Opening late next year: Mor Furniture for Less store headed for South Tacoma

Illegal dumpers will lament while shoppers seeking affordable furniture can look forward to a new showroom come 2015, as Mor Furniture for Less is coming to South Tacoma.

The Tacoma City Council is considering vacating a section of South 49th Street near Giaudrone Middle School to accommodate a proposed Mor store on the site of a current childcare center on South Wilkeson Street adjacent to Interstate 5.

“Their plan is to demolish that building and construct a new store, taking advantage of the visibility from the freeway,” said Tacoma Community and Economic Development Director Ricardo Noguera on Wednesday.

Sprouts Growth Center, which calls itself Pierce County’s only 24-hour, 7-day-a-week childcare center, now occupies the building that is on half the site planned for the furniture store. It was unclear Wednesday what the center plans to do once its facility is torn down. The center director was unavailable for comment.

Tacoma real estate broker Andy Jessberger of First Western Properties concluded the deal with the property owners and Mor.

“I think their goal is to be open by the end of next year,” he said.

Jessberger estimated the size of the store at 50,000 square feet.

The land sloping toward the freeway will be landscaped and parking space will be added, according to documents filed with the city.

Concerning the vacation of a section of South 49th Street, Hearing Examiner Phyllis Macleod said in a July 30 letter to Tacoma City Manager T.C. Broadnax, “The public would benefit from returning this property to the tax rolls.”

Macleod also noted that the current use of the vacant property sloping from the childcare center “would eliminate the conditions giving rise to illegal dumping in the area.”

The proposal to vacate the property “would have benefits to the public that would not be realized if the right-of-way vacation is denied.”

“When you get a national retailer that is very interested in locating in your town, and they’re taking a derelict property, I think that’s great news for the city,” Noguera said.

The overall project is being proposed by San Diego-based Wesco Management LLC. A Wesco spokesman was not available on Wednesday.

Mor operates 28 stores in seven states, according to the company website. Other Washington locations include stores in Kent, Lynwood, Marysville, Richland and Spokane.

Jessberger estimated the store will employ 40 workers.

In Wesco documents filed with the city, the company estimated that construction would begin during the fourth quarter of this year.

Fire department access to the proposed store would come through South 49th Street. The South 48th Street entrance would be located across from the entrance the more upscale Macy’s furniture store.

But Macy’s should welcome and not worry about any possible competition from Mor, Noguera said.

“When you get a couple of furniture stores together, or car dealers, it attracts more attention,” he said.