Politics & Government

Foss waterway development gets boost from state

The state is giving the Thea Foss Waterway Development Authority $90,000 to help the agency dress up several remaining parcels for sale.

The authority coordinates development of 17 parcels covering 30 acres of Tacoma’s waterfront that once housed plywood plants, warehouses and the city’s steam plant. Because of industrial contamination, the area was listed as a Superfund site.

Only six parcels remain for development, and the state Department of Commerce’s grant will help redevelop three of them. But these three parcels are also designated as brownfields, which are tough to redevelop because of real or perceived contamination.

With the state money, the Foss Waterway Development Authority will conduct a market study of the best use of the property and how to finance it.

Thea Foss Waterway Development Authority sees these three parcels as the future site of a commercial office building or a mix of commercial and residential uses, according to a Commerce press release.

Penny Thomas, a spokeswoman for the Department of Commerce, said while the money comes from Commerce’s Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund, it is a grant that the city will not have to pay back.

In 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency lauded Tacoma for its efforts in boosting the local economy while cleaning up the brownfields.

Projects have included the Museum of Glass, Foss Waterway Seaport, the Foss Waterway Esplanade and several condo and apartment complexes.