Developer proposes 100 apartments, ground-floor retail across from Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square

A Portland-based developer is in negotiations with Pierce Transit for a mixed-use building in Tacoma’s Dome District, across the street from Freighthouse Square.

Pierce Transit’s board voted Monday evening to enter into exclusive negotiations with Cody Development Corp. for the ultimate sale of the property at 415 E. 25th St. in Tacoma, according to an agency news release. The vote allows Cody to work exclusively with the agency for 90-120 days for “both parties to complete their due diligence,” the release said.

The site is at the Link light rail station, just west of Pierce Transit’s Tacoma Dome Station.

Cody Development Corp. is a subsidiary of Project PDX, founded and managed by Tom Cody. Project PDX claims several development projects on the West Coast.

The one on a site most analogous to Tacoma’s is The Emery, a mixed-use development that opened in 2013 on Portland’s South Waterfront district, said Project PDX partner Jonathan Ledesma. The site has an aerial tram, bike lanes, running trails and a streetcar.

“We saw that as a huge opportunity to really craft an urban experience,” Ledesma said Tuesday. “Retail is extremely important, so we create a porch — somewhere where people can sit and observe. So a coffee shop, a Mexican restaurant, a flower shop.

“That’s the kind of thinking we want to bring to (Tacoma’s) neighborhood,” he said.

Cody’s proposed building for Tacoma is approximately five floors with 100 apartments and two floors of parking and ground-floor retail. The site is walking distance to local and regional buses, the Sounder train, and Amtrak after it moves to Freighthouse Square in a few years.

Unlike The Emery, which has no on-site parking, the Tacoma site will have some number of stalls. Ledesma said it’s too early to know how many.

“Just because people want to commute to work using mass transit, it doesn’t mean they don’t own a car,” he said, adding that retailers need to be supported with parking options, too.

The fact sheet that accompanied Pierce Transit’s resolution says Cody proposes 20 percent of the units be “workforce housing,” which means it will target people who make 80 percent of the area median income. That’s about $40,000 a year, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Still unclear is what the potential purchase price will be, as well as potential performance deadlines. Pierce Transit bought the site in 1999 for $496,000 to use for construction staging while building the parking garage next door.

All those things will be negotiated in the next few weeks, Ledesma said. Pierce Transit’s fact sheet said Cody’s deposit, an unknown amount, will be refunded if no deal can be reached.