Adaptive Redevelopment for Valhalla Hall

The Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority is accepting RFPs for the redevelopment of Tacoma's historic Valhalla Hall.

Sitting at South 12th and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Valhalla Hall was historically a community hall for the Swedish American Community in Tacoma. Since its construction in 1906, the historic building has fallen into disrepair.

The Hilltop Subarea Plan, completed in 2014, identifies Valhalla Hall as a potential catalyst project for redevelopment in the neighborhood. Recently the building was gutted and the roof temporarily reinforced to prevent further deterioration.

Last summer the TCRA started exploring options for adaptive reuse of the old community hall. A field of more than half a dozen ideas was narrowed to the top three, which the TCRA and consultants considered in greater depth, including looking at the financial feasibility of the proposed project. 

From those three, the option chosen to move forward turns the historic hall into 23 units of [market-rate?] residential, with two  street-level retail spaces facing MLK. Most of the residential units (14) are studios; with eight one-bedroom units, four of which are loft-style spaces. The design also includes a shared courtyard space and one live/work unit facing back toward the alley behind the building.

The RFP issued in February asks for a fee developer to take on the project, including final design, construction drawings, permits, and construction. The TCRA anticipates the total project cost  at approximately $4.4 million, plus a developer's fee to be negotiated. TCRA would like to fast track the project, hoping to select a developer by early May. RFP submissions for the project are due by the end of March. Learn more here (pdf).

What do you think - does this look like a good fit for the Hilltop?

Previously from Exit133: Hilltop Development Update.

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I think this would be a good fit for hilltop if the retail spaces are able to keep businesses in them. That park of hilltop could be vary walkable and the light rail may be good to bring in customers from other parts of tacoma.

March 11, 2015 at 5:09 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Bill Johnston

Hopefully a development that is not another social service group.  The street needs mix.  Retail on street and market priced housing. 

The city’s lack of attention to this area is a disgrace…a long time on going one….and change the name of the park to Bob Evans Park….a City Councilman (passed now) who put a lot of effort into the Hilltop.  Parks need to be named after notables and quotables…not these dumb ones they are coming up with….“First Creek”....what….???  dumb!

March 11, 2015 at 7:31 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Any development is good development in this town, so behind.  This is certainly been refine.

Especially this area is in need of restaurants, owner operated unique shopping.

I will say, with guarded ideas, upscale.

March 12, 2015 at 1:31 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Ones hopes simple Scandinavian design elements with blonde/yellow wood floors are part of the Valhalla restoration.  In a changing Tacoma with its world outlook showcased by foreign artists working at the Museum of Glass, those redeveloping old neighborhood buildings like Valhalla should celebrate the diverse immigrant cultures of the past.  Many Tacomans can probably remember visiting their immigrant grandparents at homes near Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.  This means the story of Valhalla’s pioneers should be recalled on an historical marker at the building.  In early Tacoma the MLK, Jr. Way business district had much foot traffic and sidewalk retail.  Perhaps vibe of the revitalized Sixth Avenue can be extended to the Valhalla neighborhood where as an anchor amid change nearby Normanna Hall’s ownership has been the same since 1922.  One certainly hopes the empty block where a bank surrounded by asphalt parking spaces once stood at S. 11th and MLK, Jr. Way can finally be rebuilt in a style similar to the adjacent Alberta Canada Building.  With great restaurant food there now, the area is worth visiting.

March 13, 2015 at 2:31 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Korbett Mosesly

I think its a step in the right direction, but I would actually like a small neighborhood library considered for residents somewhere in the neighborhood. I wonder if there is a design that would allow for the first floor to be used as a small library.

February 24, 2016 at 5:21 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Molly Undall


I am a student reporter at KPLU, and we are currently working on a story regarding this development. I find your comment very interesting and was wondering if I could give you a call tomorrow morning to talk about this?

It would be greatly appreciated!
Feel free to contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Molly Undall

March 9, 2016 at 8:11 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Roddy Lindquist

I live on Hilltop near this development and I am so excited to see improvements along the business district.  I think hilltop, with its vintage bungalows, diverse architecture, glass street lamps, large trees and neighborhood parks has everything a great neighborhood needs, except businesses that drive foot traffic.  I would love to see a cafe, or espresso bar, or brew pub in the neighborhood.  The recent loss of the Hilltop Kitchen was disappointing. 

With the Link extension still 5+ years away, it would be great to see some of the large vacantlots, and vacant buildings, transformed into housing and services for the larger community of mixed income residents.

March 12, 2016 at 11:25 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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