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Asia Pacific Cultural Center - Constructing a Dream
We love the idea of a mixed-use development in downtown Tacoma. Especially one that promises us dim sum and maybe even those little Asian rice crackers. So we’re hoping that the recent talk of the Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) isn’t too good to be true. Yesterday’s City Council Study Session shed more light on the current state of plans, and on the questions still remaining to be answered. Lua Pritchard from the APCC and her coalition presented their hopes for the space and asked for the council to trust them, and hold the land for a year while they answer questions relating to the project. The council, for their part, made certain to explain that these questions do not indicate a lack of support, but a desire to ensure the success of the development.
The proposed development would take up several currently unused city-owned blocks at 21st and Jefferson with a timeline of ground-breaking in 2013 and completion by 2016 at the earliest. The proposal includes plans for retail, dining, apartments for the elderly and students, a cultural center complete with performance and classroom spaces, and of course, parking. Plans call for an Asian grocery store as an anchor tenant have sent the word Uwajimaya buzzing through the grapevine, but it’s too early to say if this is anything more than wishful thinking, and there is a lot still to be decided before the project can become a reality.
The APCC, assisted by the Seattle Chinatown International District PDA would like for the city to either donate the land outright, or sign a 99-year lease at non-profit rates. They are also asking for technical assistance with the housing and cultural center portions of the project. On its side, the city isn’t about to let the APCC off lightly, and has given the non-profit group a lengthy checklist, which includes the normal kinds of due diligence and pro forma tasks, including market studies and appraisals, financing planning, and reports on city staff and financial resources required, city economic impact and job creation. These last two are items touted by the APCC as major benefits to Tacoma if the development goes ahead. The city is waiting to see what proof they have. We’re waiting for the dim sum.
Also seen at The News Tribune
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