Are You Ready For a New Proctor?

Here's a date that those of you with an interest in the Proctor District may want to put on your calendar: Thursday, January 16. A resolution on this week's City Council meeting consent agenda would set that as the date for a public hearing for the proposed street vacation of a portion of the alley air rights west of Proctor between North 27th and 28th. Why?

28 Proctor Holdings LLC proposes to construct a five story mixed use development in the heart of the Proctor District. The petitioner believes the project will provide much needed rental units and retail space to the area, which will benefit local businesses and provide additional housing options for city residents. Vacating the air rights will allow the development to span the right-of way and keep the alley open to the public for vehicular traffic.

The 28 Proctor mixed-use development is a project we've heard about from time to time for a while now. Last we heard this was just a concept, but putting a date on the Hearing Examiner calendar makes it seem like it might be a little more real.

A general description of the project and a couple pictures are posted at under "current projects."

This could certainly change the feel of the neighborhood. 

Are you ready for a new Proctor?

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Would love to see a few projects like this on Hilltop.  I’m not sure the height of it fits in to the Proctor District - considering its kinda suburban in nature.
If you look on the website link, there’s a couple really neat projects they’ve done that would be awesome on all those vacant and for sale lots in south downtown.

December 9, 2013 at 10:21 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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I like the past project of “Americana at Brand” for the brewery lot at 21st and Jefferson and the lots for sale by the city just down the hill… One can dream…

December 9, 2013 at 10:26 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Fred Davie

If you want a project like this on hilltop why don’t you write a plan and get it funded like the Proctor development people did with their project?

December 9, 2013 at 11:18 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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This is great! I have been watching and waiting for a development like this to happen in Proctor. I hope that this happens.

Jesse, we have already been over mixed use design standards for the Proctor District. It is a mixed use center and a commercial hub for the North End.  Have the design go through review, but at the end of the day let’s get behind this new addition that will improve the strength of local businesses.

December 9, 2013 at 10:31 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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I’m worried about what this means for the small businesses in that area. Developments like this seem like they would be put to better use in the Hilltop area, around 6th, or in the S Proctor area around 12th.

December 9, 2013 at 10:36 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Stephen Battey

How exactly do you think this will impact small business in proctor differently than 6th or hilltop?

December 9, 2013 at 10:53 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Stephen Battey

I’m worried about what this means for the small businesses in that area. Developments like this seem like they would be put to better use in the Hilltop area, around 6th, or in the S Proctor area around 12th.

How exactly do you think this will negatively impact small business in proctor? Too many shoppers? This will only benefit proctor. I’ve seen a lot of arguments against this development but this is where proctor is heading. If you didn’t want to live in an area with mixed use developments you shouldn’t have moved to a mixed use zone. Welcome to city life, there is no room for the suburban dream in Tacoma.

December 9, 2013 at 10:57 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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There’s still a lot of land in the North End dedicated to single family housing.  Those parts of town aren’t going to change appreciably in the next thirty years, but in the neighborhood cores, we are going to see more density so it can support more and better services to support residents.

I like to think about how more residents could help to financially support longer hours at the Wheelock Library and safer sidewalk crossings for kids going to school.

December 9, 2013 at 12:06 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Welcome to city life, there is no room for the suburban dream in Tacoma.

That’s why I live in the city and not the ‘burbs, the suburban dream is my nightmare.

December 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Proctor city life shouldn’t be dictated by the prescription for urban density, such as found downtown.  If you want high-rise living, there are lots of choices downtown or even Point Ruston.  Many chose Proctor because of the neighborhood feel and the sense of community which stems from the permanence of home ownership.

December 21, 2013 at 7:18 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Yeah, I don’t know how you think this would hurt small business in the area.  Clearly the design includes more small business retail at the street level.  Expect over time the Proctor Area to cascade out with more density.

December 9, 2013 at 11:43 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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If you all don’t want it in Proctor we are happy to have it over here in the Hilltop!  Regardless this is good for business small or large as more people living in immediate area means more shoppers on the street!

December 9, 2013 at 10:45 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jim C

Yeah, market-rate rentals is something Proctor needs like a hole in the head.  Clearly going to be marketed to students if it happens.  Rack ‘em and stack ‘em.

December 9, 2013 at 11:09 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Fred Davie

The project has been in the embryonic stage for a long time. Let’s just go ahead and get this built. It’s a nice looking design that replaces a pretty squalid looking 1950s strip mall. This is a glimpse of what the entire Proctor MUD will look like in a few decades. Development has to go up because GOD isn’t giving us any more land.

December 9, 2013 at 11:16 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Fred and I agree on this one.  That alleyway and gravel parking lot abutting Proctor St would be much improved with this development.  This is a market-rate project that can stand on its own two feet.  It’s something worth thinking about before rushing to judgment.  This is going to be 135 new residential units, which will bring more customers, residents, and taxpayers to Tacoma.

December 9, 2013 at 11:59 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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i’m sure it will look nice, and we always have a need for more housing, if there’s a chance it will be affordable. Personally, I would like to see projects like this to fill in the more empty and abandoned areas of Tacoma, but development goes where there’s money.

December 9, 2013 at 11:33 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Erik BRegistered

Incredible.  Hopefully they can pull it off.  In the top 3 percent of projects built in the last 60 years in Tacoma.  Usually, all Tacoma gets is a bunch of car centric strip malls.  Here are the components of it:

1) Adding housing in one of Tacoma’s mixed use centers.

2) Adding retail on the “main street” of Proctor repairing come of the urban fabric.

3) Built right next to the street for pedestrian walkability and friendliness helping complete a living room feeling.

4) Filling in a muddy parking lot which was scary and unsightly hole in the urban fabric.

5) Parking entrance around the back of the project rather than on the main street.

6) Brick exterior.

Wow.  A 9.5/10 project.  Almost nothing with so many favorable factors have come into Tacoma for half a century.  There a great number of historical examples though pre 1950 before Tacoma’s car centric era.

December 9, 2013 at 11:41 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Ronnie Bush

I’ve lived in Proctor area for 35 years.
Two comments:
The picture doesn’t show that Mason Middle school is one block over. That is already overcrowded and not a parking spot to be found
In the morning and mid afternoon. Walking on the sidewalk from N.26th to N.28th is difficult and very overcrowded now. Long line of cars
going down Proctor, from same blocks, with parents picking up kids. As long as the school is there, this will be atraffic reality. Proctor doesn’t need
an additional flow in that exact area. I would bet more cars go between those 2 blocks then down any 2 blocks in downtown Tacoma.

That “scary” parking lot is just always filled. I drive by it at least 2x a day. Knapp’s patrons, shoppers in Proctor, Farmer’s Market folks, etc, pack that full.
Granted not a pretty parking lot, like downtown, it serves a purpose. Parking is at a premium now in Proctor. Metropolitan Market is remodeling next year.
Undoubtedly, that fantastic store, will bring even more shoppers to the district. Meaning we will need more parking.

Why not develop what we have and not add problems? Working to get higher end small businesses? MM has the customers to be attracted to them. Proctor District can do some serious marketing for what they have and allow new building in areas of Tacoma, like downtown, get projects like the one suggested.

December 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thanks for commenting, Ronnie.  That’s a valid point to make about parking needs in the community.  Maybe some form of public parking could be integrated into the project or there could be changes to on-street spaces on that block could be made on Madison St (thinking angled parking here).  Also, it’s important to understand who the residential units are going to cater to.  If the focus of the residential units is to cater to students, maybe they don’t need as many parking spaces for each unit since historically speaking, students have a greater tendency to walk, bike, and use transit to get around versus more established families with children.

December 9, 2013 at 12:13 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jennifer Boutell

Yes, absolutely. I also think the area might really appeal to seniors. No need to drive, with two grocery stores in easy walking distance. Up to now the downside to Proctor has been the lack of smaller apartment units for singles/seniors.

December 9, 2013 at 4:51 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Excellent point!  I hadn’t thought of it somewhat being senior housing, but that would make a lot of sense.  Many daily needs are just a few blocks out your front door in Proctor.

December 10, 2013 at 10:31 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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NameBea C

I agree with Ronnie. Traffic is a reality that will not go away. Already traffic is so bottled up on Proctor (and the angle parking is dangerous when backing out) that when I leave Metro Market I drive through side streets to avoid the slow traffic and the people backing out of the angle parking that stops the traffic up to the light. Remember too that with Washington Elementary being expanded, the parking on the north side of that block is being eliminated. That’s where all the employees at Proctor USPS Station were parking for the whole day.
This will make the neighborhood urban. We who live here moved in because it was quiet, residential. Looks like soon I’ll be moving out and finding a house in a quiet neighborhood without traffic jams. I don’t shop downtown because of parking and I won’t shop here anymore when this monstrosity is built.

December 10, 2013 at 5:08 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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After this is built. No one will go to the Proctor district. It will be too crowded.

December 10, 2013 at 6:15 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I lived next to a townhouse that was built next to my single family residence 5 years ago.They each have a parking garage and a driveway.Guess what most of the residents use the garage for storage and have 3 or 4 motor vehicles.One resident chain parks his SUV’s in front of my house and occasionally some dum***s parks in front of my driveway blocking my right of way.Trust me on this.They can build underground parking all they want but on average each resident renter dweller or family will have on average 3 or 4 motor vehicles and most will be chain parked causing problems with long time single family resident owners.

December 13, 2013 at 6:12 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Fred Davie

Good post. Well, the parking around the Proctor district is all marked 2 hour parking from 8AM until 6PM so the chain parking pests will have to move their cars 4 times a day.

December 13, 2013 at 8:12 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Published Author RR AndersonRegistered

I am so ready for this!

December 9, 2013 at 7:16 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I cant wait for new retail opportunities in Proctor!

December 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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As a Proctor resident, I’m a huge fan of this project and smart-growth density. However, I do think that a skybridge over the alley should NOT be granted. The streets and alleys in their current configuration create a scale of urban fabric, limiting the footprint of any one building to 1/2 of a city block. That’s big enough! New developments should honor the existing street and alley fabric of development. Mega-block buildings, enabled by skybridges, are not compatible with the scale of a neighborhood center.

And the earlier renderings that showed a “4-story brick walk-up” scale of building, with 1-2 story “penthouse” style structure above, were more preferable to the new design rendering. Cementitious panel as the primary siding material is pretty disappointing.

December 11, 2013 at 11:55 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

While I’m in favor of the project as presented I’m not sure that we’ve learned the whole story.

Are tax abatements being granted?

Is there a shortage of developers for this project which would build absent any such abatements?

Has the public been properly notified about any possible conflicts of interest between the council members and the project participants? Have conflicted council members recused themselves from discussion or voting?

Let’s have the project… but first let’s have a vetting process that insures the deal is squeaky clean.

December 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Good questions.

December 11, 2013 at 8:37 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tax abatement was to the best of my knowledge not granted, but Bill Evans did try to make the case that The Proctor District was a disadvantaged neighborhood and was whipping up support when I and others pointed out just how ludicrous this proposal was.

I support allowing the owner to develop his property, but I do not support a six-story building in The Proctor District and I own two properties that are within a ten minute walk of Proctor and would likely realize increase in the value of those properties (one of which is large enough to subdivide) should this project be completed.

This issue I have is that while neither of my properties are in the shadow of this six-story development, there are dozens of families whose homes are so located and my guess is that their enjoyment of the afternoon or morning sun will be a thing of the past and this will have a negative affect on their quality of life and that is not acceptable to me. These people bought their homes with a reasonable expectation that they would not be in the shadow of a six-story building for 50% (for those on the east and west side)- 100% (for those to the north) of the day all year long.

December 12, 2013 at 10:01 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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I think that the land use code has some provisions in it that require step downs in building height in the right areas that would help to mitigate that impact. Not sure on the specifics.

December 13, 2013 at 9:43 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Dan H

“Those to the north” are the School District; a middle school to be exact.  In fact there are no home owners adjacent to this proposed development.  A church lies to the west and commercial property lies to the east.  This really is an ideal location for a tall building in the Proctor District.

December 13, 2013 at 9:17 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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John Ackley

The New Tribune’s article announcing the upcoming construction of the “The Proctor” apartments may be exciting for business owners in the district…but what about the rest of us? It is noteworthy that the article quoted some of the principals of the project as well as some local business interests for their opinions, why not ordinary homeowners?  Do we really want a behemoth six (!) story building that dwarfs all the existing buildings and homes in the neighborhood? Do we really think that the transient population that comes with large apartment buildings won’t erode the “feel” of the Proctor district? That, in particular, crime won’t increase? Is placing a large apartment complex across the street from a middle school well thought out? I wonder how much the current residents will appreciate longer lines at the Safeway and Metro stores or the lack of parking and congestion in general? If the plan were to add population through the sale of condominiums where the residents have an ownership stake in the neighborhood this plan would be much more palatable. As it stands, this project panders mostly to the greed of it’s developers. I hope the residents of our neighborhood wake up and put a stop to this plan, or at least influence the size and scope of it.

December 13, 2013 at 11:27 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Joan H

I have significant concerns with this project.  Having lived in Proctor for 23 years, my family enjoys the “‘neighborhood”.  This development is TOO LARGE for this neighborhood.  The property should be developed and mixed use is a super idea.  But with 6 stories and 150+ underground parking, I worry about the intensity of use.  What about Mason Middle School?  What about Washington Elementary?  The families and children do not need more cars.  Can a smaller project meet the needs for mixed use and high density?  What other neighborhood has a 6 story building and two story parking garage?  With a project this big, have they consider public space?  Or storm water runoff?  Please come to the city meeting on Jan 16th!!

December 21, 2013 at 9:53 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I too like the idea of a mixed use, but share your concerns about the scale of the project.  There should be much more consideration given to how this will affect the neighborhood and schools.  Let’s make sure we are approaching this with wide eyes so that all of us who live here are not regretting this once it is done.  One exception for a 6 story building in Proctor paves the way for more to follow. Also, it is hard to tell from the rendering if the architecture of the area above the shops fits well in Proctor.

December 24, 2013 at 7:58 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Sanity Check

More shops is great! But, why is everyone drinking the urban density kool-aid? I disagree with the assertion that packing more people in Proctor is a good thing

December 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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