The backer of an $85 million retirement community on the Thea Foss Waterway has withdrawn its proposal.
In a letter dated Jan. 25, Transforming Age, formerly known as Presbyterian Retirement Communities Northwest, said “While we are still very interested in serving older adults in the greater Tacoma area, due to the ongoing changes in project requirements and parameters, the site is no longer a viable option for us.”
Transforming Age spokeswoman Heidi Happonen said the company is still interested in doing business in Tacoma, just not on the Foss.
“There is a strong belief that there’s a need for a senior housing community in the downtown Tacoma area,” Happonen said.
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Foss Waterway Development Authority Executive Director Norm Gollub said the company, the development authority and the city had been in negotiations for months on the project.
“We are extremely disappointed. We spent a lot of time moving this project forward, and for a small agency, that’s meaningful,” Gollub said.
The project would have provided vitality along the Foss esplanade and would have been a multigenerational community, he said.
Gollub arrived in Tacoma last summer, after the project was selected earlier that year.
Transforming Age had proposed an upscale retirement community for people aged 55 and older, on a nearly 1-acre parcel, called sites 8 and 9, south of the Murray Morgan bridge.
The initial proposal included 108 independent-living units, 35 assisted-living units and 17 memory-care units. It would have employed 200 to 250 construction workers as it was built, Gollub said, with around 100 year-round employees after it was open.
For now, the development authority is reevaluating the site and could put it back out for public bid, likely this year, he said.
Happonen said the requirements of the site were a “moving target.”
“As you can imagine, real estate projects of this scale are complex. As with any development of this type, you get information during the due diligence period that can open potential issues, and you have to weigh that against the risk of continuing the project,” Happonen said.
Last summer, Northwest-based GenCare Lifestyle said it planned to build a $55 million retirement community in Point Ruston. It signed a letter of intent for a 150-plus unit building that could open by fall 2018.