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$85 million retirement community picked for Foss property

Presbyterian Retirement Communities Northwest will build a retirement community on the banks of the Foss Waterway. The Foss Waterway Development Authority approved the development last week.
Presbyterian Retirement Communities Northwest will build a retirement community on the banks of the Foss Waterway. The Foss Waterway Development Authority approved the development last week. Courtesy

An $85 million retirement community on the shore of the Thea Foss Waterway could open by summer 2019.

Presbyterian Retirement Communities Northwest was the top choice of the Foss Waterway Development Authority this week for a nearly 1-acre parcel south of the Murray Morgan bridge.

When complete, it will have 108 independent-living units, 35 assisted-living units and 17 memory-care units, said FWDA executive director Su Dowie. The company expects to hire 200 to 250 workers during construction, and employ 95 to 100 people when it opens.

“It’s going to diversify the type of use we have (on the waterfront). Senior living, particularly active senior living, is really becoming more and more acknowledged as an important element of the housing market,” Dowie said.

Paul Aigner, vice president of development for Presbyterian Retirement Communities Northwest, touted the site’s proximity to high-quality museums, relatively flat landscape and waterfront location. He said the company believes Tacoma has an unmet need for quality senior living.

“We are trying to develop unique properties that offer great site amenities,” Aigner said. “ … With the UW-Tacoma branch being so close, it allows our residents to be lifelong learners and continue their pursuit of education.”

The Tacoma development will be the company’s first foray outside of the Seattle market. Its other three properties are full, Aigner said. The company plans to pre-sell units in Tacoma and will break ground by this time next year.

In its development proposal, the company said it’s marketing to the over-55 crowd. The site will include two buildings connected by an upper-floor sky bridge. The development also aims for a sustainable building designation called LEED Silver.

Residents who live at the property will be close to several museums where they will have volunteer opportunities, including the Museum of Glass, Washington State History Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Lemay — America’s Car Museum and the Foss Waterway Seaport Museum.

The building will also include a waterfront restaurant and bar that will, at times, be open to the public, Dowie said.

Dowie said as a condition of using the parcel, the company will also develop the water-facing public esplanade. The company will also pay the development authority $2 million for the site.

The retirement community beat two other proposals. Dowie said the other finalist, Foss Harbor Marina, expressed interest in a marina village concept. While it did not win this round, the FWDA is talking with the company for a project just north of the Murray Morgan Bridge.

Kate Martin: 253-597-8542, @KateReports

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