The only developer to respond to the city of Tacoma’s call to develop 6.4 acres in the Brewery District said Friday that he wants to ensure that the site has open space that would make the property a “nucleus” for the neighborhood.
Beyond that, the plan is short on specifics.
Commencement Bay Development, headed by Tacoma commercial real estate broker Eric Cederstrand, met this week’s deadline with an initial plan to build on a city-owned parcel bordered by South 21st and 23rd streets and Jefferson and Tacoma avenues.
The property had once been the site of a proposed city police headquarters, and over the years has served as a residential area and has housed automotive, pesticide and other businesses. The land is adjacent to the campus of the University of Washington Tacoma and could accommodate student housing.
“We received one response,” said Ellen Walkowiak, business development manager for the city’s Office of Community and Economic Development. “I had hoped for more proposals. We do appreciate Eric’s proposal, and we will take a serious look at it.”
The Commencement Bay proposal, she said, has the developers acting as “master developer for the 6.4-acre site. They will create a master plan for the area, then ultimately develop it or work with others to develop it over 18 to 60 months.”
The amount of Commencement Bay’s purchase offer is unspecified. The city listed a price of $2.95 million for the parcel, which was its appraised value.
“We would receive at least that amount of money,” Walkowiak said. “The proposal isn’t specific enough to understand whether that comes over time or if it’s up front. Some of those items would be negotiated. The city could receive more.”
The city is not required to accept the Commencement Bay proposal, she said. “What we have to do is sit down and explore it more with him. What is his thought on performance? Who would he work with? Those are critical elements. Our director would review it, and ultimately the city manager, and the City Council would have to be brought on board.”
Approval by various governmental agencies concerning the environmental acceptability of the property is expected soon, she said.
Cederstrand said Friday that he would ensure that the final disposition of the property includes open space.
“The thing is, I think I’m an extremely passionate supporter of redevelopment in Tacoma,” he said. “This site to me is a real asset to the city, the Brewery District. I think it’s a real key.”
He continued, “The whole deal with my proposal is, first and foremost, what I was pushing for was trying to show my support that the parcel, if not all of it a large percentage of it, becomes a park and open space that will create a nucleus for that community.
“With that being said, I basically proposed in my thing that they work with me in terms of the timing and structuring while we will go in and do a comprehensive master plan, and in that plan we would leave 3 to 3ß acres as a park, and I had two different price points. There’s a lot of details to work out.”
The key to the project, he said, “is having the right plan.”
Along with those discussions, Walkowiak said she will conduct further review of the Commencement Bay proposal and will contact other developers that had shown previous interest in the property.
“We will look at reasons other developers did not come forward,” she said. “I am in the process or researching that. We are going to evaluate this (submission), and we are going to consider it seriously. They have a proposal before us, and we will take a serious look at it.”
C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535