Fresh interest from developers could put a key Tacoma downtown waterfront site back in play soon for redevelopment.
The parcel at 1933 Dock St. on the west side of the Thea Foss Waterway was once planned as the site of a six-story mixed-use residential, office and retail structure to be built by Tacoma’s Prium Companies.
That deal collapsed in 2008 when the residential real estate market imploded. The building was to have 76 condominium units and 27,000 square feet of office space and retail space.
Now, the Foss Waterway Development Authority, which owns the 51,647-square-foot lot, is being asked to seek proposals from developers for the site.
Su Dowie, acting executive director of the authority, said developers in recent months have expressed interest. She’s asking the authority board to move quickly to capitalize on that interest by authorizing asking developers to submit both their qualifications and their proposals next month in a single-step process.
Dowie also is seeking authority approval to hire an architectural firm to begin seeking permits to build on the site just north of the state Route 509 cable-suspended bridge over the waterway.
While developers could propose any combination of retail, office and residential uses for the site, Dowie said the demand for residential rental units is particularly lively now. The two rental structures that border the Foss, Thea’s Landing and Albers Mill, are fully rented, she said.
Financing also is available for apartment construction, she said.
Dowie is combining the request for qualifications and request for proposals processes and beginning the permit process to take advantage of the window of opportunity now available.
“One of the things we heard from developers when we were developing our new master plan, is that the process was taking up to two years from request for qualifications to ground-breaking,” she said. “We’re trying to shorten that process.”
A developer’s proposal could include office space in the waterfront building.
If the reported interest by State Farm Insurance in expanding its local employment with lease of one or more downtown buildings proves correct, the availability of Class A downtown office space would drastically tighten.
The Foss Waterway site needs little or no additional environmental cleanup. Prium’s developers reportedly spent more than $1 million cleaning up the site before backing out of the deal to purchase the land. The Foss was once an industrial backwater whose shores were lined by heavy industry, including a plywood mill, a gas plant and a central steam power plant serving downtown. The City of Tacoma began cleaning up and redeveloping the waterway in 1996.
The waterway now hosts two major residential rental buildings, an eight-story condominium, the Museum of Glass, an office and retail building, the Foss Waterway Seaport maritime museum, a waterfront esplanade and several marinas and parks. Two new hotels are planned for the waterway with an office structure connecting them.
A longtime waterway retailer, Johnny’s Seafood Co., last week purchased land from the City of Tacoma and plans a major remodeling of its retail shop.
Any developer of the 1933 Dock St. parcel would have to complete a 40-foot strip of land on the south side of the property as an addition to the public 21st Street park and build a sidewalk along the east side of Dock Street.John Gillie:253-597-8663 email@example.com