The city of Tacoma is selling one piece of property and buying another in the name of economic development.
The City Council voted Tuesday to buy a 6,044-square-foot retail space on the ground floor of Park Plaza North, a parking garage with first-floor retail on Pacific Avenue near South 10th Street downtown.
The ground-floor property has been vacant since The Lochs restaurant closed in 2013, city officials said, and the hope of the city’s Economic Development Department is to eventually see private redevelopment of the entire structure.
The city saw the same hope realized several years ago at Park Plaza North’s sister garage, Park Plaza South, at the corner of Pacific Avenue and South 13th Street. It was renamed Pacific Plaza after a $40 million overhaul. The Old Spaghetti Factory is now one of the anchor tenants.
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Both garages were built with federal urban renewal funds in the early 1970s, a time when civic leaders were worried about a declining downtown and thought lack of parking was partly to blame.
The former Park Plaza South “became a very nice mixed-use development — ground floor retail, enhanced parking structure, structurally sound with a new office on top — long-term, that would be our mission” with Park Plaza North, said Martha Anderson, with the Economic Development Department.
The city will pay $550,000, plus closing costs, for the restaurant space. With that purchase, it will own all but three of the site’s parcels.
Also Tuesday, the City Council approved selling a parking lot the city owns near the main branch of the Tacoma Public Library. The council voted to sell the parcel at 1210 Tacoma Ave. S. to developer HQC USA, LLC for $750,000.
HQC is one of the largest developers in South Vietnam and is headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City, with an office here, said Debbie Bingham, an economic development specialist with the city. The company plans to build an apartment building with at least 150 units and ground-level retail space.
The developer is planning for 150 underground parking stalls. Construction on the project should start by Oct. 31 and finish by September 2019, Bingham said.
The lot was purchased by the city in 1980 with hopes of developing future library parking facilities.