Construction on the first major building on downtown Tacoma's Thea Foss Waterway since 2008 is set to begin Monday with formal groundbreaking ceremonies now scheduled for Feb. 20.
Preparatory pile-driving will start Monday morning, said Scott Carino, one of a group of Tacoma investors building the 161-unit, $32-million building. The structure won't begin rising out of the ground until after the Feb. 20 formal ceremonies.
The building site is located between Dock Street and the Foss Waterway on the north side of the cable-suspended bridge carrying the Washington 509 freeway over the waterway.
The U-shaped structure to be called The Henry is expected to take about 18 months to build.
It will contain a mix of studio, one and two-bedroom units, a garage and some 10,500 square feet of office and retail space.
The consortium of investors closed on the property this week. They paid the Thea Foss Waterway Development Authority $1.286 million for the land, said Su Dowie, the authority's executive director.
"Our board is very pleased to see this project moving ahead," said Dowie.
The site once had been under a purchase option by Tacoma developer Prium Cos. Prium spent about $1 million preparing the property for construction of a mixed use office and condominium structure. Prium backed out of its purchase deal when the real estate market collapsed five years ago.
The Henry will be the first major structure built along the Foss, formerly an industrial inlet from Commencement Bay, since the recession hit.
The group developing the apartment is the same one that built the first major building on the Foss, Thea's Landing. That group decided to construct The Henry when they saw Thea's Landing filling with tenants.
The Henry is among a handful of major apartment projects scheduled to begin in Tacoma this year as the apartment marketplace revives.
The Henry isn't the only construction activity moving forward on the Foss. Johnny's Seafood Co., a retail and wholesale fish market that has been at 1199 Dock St. for decades is in the midst of a major remodeling.
The retailer is overhauling its retail store and adding a small bistro with outside seating. That remodeled store is scheduled to reopen in April.