Tacoma Mall: Desirable, Walkable Neighborhood?

The developers of the new Pacifica apartments are betting that a strong rental market in Tacoma, along with shiny new amenities and views of the mountains will help them fill the pair of 177-unit apartment towers going up next to the Pine Street entrance to the Tacoma Mall. And they don’t think proximity to the shopping and dining opportunities of the mall hurt, either.

According to the TNT:

It represents a growing trend in urban America where developers are laying wagers that the synergy of close-by shopping and dining as well as a well-developed infrastructure will make the new housing a magnet for residents.

The area around the mall is attractive to developers because, as a mixed-use center, it qualifies for the City of Tacoma’s Multi-Family Tax Exemption Program, making development cheaper, with the goal of encouraging higher-density development in the City’s mixed-use centers. The rates at the Pacifica are comparable to those found at Thea’s Landing on the Foss Waterway, and the Copperline apartments at Point Ruston, but the developers seem confident in the strength of Tacoma’s rental market.

We never thought of the mall as a desirable, walkable mixed-use neighborhood…

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“We never thought of the mall as a desirable, walkable mixed-use neighborhood”

It would be if there was a supermarket and a hardware store within close walking distance.The only thing close are the super expensive item limited goods in the nearby convenience/gas stations like the 7-11 and Circle K.

The Tacoma Mall used to have a supermarket in it many years ago though.

January 22, 2013 at 2:52 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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The problem with the mall is that it has no connection with the neighbourhood around it. If they were to develop it similar to westgate mall in Madison, wI, where they created streets, store fronts, multi story car parking and a cinema and restaurant area it would do a lot more.

January 22, 2013 at 8:44 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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That Girl

I agree.  While I’m not opposed to malls in general (I certainly think a centralized indoor mall is preferable to a bunch of strip malls) I don’t think the Tacoma Mall is at all well integrated into anything.  Too many acres of surface parking, too few other reasons to be there, or pedestrian-friendly access points.  Maybe if people rent the apartments, that will help – if the whole area could be more built up to have a denser, more urban feel, maybe it would be more attractive.  Right now it may be a retail destination, but it doesn’t feel much like a neighborhood.

January 22, 2013 at 9:12 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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In the last thirty years, I have been to the Tacoma Mall a handful of times. It has never appealed to me as a place to go.

January 23, 2013 at 8:18 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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I can’t imagine walking from any of the residences across the parking lots. I have tried riding my bike and walking from place to place around the mall, Half-price books to Petco for example. Not a pleasant or safe experience. There needs to be a lot of mobility improvements for this to work.

January 23, 2013 at 8:39 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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They should grid off the mall area and parking lots into a street grid with sidewalks… just like city blocks.

January 23, 2013 at 9:12 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

more walk-ability from bars to the neighborhoods esp if you’ve had too much to drink would be good.

January 23, 2013 at 9:28 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Good point RR

January 23, 2013 at 10:01 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Dan H.

There are a ton of people living near the mall’s Pine Street entrance already, but the connections and streetscapes to get them out on foot just aren’t there.  A grocery store is also lacking. I hope that these new apartments encourage the mall owners to make some improved connections to the neighborhood instead of dead end sidewalks blocked off by landscaping.  I’m not a big fan of the Mall, even though I am employed at the adjacent 6 story office tower across from these new apartments. I do however, think we need to improve areas where people already are in addition to focusing on the places we want them to be (e.g. Downtown).  When I look out the window from my office, I see a sea of apartments, with no amenities other than the nearby mall.  This area does have potential, but it also needs a lot of work.

January 23, 2013 at 6:50 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I agree! It’s not just the amenities being close by, it’s the walkability of the infrastructure that connects it. That area is very car-oriented and it feels unsafe and unwelcoming to walk in.

But in our suburban wasteland, we gotta start somewhere. Maybe this is a step that direction?

January 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Also that area has a lot of child-teen gang thugs,vandals and should be cleaned up of that particular undesired element (thug or gang families should be evicted no one should rent to them).

January 24, 2013 at 3:15 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Altered Chords

JJ – good point.  Just add a few additional questions to the rental application

14) Are you a thug?  Y   N

15)Will you be sharing this dwelling with a gang family   Y   N

16)If 15 was “Y”, which gang:  KO Crips, Hilltop Crips,  ESL13,  Other (please specify)

That’ll keep the riff raff out.

January 31, 2013 at 1:37 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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