UPDATED: New Development: Stadium Apartments

A new mixed-use development is in the works to bring retail and residential space to the Stadium district. 

The planned 220,000 square foot market rate apartment project would replace the (currently completely under-utilized) surface parking lot at 102 North G Street. That's across the street from Stadium Thriftway and the old Titus Will space that is on its way to becoming a German-style beer hall.

It would bring 172 new market-rate apartments to the neighborhood, along with a 204 stall parking structure, and 2,260 square feet of retail space. That's slightly larger than the recently completed Proctor Station development, with a couple dozen more residential units, but significantly less retail space.

The developer, Stadium Apartments, LLC plans to break those 172 units into a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments, ranging from $1,255 for the low-end studio price, to $3,091 for the high end two-bedroom with den.

The project goes before the council for approval of an eight-year property tax exemption. The exemption would mean no property taxes would be collected on the new development for the first eight years. Taxes will still be collected on the unimproved value of the property, and at the end of eight years, the full improved value goes back on the tax rolls.

Construction is expected to begin on the project this July, and be completed in August of 2018. That's a few years ahead of the expanded Tacoma Link, which will make a stop just a block from this new development.

Tacoma's rental market is pretty tight right now, so the residential units will be welcome. This building will significantly change the look of the Stadium District, but there's room for more development. What do you hope to see next?

 

UPDATE: At the May 10 city council meeting we heard a little more about the project, which comes from the same development team that brought us Thea's Landing and The Henry apartments on the Foss Waterway. We also got to see an early design rendering of the new project...


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Comments

Stacie

I was hoping for more affordable living, 1255 for a studio is ridiculous. Where do they think they are? Seattle?

May 6, 2016 at 11:23 am / Reply / Quote and reply

27 | 9

Stephen Battey

This apartment in a similar location in Seattle would be over 2k, it’s next to parks, shopping, dining land transit. This is well below the cost of a similar apartment in Seattle. This neighborhood is expensive.

May 6, 2016 at 12:44 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

12 | 11

Jim C

There is currently a one bed/one bath for rent not even a block away for $1100/mo.  Quickly looking at Zillow, there are numerous available rentals in the neoighborhood and the highest price I see is $1400/mo. Anyone who rents here will be getting gouged. But hey, brand-new aluminum frame construction!

May 6, 2016 at 1:52 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

13 | 1

Anonymous

Have you looked for places to live around the Stadium district? I’ve lived here for awhile, and walking through the neighborhood I’ve frequently seen signs for studios and 1 bedrooms renting at $700-$950/mo. Looking at a site for apartment/house rentals, I found several options as low as $685, and multiple 1 and 2 bedrooms for under $1000, all within a 5 minute walking distance from this location. About a 10 minute walk away, I found a three-bedroom HOUSE for $1300/mo. These prices are far too expensive for this area. And while I love this neighborhood, and feel that Wright Park is a great perk, the “business district” is just a couple of square blocks and has 1 grocery store, a handful of restaurants, a drug store, and a couple of salons, and not much else. That’s hardly the kind of “shopping and dining” your comment would indicate.

May 6, 2016 at 7:00 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

14 | 1

Mary Plante

New construction is usually able to command a premium of up to 25 percent over the going rate for comparable older units.

May 6, 2016 at 8:34 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

5 | 3

Scott

25%... Not 300%

May 8, 2016 at 9:59 am / Reply / Quote and reply

5 | 3

Bryan Jackson

Must be that “Biergarten Bump”

May 9, 2016 at 1:05 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 0

Sarah

My hope is that the developer will incorporate brick or other architectural elements to help the new structures blend with the surroundings.

May 6, 2016 at 12:53 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

17 | 1

Lia Craven

Surely we can come up with an idea more suited to this area.

May 6, 2016 at 6:57 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

6 | 17

Anonymous

The more I look at this, the more concerned I become with this idea. Does anyone know where we can write to share concerns about this? I’m all for using the parking lot in a better way, since right now it’s mostly a waste of space. But let’s think about what actually works here. If you look at the picture of the parking lot, the L-shaped building down and to the left is the Casablanca; it has 29 units. The H-shaped building below the parking lot in this picture, together with the more generally rectangular building to its right (all 3 of the aforementioned buildings bordering Yakima Ave) forms Legacy Apartments, and has 54 total units. Using that as a reference point, look at the size of the parking lot, and think about fitting 172 apartments, a parking structure (presumably with 172 parking spaces, or perhaps up to 220 if you add in 2 parking spaces for each 2 bedroom and a few guest spots), AND 2260 feet of retail space. How is this the right space for that much building?? Even assuming that the apartments are smaller than those at the Casablanca and Legacy, that’s a ridiculously large building for this area. This isn’t skyscraper territory here.

May 6, 2016 at 7:12 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

9 | 16

Joe

Yeah! Maybe they can build a homeless shelter instead!!!

May 8, 2016 at 11:15 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

8 | 3

Donna Van

Have you ever thought of trying to create some new beautiful affordable apartments to accommodate the middle class?  Does the rent include the parking garage, or is that anothe $250 a month?  The entire North Slope is under attack right now by theives of every sort. You can’t leave porch furniture out or hang a plant without it being stolen. They are getting more and more brazen,  stealing packages, jumping fences, and breaking into homes. The police don’t seem to be interested… saying they are understaffed. This is a high-risk crime area.  Good luck.

May 6, 2016 at 11:48 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

8 | 6

Engineer

The type of crime that you describe happens everywhere.  It’s happened in my isolated upper-middle class subdivision.  It’s even happened in the small town in a cornfield in the rural Midwest where my parents live.  This is the world we live in today.  Once we start prioritizing law enforcement budgets adequate to do neighborhood patrols, we will see this type of petty crime decline.  You can’t get something for nothing.  Not willing to pay higher taxes for neighborhood patrols or cut “pet projects” somewhere else?  I think you get my drift.

May 10, 2016 at 12:01 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 1

talus

This sounds good in isolation, but the neighborhood that really cries out for density is the Sixth Avenue neighborhood.  It would be so great to see the strip malls, check-cashing KFC, chicken-serving KFC etc. at Division/Sprague/Sixth replaced by apartments or condos.  I’m also concerned that too many Tacoma neighborhoods are competing to become dense centers of retail and residential, and that without more prioritization, none may succeed.

May 7, 2016 at 8:39 am / Reply / Quote and reply

11 | 1

Jennifer Boutell

That is true, and sixth ave has so much parking and infrastructure that is already designed for greater density.

May 7, 2016 at 9:01 am / Reply / Quote and reply

8 | 0

Jennifer Boutell

The median household income in Tacoma is $50,439, or $4,203.25 per month. Generally, it’s recommended not to spend more than 1/3 of your income on housing, if you don’t want to be completely underwater.

That would make a sensible rent for a 2 or 3 bedroom home in Tacoma no more than $1400. At $2500-$3000 a month, their two bedrooms (like the new ones in Proctor) are priced completely out of the budget of the average Tacoma renter.

At that price renting is a luxury,  you should be able to afford to buy a home.

Here is the question for you all: Is there a value in bringing in more housing that is specifically marketed to people with disposable income who just want to live somewhere cool? What is the value in that and where will those people work? Will they spend money here or will they be commuting 20 hours a week, going home opening up a beer and passing out in front of the TV?

As rental prices continue to exceed the means of the people who already live here, what will happen to them? Is that an issue for you? I understand these things may naturally happen with natural market forces in play, but do they need to happen with a big tax break from the city?

May 7, 2016 at 9:09 am / Reply / Quote and reply

12 | 1

Dman

Agree.

These apartments aren’t for Tacoma people.  They are for people who work and “play” somewhere else and just sleep here.

May 12, 2016 at 12:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

design professional

Good question for our City Council. Offering these incentives to build in areas where higher rents can be had by some at the expensive of displacing others may make sense to developers but not the citizen stakeholders. Real Estate agent Ryan Meacham is buying of properties to subdivide and put up crap high rent 4 plexes.  But heaven forbid if you say anything negative about anything the city planners have proposed you immediately get labeled as an affluent NIMBY that is afraid of change and simply is not educated enough to understand. Afterall how could you when having an average median income of $50,000 is the new affluent class in Tacoma.


This may be of interest, the Economic Development Committee (Chaired by CM Campbell, but with CM’s Thoms, Mello and the Mayor as the other 4 members) will be hearing a presentation on the program on Tuesday September 13th at 10am.  This will be in room 248 here at City Hall on the 2nd floor.  Hear directly how the Councilmembers think of the program?

August 11, 2016 at 1:25 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Erik B.

Good news. Stadium District businesses need more humans to survive. This sad vacuous parking lot has been sitting dead for years.

Yes, of course these new units are going to rent at a higher rate than some of the 1930 era apartment in the area as these will be new with their own washer and dryer. Many of the apartments in the area have shared laundry facilities. Plus, they will be finished far better.

Another advantage is that it adds to the supply of housing to keep the cost of adjacent units from rising too fast. The more supply, the lower housing costs will be.

May 7, 2016 at 10:17 am / Reply / Quote and reply

12 | 6

Jennifer Boutell

I just looked at a 2 bedroom in a less than 20 year old building 2 blocks from there with washer dryer in unit. Priced at $1050.

May 7, 2016 at 10:39 am / Reply / Quote and reply

6 | 1

Jim C

Good news. Stadium District businesses need more humans to survive. This sad vacuous parking lot has been sitting dead for years.

Right, because the Thriftway, Franco, Ranko’s, the Harvester, Tully’s, Morrell’s, etc. ad nauseum, have been struggling for so long. Good businesses will survive, bad businesses won’t.

I feel for the owners of the Legacy and Casablanca, those buildings will not only lose their water views but also most of their sunlight. Yeah, there’s a high-rise a couple of blocks away on St. Helens but that place is a cesspool, not a great example to hold up as an ideal for the neighborhood, IMO. I agree that the parking lot has been underused since Titus gave up sales at this location but I’m not going to cheer for another prefab 170-unit monolith asking more than market rate for rat-warren studio apartments. This kind of development should be going on where there is space for it. And yes, the light rail is coming the light rail is coming, but in the planned configuration we’ll finally get in 5 years there’s nowhere it will reach that isn’t walking distance from this neighborhood already.

May 9, 2016 at 9:19 am / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 6

Erik BRegistered

In addition to the environmental benefits of infilling Tacoma rather than having even more sprawl in Pierce County which is resulting in the loss of farmland, there is also the benefit of lower housing costs when new units are built:

More Evidence: Increased Housing Supply Leads to Lower Prices

“The idea that increasing housing supply—building more housing units of all kinds—has a beneficial impact on housing price is still very controversial in Seattle. Intuitively, people know that when there is more of something for sale, the price of it naturally begins to fall. But there is stubborn view here that making more housing doesn’t have the same effect on housing price. But when developers make decisions about when, what, and where to build, the studies they use are based on an analysis of housing supply and demand, and how those factors affect price.

I’ve written elsewhere about academic studies that found reducing or holding supply constant in the face of increased demand definitely results in higher prices.”

http://www.smartgrowthseattle.org/more-evidence-increased-housing-supply-leads-to-lower-prices/

May 7, 2016 at 11:44 am / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 7

Jennifer Boutell

Erik. There is plenty of available housing in Tacoma, there is no increased demand. What there isn’t enough of are places people who already live here can afford on the wages they are making in Tacoma. If you want to move down here from Seattle and pay less than you are paying there you will find that this is not a problem presently.

May 7, 2016 at 10:10 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

8 | 1

Jennifer Boutell

Let me rephrase that: there is increased demand but it’s no danger of exceeding the supply of available homes any time soon, if price is not an issue for you. If we would like to encourage that trend though I’m sure it will happen sooner or later that even relatively wealthy people will have a hard time finding housing here. Not sure why that’s a goal.

May 7, 2016 at 10:11 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

5 | 0

Brendan

Did you notice the date on that article? It is from May 2013, three years ago. It claims that rents in Seattle are starting to fall because of increased housing supply, and it predicts that the fall will accelerate. Three years later, those predictions appear to have been wildly wrong.

To the extent that Seattle teaches us anything, it is that frenzied construction of expensive housing does not guarantee more affordable housing. There are plenty of other factors that go into development decisions, but the notion that this is going to lower prices should be put to bed.

Also, it’s probably best not to put too much faith in articles from groups bankrolled by the Master Builder’s Association. You’re almost sure to end up looking like a chump.

May 8, 2016 at 10:48 am / Reply / Quote and reply

8 | 0

Jerry B

Or…other apartments look at what they are asking and a new bar is set for the area.
Whats their formula? A mortgage in the area is X dollars so lets make the apartments X-Y ?

May 11, 2016 at 10:21 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Matt

Why should we as a city offer the developers an 8 year tax exemption when there is a high demand for the completed project.  It’s a Landlord’s market right now, the city doesn’t need to offer incentives to develop more units, there is very little risk (right now) for the developers.

If we’re going to give them 8 years worth of tax exemptions, we should be getting something in return, like a percentage of dedicated affordable units or some site amenities for the general public. (like better looking architecture or some garden space at the property).

Eight years of tax exemptions is a huge gift to the developer- the city shouldn’t be begging developers to in-fill some of the last prime real estate in the stadium district, the developers should be giving us gifts of better public amenities.

****  Also really Critical - Don’t Ruin the Stadium district like Proctors been ruined, recognize that people in Tacoma have cars - Most 2 bedroom units will need 2 parking spaces - plan on this!  I don’t know anybody in Tacoma that doesn’t own a car, regardless if they drive it or now.  Even if it’s on a bus line - they’ll still own a car.  Imagine if everyone was parking in the Thriftway lot because the city planners allowed the developers to not include parking spaces.  (!!!)

When is the City Council meeting on this project?

May 7, 2016 at 3:49 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

17 | 6

Brit

Especially since Thriftway already hired the guy to yell at people who already try to park in the lot to do their dry cleaning. He’d have lots of fun with new renters without parking spots.

May 7, 2016 at 6:21 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 0

Melinda

The next City Council Meeting is this Tue at 5pm. I think it’s important to have as many concerned citizens attend as possible. I’ll be there. There should be a commitment period for it.

http://www.cityoftacoma.org/cms/one.aspx?objectId=1972

May 8, 2016 at 12:38 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 0

Susan

I really appreciate Jennifer, Matt, and Brendan’s comments on the topic - couldn’t agree more. The City Council had this on tonight’s agenda and though I was working and couldn’t attend, I did finally get off my butt and email my councilmember (and Mayor Strickland) specifically about the property tax exemption issue. I hope a few of you were able to attend and that others have or will contact their elected officials or staff in the Planning department.

Developers - particularly those building high-end apartment buildings - do not need the city to help them make these projects pencil out. They of course say otherwise - give us 8 years tax-free or else this pretty project goes ‘bye bye’ - but I don’t buy it anymore. I think any tax abatement should require a percentage of low-income housing.

I understand the city wants to encourage density in specific neighborhoods but it is galling to see the city to provide developers and those who can afford to pay 2 and 3x more for rent than my mortgage and certainly more than I paid in rent 2 years ago (‘market rate’ doesn’t mean ‘average’ it means however much they think someone will pay).

I am all for adding density and multi-family projects, and won’t harp about other buildings’ size, ugly design, or whatever, but we should not be giving away funds from the city’s tax coffers to high-end development and well-off renters.

May 10, 2016 at 8:43 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 0

joe-nate

Regarding the Stadium area, First Presbyterian Church, which years ago bought the old adjacent Buckley King Funeral Home for use as a chapel, should ponder development of a high-rise apartment complex on the parking lot behind the church complex overlooking Wright Park that could be a combination of market-rate and affordable (read low income) apartments that would generate revenue for the church’s mission but also include parking for church attendees in an included parking structure.  Tacoma First Presbyterian Church, during the liberal heyday of the Carter Administration, helped secure federal financing for the affordable housing available in the high-rise Commencement Terrace apartments next to the Temple Theater.  Private enterprise is entitled to take risks, as shown by the proposed high-end apartment complex at N. 1st and “G” Sts.  In the name of stewardship to generate new funds for the church but to also serve the needs of the underprivileged, one wonders if that vast parking lot between First Presbyterian Church and Wright Park is ripe for intensive high-rise development and whether the church leaders will consider their mission to serve the poor as equally important as assessing the full potential commercial value of that lot.  Real estate issues are at the core of conflict between the right of the Seattle First Presbyterian Church to become independent from the Presbyterian Church of the USA and yet keep control of costly downtown Seattle property.  There is a crisis in Tacoma to keep affordable housing available; there is a need for such housing near downtown Tacoma.  Churches have played an important role in building such housing in the past.

May 7, 2016 at 4:57 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 0

Jesse

This project is likely due to the coming streetcar that will go right by its front door.  That streetcar has been planned to go through this area and on this street (whether it went down 6th or MLK) since like 2008-ish - with a probable opening in 2021.  Streetcar usually increases property values by about 30% once it is completed because it creates demand for housing along its tracks.  So, I don’t understand why anyone would complain about the housing costs being high here.  By the time this project starts renting units, you have had a solid decade to deal with it.  That is, you could have bought something, if you like the area, before prices rise.  Stop complaining.
This project is all good.  It’s much needed density in the heart of a great business district along a streetcar line.  The even better news is that if transit is robust enough, a person can eliminate a car and save about, on average, over $700 a month. 
Density is good in s city.  Streetcar is good in a city.  Empty parking lots are not good in a city.

May 7, 2016 at 8:43 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

11 | 5

RHTCCComedyfanRegistered

You’re better off buying a tent.
The most that I have ever paid for rent was $300 per month
and now I am a multiple property/homeowner/mogul.
I agree that we should get rid of urban sprawl by eliminating the excessive space occupied by motor vehicles which take over half of a cities land making destinations twice as far which also works against the very purpose of a car (it’s own enemy).
I farm quite happily in my back yard which means less need to travel to a supermarket.Why slave to give money to others when you can own and become a free man.$1,600 or $2,000 rent per month no way would I ever pay that extortion.Slaves pay!

May 8, 2016 at 12:00 am / Reply / Quote and reply

5 | 10

Scott

When the beer hall opens, there will be an increased demand for parking and that lot will fill up on a daily basis.  When/if this building goes up, the parking for a new and vibrant business will dry up.  The result will be street parking and congestion.  We will be cutting off our nose to spite our face.  I’m not sure how anyone can say that more density is needed in a city that had a large condo complex that struggled to fill itself for years and had a new banner made every time occupancy increased 5-10%.  It still doesn’t have full occupancy in the retail space below the residential units.  Likewise, proctor station is struggling to fill its commercial space.  I think these buildings are poorly thought through and excuted without much insight from the actual residents of the neighborhood.

May 8, 2016 at 10:17 am / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 8

Joe

Again, you’ve proven yourself to be an idiot.

May 8, 2016 at 11:20 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 3

Jake

“Likewise, proctor station is struggling to fill its commercial space.”

How is it struggling to lease space? They have Walla Walla Clothing, Top Pot Doughnuts, Rudy’s Barbershop & Coldwell Banker. The last 2 spaces are pending..

May 9, 2016 at 11:07 am / Reply / Quote and reply

10 | 0

CA

Cool project!  Looking forward to this one.  Stadium is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Tacoma.  The more density in this area the better.  I’m not too concerned about congestion as a result of this complex and the beer hall across the street.  Frankly, Tacoma needs A LOT more congestion in its neighborhoods.  This isn’t Puyallup or Sumner, it’s an urban environment.

May 8, 2016 at 5:19 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

21 | 1

Dman

Agreed until you said Tacoma needs more congestion.

Isn’t the reason for “density” livability and a reduction in congestion?  Most people who chose Tacoma (not forced here from Seattle because of high rents) say the lack of congestion is a selling point.

Not all “density” is good.  Look at Cabrini Green in Chicago.  At some point it turns bad.

May 12, 2016 at 12:11 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 2

honeydew slausen

Cmon. While I agree with you that Cabrini Green and projects similar to that were horrible examples of urban planning, the big problem with projects of that size was that they were all housing and there were absolutely no amenities like recreation or retail built with them. Residents had to go elsewhere to do anything but live in their unit. This building, Marc on 6th and Proctor Station are nothing like that. They are mixed use buildings(ground floor retail, and by the way the new and higher property taxes are collected on the commercial part of these buildings, only the residential is exempt from the increased value for 8 years) in neighborhood with active and diverse retail bases (in these three cases there are banking and grocery services at hand unlike in many other Tacoma neighborhoods) and excellent transit service as well. These projects are exactly what Tacoma needs. Change is difficult, but Tacoma has to grow or it will be increasingly difficult to provide the services its residents expect.

May 29, 2016 at 9:25 am / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 1

altered chords

I know very little about urban planning.  It seems to me that there is a massive size differential between this project and Cabrini Green.

May 31, 2016 at 11:55 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

David Allen

Glad to hear about this.  It’s great that the Seattle building boom is finally starting to have reverberations in Tacoma. 

These rent prices are pretty high, but I’m hoping/ expecting that they will be reflected with a high quality product, something a little more than the typical plywood box apartment buildings that are a dime a dozen.

As for the concerns about how “appropriate” this is for the neighborhood- this is exactly what the Stadium District needs and is built to handle.  In case you haven’t noticed there are 16-20 story high rises only blocks away from this project. Walking distance from much of downtown, next to transit, grocery, park.  If you need and expect a lack of congestion always and unlimited free parking then maybe the Stadium District is the wrong place to live.

May 8, 2016 at 9:19 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

20 | 3

Dman

Agree that this development seems like it will fit THIS district.  It has good freeway access and the light rail is coming.  It isn’t right in the middle of a residential area either.

What I don’t like about these developments is the buildings are big ugly behemoths.  They tend to be very boxy and monolithic.  They all look alike, and (minus the railing and tiny decks) could almost pass for the big public housing developments of the past.

I wish they was some architectural element that wasn’t compromised by the need to cram as many (high income) people into an area as possisble.  But that would hurt the profit margins…

May 12, 2016 at 12:18 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 0

Roxanne Auge

We need more construction of affordable housing for purchase.  I think that we are getting too many rental properties in this area.  Home ownership results in residents who are more vested in the community than renters.  We already have a high density of rental apartment complexes in this area.  With the construction of the new apartment complex on 4th and Broadway and now this within blocks, we are straining existing public services, without the benefit of taxation at all for the first eight years.  In addition to the obvious strain on public services, we are stretching the limits of the area’s growth management plan density of rental versus owner numbers.  No more rental complexes until we match the density of rental properties with a reasonable ration of affordable owner occupied housing. properties.

May 9, 2016 at 8:08 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 14

Engineer

Okay, so the initial asking price for rent is unaffordable for most people.  Understandable.  Please tell me where else I can find a nice newer apartment in Tacoma?  Not something that’s been lived in by dozens of other people and not well maintained?  The supply is limited.  Over time, rents will drop.  There is SO MUCH poorly-utilized land in Tacoma that it’s sickening to see our forests in the suburbs bulldozed for cookie-cutter poorly-built houses that people will live in so that they can drive 30 to 60 minutes each way to work.  Then we have to build more freeway lanes.  It makes no sense.  There’s at least two dozen pad-ready vacant lots that are walking distance from my office, zoned residential, yet, they sit vacant and are often not even utilized by neighbors as a lawn, garden, or anything else useful.  Anything to bring up the in-city density and prevent more exurban development.  Is this exactly what I want to see here?  No, not exactly.  Will I take it?  Yep, it’s better than a parking lot.

May 10, 2016 at 12:12 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

16 | 1

Dman

I agree with you that “Nice Newer” apartments are a different market than the “old crappy” rentals readily avaible now.

I disagree these developments will lower rents over time.  It hasn’t in Seattle, even with the building boom.  What these buildings do is trade one demographic (lower income born in Tacoma) for another (higher income from else where).  Two different markets with two different products.

Since rich people want to live by other rich people, you have a product (fancy apartment) creating its own demand.  If the demand rises faster than the supply of fancy apartments, rents will go UP.

May 12, 2016 at 12:30 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Erik BRegistered

Ok Tacoma.  Time to fill in some of the dead blightful parking lots which have sucked out much of the life of the city.

http://comics.feedtacoma.com/tacomic/1-13-09-city-of-parking-lots/

May 10, 2016 at 9:00 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 4

KLA253

While I completely agree with the outcry against the tax abatement, I cannot understand the opposition to the project due to parking concerns.  By increasing the housing density in the area, along with increased public transportation via the link, the idea is that residents of this community would no longer require a vehicle. Having worked at several brand new apartment communities in Seattle over the past several years, most “normal” residents are able to afford $1800-$2000 studio and one bedroom apartments due to not having to pay $300-$700 a month in car related costs (car payment, insurance, parking, gas, etc.)

In regards to the property tax exemption, I would like to see the city utilize something similar to Seattle’s MFTE program.  The MFTE program offers affordable housing (20% of the buildings total apartments) based on the renter making under 65% (studio), 75% (one bedroom), or 85% (two bedroom) of the city’s median income.  In turn, developers receive property tax exemptions for up to ten years as long as they participate in the program. IMO this program would be a win-win for developers, the city, and residents of Tacoma.

May 11, 2016 at 10:29 am / Reply / Quote and reply

5 | 1

jerry b

That makes the assumption the residents are working local and not commuting to Seattle

May 11, 2016 at 10:24 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 3

Dman

Yep, and these development do seem to market to the “person who wishes they could live in Seattle but can’t afford it”.

And if they spend all their time commuting, how much do they contribute to the Tacoma community?

But to KLA253’s point, if they are going to give away tax money, we should get more concessions in terms of affordable housing.

May 12, 2016 at 12:22 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 4

Engineer

Regarding the demographic that wishes they could live in Seattle, but can’t afford it, that’s me.  I want what Seattle offers, but can’t afford it.  What is the next best thing?  Well, I and my significant other both found jobs in Tacoma, and we aren’t alone.  We have lots of friends in the same boat.  Is it everything we wished for?  No, but it is good enough.  This is a good thing for the city, no?  We live nearby, work here, shop here, dine here.  Much of the attraction of Tacoma versus, say, Federal Way, are many of the unique independent businesses.  Want your local economy to thrive?  Attract Seattle “wannabes” who will patronize places like Corina, Treos, Quickie Too, Gateway to India, Marlene’s, Tacoma Food Coop, Odd Otter, Matador, Metropolitan Market, Cafe Brosseau, The Hub, and The Spar - all LOCALLY owned businesses.  I won’t be caught at the WalMart nor at any Safeway.  No, as a homeowner I won’t ever live in these particular apartments, but lots of young folks, single people, empty nesters, and folks who are not interested in the massive responsibility of maintaining a house will live there.

May 16, 2016 at 1:56 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Stephen battey

The 8 year abatement is only for encouraging development in general, desperately needed in Tacoma. There is a 12 year abatement that is offered for affordable housing to developers who offer 20% just like in Seattle. In fact, there are multiple developers who will be applying for that 12 year abatement on MLK over the next few years & bay terrace is working on finishing up he next phase of their affordable housing along 25th in the hillside/mccarver neighborhood west of hilltop. It’s not all doom and gloom right now.

May 13, 2016 at 10:23 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Dman

Why does our city give away more and more tax breaks to developers with out concessions?  (Other than campaign contributions…)

Why don’t the council, like Seattle’s, ask for affordable housing units in these buildings?

I sincerely doubt developers need it to be profitable or they wouldn’t build.  The region is running our of urban areas so the developers would have come here anyway.

May 12, 2016 at 12:38 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Susan

We were curious just how much of a break the 8-year tax abatement might be - found the info in staff’s presentation to the Council earlier this week (see here starting around 12 minutes - http://cityoftacoma.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=1921).

The property taxes being exempted include both city AND state taxes, which according to city staff total $700,000 *per year* for the Stadium project, of which $160,000 per year is the city’s portion of taxes.

So the State and City are giving the developers/owners/renters $5.6 million over 8 years; $1,280,000 of which comes directly from Tacoma’s coffers. As there are 172 units in the building, by my math the developer/owner/renter is getting a tax break of:

- $4,079 per year per unit / $339 per month per unit overall
- $930 per year per unit / $78 per month per unit in Tacoma taxes


It’s just galling to me that we would give a high-end apartment development (and by proxy its well-off renters) $5.6 million in return for little to no direct public benefit.

Density is good;  building near transit is good; the people who live here, whether they work in Tacoma or not, will spend money here ... but this does not add up for me.

May 14, 2016 at 7:12 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jesse

This project would not be built without the transit and tax abatements.  The abatement is merely an eight year delay in paying taxes on the IMPROVED value of the property.  The taxes that are being paid on the lot, today, continue to be collected.  The alternative is that nothing is built there and for the next who-knows-how-many years there aren’t any increased taxes paid on this property other than it’s vacant lot rate.  This is called an investment - that will produce dividends over the long run.
Also, these projects stop suburban sprawl.  Sprawl requires things like new infrastructure.  That is expensive and developers pay little to nothing for it.  This project capitalizes on existing infrastructure and nothing extra is usually needed.

May 15, 2016 at 4:31 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Engineer

Susan, I agree with you totally.  The math does not pencil out.  Unfortunately, we have a system of development here in our state where builders have plenty of rural vacant land, as Jesse points out.  Jesse is, unfortunately, right.  If Tacoma doesn’t give away tax breaks, this developer will build somewhere else.  That may be Lakewood, Federal Way, or Fife if one of those cities is willing to give a tax break.  Admittedly, the development would look a bit different in one of those locations.  Or, they may choose to build a more sprawling development near Roy or Frederickson which will cost our state and county a lot of money to build and upgrade streets, freeways, and utility systems.  Any way you do the math, we, the taxpayers, lose.  I, too, want to see the days of corporate giveaways come to an end.  But, for our city to see development, it is almost an obligation to hand out tax breaks.  A great step towards ending this would be a strengthening of the Growth Management Act to further restrict the development of our western Washington forests and force developers to look to already urbanized areas for development.

May 17, 2016 at 7:39 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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altered chords

Like Jesse said - the abatement staves off the onerous punishment (in the form of a tax) to the developer for improving the land.  You have a dirt lot - that’s a tax of $2,000/month….Oh…you are building on it….OK….Now your tax is $58,333 per month.  The “public benefit” is that we have a place where people can live instead of a dirt lot.  People who will buy beer in Tacoma.  That will cause even more breweries to open.  The people complaining about this need to get out in the sun a little bit.  You are not getting enough vitamin D.

May 17, 2016 at 4:23 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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