Kaiser Permanente on Friday took a big step toward the health care system’s expansion into southwest Santa Rosa.

Delayed a month by rain, the Oakland-based organization broke ground for a $50 million, 87,000-square-foot medical office building at 2240 Mercury Way. Kaiser also will be leasing 60 offices across the street for behavioral and mental health services.

The new three-story building will offer a wide-range of primary and specialty care services, including pharmacy, lab and imaging. It’s expected to be complete in early 2018.

“This medical office reflects what we want to do within the community in the west (Sonoma) county area, to get the best quality care,” said Judy Coffey, senior vice president and area manager for the Marin–Sonoma area. “This will serve as a bridge and centerpiece to this thriving area.”

Kaiser already operates a hospital and medical office complex in northeast Santa Rosa.

Cost of construction is estimated at about $50 million, and will be the first all-electric building in the Kaiser system. That means there will be no gas-fired heating or hot water.

The building will also have innovative photochromic windows, in which the glass changes opacity with outdoor light intensity, much like sunglasses that automatically transition from clear to dark. Solar panels will also be mounted on carports over the parking area.

The goal is to get the facility certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental (LEED) building standard at least at the “gold” level but preferably “platinum,” said Gary Moyer, senior project manager for Kaiser.

The general contractor is Turner Construction Company of Oakland, and the architecture firm is Hawley Peterson & Snyder of Sunnyvale. Structural steel will be fabricated by ConXtech Inc. in Hayward then assembled on site using a quick-connect system.

Between the new medical office and the leased mental health facility across the street, Kaiser will bring in 120 clinicians for the more than 100 offices. Kaiser expects to take occupancy of the leased space in about six months.

In August 2015, Kaiser purchased a 148,000-square-foot office building on Los Gamos Road in San Rafael. It will be renovated to add space for about 50–60 providers. Currently in the sizing and design stages, it is expected to open in September 2018.

Cynthia Sweeney covers health care, hospitality, residential real estate, education, employment and business insurance. Reach her at Cynthia.Sweeney@busjrnl.com or call 707-521-4259.