Point Ruston springs to life with developments
After several years of marching in place, developers of a huge housing, retail and office complex along Tacoma’s Ruston Way are moving forward with construction.
The first fruits of that renewed activity at Point Ruston, on the site of a former Asarco copper mill near Point Defiance Park, will open to the public late this spring.
Mike Cohen, Point Ruston’s development manager, said this week he expects to open a new Ruston Way roadway extension through the development in May. That boulevard will bypass the historic Ruston tunnel, which will be filled with soil from the site and sealed.
Grand opening for the new road, which will once again connect the Commencement Bay Waterfront with the town of Ruston, is set for April 21 with a five-kilometer run. That ceremonial road opening will proceed the public road opening to traffic by about a month, said Cohen.
“We’ll have a few details to wrap up before we’re able to let traffic use the new road,” he said. The $28.7 million infrastructure project not only built a new road but also added new utility capacity to serve the Point Ruston development and surrounding areas.
The opening of the first segment of a nearly mile-long waterfront esplanade will follow the roadway opening in June, said Cohen. That 100-foot-wide strip of parkland will include a 20-foot-wide paved sidewalk for walkers and a nearby crushed stone path for runners. The esplanade, called the Waterwalk, will be heavily landscaped and furnished with benches. The full length of the esplanade extending from the present Ruston Way waterfront path to Metropolitan Park District property at Point Defiance is due for opening by the end of the year, said the developer. He put the esplanade’s cost at $5 million.
Meanwhile, construction continues on the first multi-unit housing in the development. That housing, the Copperline apartments, is scheduled for opening in September. Cohen’s development company had begun construction on the Copperline several years ago, but halted construction when the housing market collapsed in 2008. The multi-story building was originally scheduled to be condominiums, but the structure was redesigned as apartments.
The 173 units in that building will range in size from 900 to 1,300 square feet. Rents will vary from $900 to $2,000 monthly, said Cohen.
The building includes three levels of covered parking on the lower floors and retail spaces on the ground level.
Plans call for construction to begin by summer on 44 lower rise condominium units between the apartment structure and the esplanade, the developer said. The units, which range in size from 1,350 to 3,000 square feet, will be priced at $500,000 to $1.7 million.
Nine potential condo owners have made commitments to buy units in that development. Construction will begin, Cohen said, when 15 prospective owners have made commitments to the project.
On the project’s commercial side, a Texas-based media company, Cinemark Holdings, has began planning and design activities for a nine-screen multiplex theater in Point Ruston’s commercial center. That center is planned for opening in 2014.
Seattle’s Silver Cloud Hotels has committed to building a 175-room hotel in the commercial section of the development.
The developer is recruiting restaurants, a grocer and other retail and office tenants to the 250,000-square-foot commercial development. Cohen put the cost of the commercial development at $150 million.
Meanwhile, on the hill overlooking Point Ruston, a failed high-end condominium, The Commencement, is being converted to apartments.
A Minnesota developer bought the building, which was about 90 percent complete, from the bank that foreclosed on the project. That project was not part of the Point Ruston development.
Contractors now are completing the building and adding two apartments in an area that originally had been planned for common-use activities for the condo owners.
John Gillie: 253-597-8663 email@example.com