The Kenny could become a new model.  Let’s start by saving the hefty bill of your landscaper & install mini~forests of natives for pollinators and drought tolerant.  At least offer an alternative,,but they’re corporate lean machines, so good luck, Sad. 

    • Ts February 26, 2024 (10:51 am)

      The Kenny  used to always  have small pollinator gardens as well as small pee patches available. The amazing flower garden on the original property has a long and grand history. It was maintained in conjunction with residents who were welcome to bring a plant or two from their previous residence. This led to residents and staff getting outdoors and walking the gardens. 

  • EDD February 28, 2024 (1:28 pm)

    My parents live at the Kenney in independant living  apartments. They love the community at the Kenney and love the convenince of being able to walk to Lincoln Park and Morgan Junction. They also like living near bus lines.  My parents feel great about this management change. 

  • KMO39 March 6, 2024 (6:19 pm)

    I love living at The Kenney–activities, closeness of Lincoln Park, and excellent bus service downtown, the Junction, and Westwood Village.  The management change is great.  P-patches and all are still in use.

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