Real Estate News

Five developers want to revamp Old City Hall. Here are their proposals

Geeking out on Tacoma’s Old City Hall as architectural gem

Reuben McKnight, Historic Preservation Officer for the City of Tacoma, talks lovingly about the Italian villa style brick building built in 1893 to be the city’s “grand old municipal building.” McKnight considers it the town’s jewel.
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Reuben McKnight, Historic Preservation Officer for the City of Tacoma, talks lovingly about the Italian villa style brick building built in 1893 to be the city’s “grand old municipal building.” McKnight considers it the town’s jewel.

In the latest round of requests, five companies have pitched plans to the city of Tacoma to redevelop Old City Hall.

This was the third time the city has asked developers to propose redevelopment projects for the 125-year-old building at 625 S. Commerce St.. Proposals were due Tuesday.

The city bought the landmark in 2015 for $4 million, far above the appraised value of $1.6 million, so it could be redeveloped.

Previous attempts to attract interest in the building included a requirement that the buyer reimburse the city for the $4 million purchase price. The most recent attempt to market the property did not include the requirement.

The five offers, which all include a mix of housing and other uses, were made by:

Bentley Kensington Inc., Tacoma — 46 market rate loft apartments, 17,000 square feet for a “micro-retail marketplace” with the remaining 9,100 square feet for a bar and grill and a Tacoma History Museum.

Commencement Bay Development LLC and Heritage Group Land Co. LLC, Tacoma — 40,000 square feet of Class A office space, including shared work spaces and laboratory facilities; 5,000 square feet of retail and 5,000 square feet for a food and beverage tenant.

Greenspring of Tacoma — an art gallery, artist studio space and office space on the Pacific Avenue side and small retail spaces on Commerce Street. Research facilities on the second floor, with 20 units of affordable housing for artists and their studios on higher floors. A wellness studio in the penthouse.

Surge Tacoma — a restaurant in the basement and a bar on Pacific Avenue. About 20,000 square feet of retail space on the first and second floors, with another 20,000 square feet of office and co-working spaces for a technology center on the third and fourth floors. On the fifth floor, 40 “micro” apartments, of which some would be affordable units. Two rooftop restaurants and an event space in the clock tower.

Urban Villages Inc., Seattle — city-leased and managed “business incubator space” that also would house the city’s economic development office. Higher levels with 110 furnished short-term apartments. Food and beverage and event space on the fifth floor and clock tower.

Kate Martin: kate.martin@thenewstribune.com, @katereports
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