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Imagine Tacoma: A City Garage?

With the recent news of the City of Tacoma taking back ownership of the Municipal Parking Lot site across Market Street from the Municipal Building due to the stalled (dead?) Catapult Development, Imagine Tacoma takes a look at what might be a good use for the property.

I’m not usually a big fan of parking garages; except when there is a piece of property whose topography and location is ideal for such a use. The tremendous slope from Market Street to the Court ‘D’ alley allows for a 5 story parking garage to be slipped into the hill whose top level of parking could be accessed from said alley (and allow the 4th level to be accessed from the same alley further to the South). This would allow for secure parking of City of Tacoma vehicles within a City Garage (rather than taking up space in Park Plaza North). This arrangement would still allow 3 floors of parking off a Market Street entrance– with some of these interstitial floors used for City of Tacoma Employee parking (rather than taking up all the ‘free’ parking in the St Helen’s Neighborhood to the North, eh?).

The garage structure would have retail along Market Street (it is in the Zoning Code) and the whole structure could be designed with a contextual reference to the Art Deco Municipal Building – as part of a downtown campus of buildings. As a post-tensioned concrete structure, additional load capacity could be design to allow future housing or office space above the garage – or maybe the garage is designed to be totally sustainable? A roof canopy of solar panels and rainwater collection system, – maybe commuter bicycle storage on Market Street? A LEED certified Parking Garage – is that an oxymoron?

And with substantial parking with direct access to the Municipal Building, doesn’t that make the Municipal Building that more financially sound? At the height of the Tacoma Condo Construction Craze, the City of Tacoma looked at possibly selling the Municipal Building – but alas, one big sticking point – no parking for a prospective buyer. The garage could even be designed for a future skybridge ‘Vasari Corridor’ connection (we just need to make sure it is never used by elected officials).

With such a City Garage, the City of Tacoma could get its own city vehicle parking, and employee parking under control, increase the real estate value of the Municipal Building, create additional public parking (for Broadway Center events), add retail to the street, and maybe create the LEED Platinum Parking for Urban Waters at the same time – while incorporating some of Dan Burton’s walkablity concepts to connect the two projects.

For an example of a LEED parking project check out Santa Monica.

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A parking garage would be a lifesaver!

July 26, 2013 at 7:59 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Stanley Green

Increasing automobile access is just what the Stadium District—nor any dense urban area—does NOT need.  Improved transit access to the rest of the city—not just along a single proposed streetcar corridor—and improved safety for people walking, riding bicycles, and using wheelchairs, are what this area needs to become the vibrant urban district it should be.

July 26, 2013 at 8:40 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jim C

Sometimes reality intrudes.  I lived in this area for several years and it’s clear that residential street parking is already at capacity (lots of old houses with no driveways and apartment buildings) and over capacity when school’s in session and neighborhood streets become the high school parking lot.  Hopefully there is a garage involved, at least for the development if it includes a bunch of residential units.

That said, this is great news for business and the future but I feel for the people still living there who may be just a wee bit tired of the perpetual construction.

July 26, 2013 at 9:55 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Whomever or whatever teams are in charge of density and economic growth for the downtown area really need to take a bow.  You guys are doing a fantastic job.  It seems like there’s a new project announced weekly!

July 26, 2013 at 8:54 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jim C

I remember reading, a couple of years ago, in one Exit133’s fine council recaps that the previous owner applied for a vacation of the right-of-way of G Street between 1st and 2nd for future development.  I’d bet that we see the two parking lot parcels merged with this development.

July 26, 2013 at 10:04 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Hot damn!

Hoping that they paid enough for the land that single-story retail really doesn’t pencil. Probably some mixed-use in the pipeline: apartments over retail over underground parking garage. This area is ripe for density, especially if the Link extends to reach Stadium.

July 26, 2013 at 10:16 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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June 7, 2018 at 7:48 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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