Exit133 is about Tacoma
(Re)Planning the Tacoma Mall Area
This June the City of Tacoma will begin work on a master plan to guide development in the Tacoma Mall area. The City has been awarded a $250,000 National Estuary Program (NEP) Watershed Grant towards the development of a subarea plan and EIS for the area.
As an identified "Regional Growth Center," the Tacoma Mall area has been designated to accomodate growth - office, retail, and multi-family residential - over the coming years and decades at the next highest density after the downtown core.
The subarea and EIS processes will open up the question of specific development plans and dimensions, but according to the PSRC profile, the area could see developments up to 10 stories tall. The PSRC profile describes an area that is younger, more diverse, and more affordable on average than the rest of the region. According to the profile, 81% of the 485 acres included in the Mall subarea is considered developable, and the area as a whole has been growing in both residents and jobs.
The planning process hasn't really kicked off yet, but we're guessing you can expect to see a heavy emphasis on transportation options, efforts aimed at improving streets and public spaces to be more attractive (attractive at all?) to pedestrians, and probably a focus on mixed-use development, as we've seen in the other subarea plans.
Like the other three now complete subarea planning and EIS processes for north and south downtown, and the Hilltop neighborhood, this subarea plan and EIS will set the groundwork for development on an areawide scale for decades to come.
The long-term vision for the Tacoma Mall area, as described in the EPA grant summary, has it continuing as the major retail center for Tacoma and the surrounding area, and a site for major infill development to accomodate increased growth, but improving in terms of walkability and general livability.
The Tacoma Mall Regional Growth Center represents a model opportunity for the redevelopment of an existing auto-oriented, low-density mall to become a compact and complete community center that supports local, regional and watershed scale best management practices.
To move towards doing that is certainly going to take some planning.
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