Construction on a five-story, 154-unit apartment in Proctor Business District beginning soon

Proctor Station, a five-story, 154-unit apartment and retail building once criticized by neighbors as too large for the Proctor Business District, will soon begin construction.

Demolition is nearly complete on the site, said Devin Page, Rush Companies’ vice president of construction. Rush is the building’s principal developer. Excavation of the site will begin the week after Independence Day, he said.

The $20 million development, the largest in the history of Gig Harbor’s Rush, is due to be completed in late 2015. The building will include studio, one and two bedroom units built over a two-level garage. Ground-floor spaces will be available for retailers to lease.

The building site, adjacent to Mason Middle School, had been occupied by a small strip mall and three houses. The developers allowed the Tacoma Fire Department to conduct fire training exercises in the vacant buildings before demolition was completed.

The plans for Proctor Station encountered opposition from some neighboring homeowners when Rush sought to vacate an alley that bisected the property. Those neighbors complained the building at five stories was too large for the neighborhood business district where existing structures are a maximum of two stories.

A hearings examiner ruled the plans were in compliance with Tacoma’s zoning codes provided the developers built the structure in a way that would allow fire and garbage trucks access to the back side of the building through a ground-level corridor. The Proctor Business District is one of several neighborhood business districts within the city that the City Council had previously approved rules allowing higher and denser development.

Former City Councilman Bill Evans, a Proctor businessman and one of the co-developers of the project, contended the additional population that the building will bring to the business district merchants more traffic from new residents who live within walking distance of the district shops.

Some nearby residents also complained that the building would increase traffic congestion in the neighborhood and create parking problems in the business district. The developers countered that the building would include parking for residents plus creating more street parking for merchants.