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Get ready for new apartments and retail next to Tacoma downtown library

$40 million, 7-story apartment complex to break ground next to downtown Tacoma library

"This development … will turn an underutilized City of Tacoma parking lot into a thriving community for approximately 300 people, with 34 affordable units and ground-level retail amenities," says mayor Marilyn Strickland.
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"This development … will turn an underutilized City of Tacoma parking lot into a thriving community for approximately 300 people, with 34 affordable units and ground-level retail amenities," says mayor Marilyn Strickland.

Tacoma’s building bonanza continues. Last week the city saw the groundbreaking for Tacoma’s Town Center.

On Friday, another groundbreaking is scheduled at 10 a.m., this time for the Hailey apartments, a $40 million, 166-unit mixed-use development at 1210 Tacoma Ave. S.

The seven-story project will include two levels of underground parking with at least 150 spots. Of those, 34 must be for use by the Tacoma public library’s main branch just to the south.

The development, set for completion in spring 2019, will replace a city-owned, three-quarter-acre parking lot at the southwestern corner of Tacoma Avenue South and Earnest S. Brazill Street.

Two years ago the site was considered a hot spot for the homeless with the city placing boulders in the grass parking strip to prevent overnight camping.

The Renton-based developer HQC USA LLC bought the site for $750,000 in July.

“This development, our third foreign direct investment project this year, will turn an underutilized City of Tacoma parking lot into a thriving community for approximately 300 people, with 34 affordable units and ground-level retail amenities,” Mayor Marilyn Strickland said in Tuesday’s news release from the city.

The News Tribune reported in July that, for the affordable units, a three-member family earning $53,650 a year or less and living in a two-bedroom apartment there today would pay $1,341 a month, according to information from the city.

In exchange for providing the lower priced apartments, HQC will receive an exemption for 12 years from property taxes on the improved value of the land used for the residential units.

The project “is being financed completely with capital from the developer and it will serve as a catalyst for further growth and investment in this area of our downtown core,” Strickland said.

HQC’s parent company, Hoang Quan Group, is based in Vietnam. Its real estate arm has 15 years of development experience, according to documents obtained by The News Tribune.

“Tacoma is attractive in terms of employment opportunities and housing value appreciation,” HQC Director Peter Truong said in Tuesday’s news release.

“Tacoma is not only the best investment fit for our company, but also for a lot of people contemplating a move to this beautiful city.”

The past two years have seen a surge of apartment projects in Tacoma, at a pace not seen since the 1980s.

The resurgence includes another nearby project, the 135-unit, six-story Napoleon at 1515 Tacoma Ave. S., expected to be completed next fall.

The $125 million Town Center mixed-retail/office/apartment project, bordered by South 21st and 23rd streets and Jefferson Avenue and Tacoma Avenue South, broke ground last week.

Trevor Kovich of the Neil Walter Co. told The News Tribune via email earlier this week: “The apartment market still seems to be very strong. Rents are continuing to increase and investors are paying aggressive prices for apartment properties.”

“Many projects have been breaking ground in the area — there’s well over 1,000 apartment units under construction or permitted to be built in the Tacoma downtown/Stadium area alone,” Kovich noted.

News Tribune archives contributed to this report.

Debbie Cockrell: 253-597-8364, @Debbie_Cockrell

Kate Martin: 253-597-8542, @KateReports

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