Mount Rainier, sure. Puget Sound, hard to avoid it.
But there’s not many places in Tacoma where you can eyeball the Space Needle.
Proctor Station is one of them.
The rooftop deck of the new six-story apartment building in Tacoma’s Proctor District affords views in all directions. Residents and visitors get a clear look at the black monolith of the Columbia Center and the saucerlike top of the needle as they rise up above Maury Island.
The 7,500-square-foot deck is one of the amenities residents are exploring as they move in to the 151-unit apartment building on Proctor Street, across from Mason Middle School.
The $32 million project was designed by architectural firm BCRA and developed by the Rush Co. It’s managed by Edison 47.
“Here, you just pay your rent and everything else is complimentary,” said manager Jacky Nelson.
A resident retreat, the Fireside Lounge, features a kitchen and indoor and outdoor lounge areas, both with fireplaces. It can be reserved for parties.
Next to it is a rec room with a variety of cardio machines and stacks of fresh towels.
The building is high-tech. Residents can buzz guests up to their floor via elevator. Waiting areas are on every floor.
Residents are kept in an information loop with notifications via smartphone, email or social media.
Visitors will find wide hallways and original art as they move through the building. Garbage and storage rooms are on every floor.
The building is pet-friendly. It even has a dog-washing and -drying facility and covered pet run for rainy days. Poop scooping will be maintained by building staff.
That feature keeps canine calling cards out of hallways and off sidewalks. Plus, dogs will have their DNA recorded and on file.
“If somebody makes a mess, we can identify who did it,” Nelson said.
Apartments come in various configurations ranging from studio to one and two bedrooms. The studios, which start at $1,090, are all taken.
Light comes in via 72-square-inch windows and bounces off stainless steel appliances and 9 1/2 half foot ceilings. Bedrooms have ceiling fans, walk-in closets and are AC-ready.
Bathrooms have ample storage and their own stacked washer and dryer.
About 95 percent of the apartments have an outdoor area. That might be a shared or private deck or patio.
Some of the apartments on the second floor, even the studios, open to large shared patios. Each has a personal space as well as a common area for communal barbecues or parties.
Bill Evans, one of the project’s investors, is such a fan of the project he moved in with his wife two months ago. The first residents started moving in Jan. 6. It’s now 70 percent leased.
“I wake up in the morning and look at Anne and say ‘Well, it’s time to check out of this luxury hotel,’ ” Evans said.
Evans said a wide range of diverse tenants have moved in ranging from young families to retirees.
Residents are about split 50-50 on locals and people moving in from out of the area, Nelson said. They average about 45 years old. Many work in the medical field or are in the military.
Nelson said the tenants have a median income of $60,000 with an average income of $115,000.
Retirees Freda and John Werner moved into the building in January after 15 years of living in several condos in Tacoma, and a century-old house.
“We spent more money fixing it up than we paid for it,” Freda said.
The couple who are in their 80s are active and walk every day.
“This is the best of all worlds,” Freda said. “We’ve met some wonderful people who live here. We’re so close to Metropolitan Market and Safeway. We get our mail at the post office.”
They didn’t feel as safe in their last neighborhood as they do in Proctor.
“Here we can go to the Blue Mouse (Theatre) and go have a glass of wine before we come home,” she said.
While Proctor Station is no methanol plant, the development was greeted with a loud opposition when it was announced in 2013.
Neighborhood residents complained that the development would spoil the character of the district despite the fact it replaced a strip mall and dirt parking lot.
As the project took shape, opposition quieted.
“A lot of those folks have been won over,” co-investor Erling Kuester said.
But that doesn’t mean there still aren’t unhappy neighbors.
Evans said he still runs into locals upset with him and the project.
“One lady did get very angry with me on Saturday,” Evans said last week. “She said she does not want change. She’s happy with Proctor the way it is.”
Both Kuester and Evans are longtime Proctor boosters and businessmen. They are two of the owners of the Blue Mouse Theatre.
One concern was a loss of parking in the neighborhood. But on-street parking has increased by 12 spaces, Kuester said.
Inside the building, 216 parking stalls were built on two levels for an estimated 250 residents. During the day some of the spaces will be available for business customers and guests.
The complex has bike storage and electric vehicle charging stations.
Proctor Station’s lobby will soon have a feature few, if any, apartment buildings in America has: a doughnut shop. A garage-style roll-up door connects the space with Top Pot Doughnuts.
The Seattle-based restaurant, which will also serve sandwiches and other food items, opens in May or June.
Top Pot will have seating for 35-40, with coffee and a choice of at least three dozen kinds of doughnuts which will be fried off-site.
Next to the eatery will be Rudy’s Barbershop. The Seattle-based chain has 19 outposts in Portland, Los Angeles, New York City and sometime this summer, Tacoma.
“It’s long overdue,” said Rudy’s CEO Brendon Lynch of the expansion to Tacoma. “We wanted to take our time to find the right location.”
Rudy’s is a Seattle institution for the millennial generation. Started in 1993 by three friends who were looking for a hangout as much as a haircut, the shops are known for their hipster vibe and busy decor.
“There’s this creative, entrepreneurial spirit and movement happening in Tacoma that feels right for Rudy’s and harkens back to the roots of who we are,” Lynch said.
The 10-chair co-ed shop will have the Rudy’s feel but also a unique atmosphere.
“Every Rudy’s is designed to be reflective and respectful and representative of the neighborhood in which it resides,” Lynch said. “In every shop we find a talented artist in that community to design and execute an art installation.”
One business is already up and operating. The Walla Walla Clothing Co. recently held its grand opening. The 2,400-square-foot store is using two of Proctor Station’s commercial spaces.
The higher-end clothing store will expand from women’s clothing to include men’s clothing in summer.
“We just wanted to see what the reaction was like. We wanted to put our toe in first,” said co-owner Teresa Ellison .
The Walla Walla-based store has outlets in Kennewick, Boise and Merdian, Idaho.
“I really liked what I saw in the Proctor District. I could see that Tacoma was underserved in the better goods,” she said.
Walla Walla is the largest independent retailer of the Eileen Fischer brand. But it’s just one of many labels they carry.
“Most of our customers don’t come in just for one item. We end up wardrobing them foot to toe. Denim, footwear, handbags,” Ellison said.