Proctor III apartment development approved for tax exemption by Tacoma City Council

Two apartment developments were given eight-year multifamily housing property tax exemption credit by the Tacoma City Council on Tuesday.

The first went to Primero Courtyards LLC to develop a 20-unit market-rate apartment site at 3715 McKinley Ave. The plan calls for 400-square-foot, one-bedroom/one-bath units with rents at $1,050. The units include one parking space.

The second project made headlines this summer after its initial plans were filed with the city.

Proctor III, a Rush Development Inc. project, is planned for the corner of North Adams Street and North 27th Street, across the street from the Proctor post office.

The plan now calls for a 95-unit market-rate development that would include 1,000 square feet of commercial space and 50 parking stalls.

The makeup of the apartments: 78 studios, 210-450 square feet, $1,225 to $1,500 a month; 14 one-bedroom units, 451-749 square feet, $1,501 to $1,860 a month, and three two-bedroom units, 750-800 square feet, $1,861 to $2,165 a month.

Criticism about the projects came during the public comment portion of the meeting, with at least one person calling for a moratorium on the tax credit, which does not require any affordable units in a project that receives it.

A separate, 12-year version does.

Mayor Victoria Woodards pushed back at the critics of the eight-year tax credit, noting that while Redfin had identified Tacoma as the nation’s hottest housing market earlier this year that did not mean Tacoma was the hottest in which to build.

“Frankly, we need as much housing as we can get,” Woodards said. “We don’t have 50 cranes in the sky building housing in Tacoma.

“We want to incentivize people to continue to build in Tacoma. ... And while we especially need workforce housing, we need all kinds of housing.”

She added that the city was examining what changes could be made to the multifamily tax exemption, as called for in the city’s Affordable Housing Action Strategy.

Council member Robert Thoms, while agreeing on the need for more housing, noted the city needed to look at the effects other policies, particularly transit-oriented development, were having in neighborhoods attracting more growth, such as downtown and Proctor.

That type of development allows for a lower parking-space requirement and has attracted several projects, particularly downtown.

“I don’t know where the breaking point is,” Thoms said, “but in the future we are going to have to wrestle with what’s the right mix.”