Exit133 is about Tacoma
Tacoma Town Center Looks Ready to Take A Step Forward
Last fall we wrote about a proposal to build a sizeable mixed-use development on Jefferson between South 21st and 23rd, just southwest of the UW Tacoma campus footprint. This wasn't the first such plan, and we hadn't heard much on it recently, but it appears that the project has been moving forward.
Last we heard, the developer was working on a feasibility study to be submitted to the City by the end of 2015. Now we see a resolution on next week's council meeting consent agenda that would set a hearing for the vacation of a piece of City-owned right-of-way to accommodate mixed-use development. The right-of-way in question is two blocks of Fawcett Avenue, where it runs through the big empty blocks of City-owned property that would be used for the project.
Wuhan, China-based North America Asset Management Group, the LLC listed on supporting documents related to the vacation request. The NAAMG website headline reads "Real Estate Investment Project involving the development and construction of Tacoma Town Center." A brief description of the Town Center project appeared in a February 2016 economic development update from the City, describing the project as:
"... a $125 million mixed-use urban village that will meet the needs of the growing academic population, which includes more than 5,000 students..."
The NAAMG website gives further details.
- 6 acres
- 8 buildings
- 5 stories
- 2019 completion date
- A grocery store
- a mix of shop, restaurant, and food courts
A draft of a flyer for the project shows sample images of bustling retail and mixed-use projects like what they would like to build, and lists some potential amenities:
- 195,000 square-feet of retail, including 90,000 square-feet of retail and 360 residential and student housing units
- 600 parking stalls
- A gracious open-air setting features an arrival court
- Multiple retail buildings
- A student housing tower
- 2 residential towers
- An office tower
Conceptual renderings show that circular arrival court, outdoor seating, and of course lots of foot traffic.
The project is being marketed heavily to EB-5 investors. These are foreign investors who would put a minimum of $500,000 into the project, and be required to create and/or save at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers in exchange for an EB-5 (employment based) visa - a visa they would receive in exchange for the jobs created by their project.
In marketing this location to potential investors, the NAAMG materials focus on the proximity to a growing UW Tacoma, museums, and other parts of downtown and the Stadium district, as well as high schools and colleges in the area, and easy access both to Tacoma, and to the freeway. If you're wondering what they're saying, there's a short video featuring Mayor Strickland speaking to "What is so special about Tacoma, Washington?"
The council hearing on the vacation of land for the project looks like it will be set for May 12, if the resolution gets adopted as-is at this Tuesday's council meeting. That would be a very early step in what will likely be a lengthy process for this development.
In the NAAMG draft brochure we see phase 1 delivery forecast for summer 2017. That seems a little early, but the City update does say work on the project could begin as early as this fall, and that Kidder Mathews is currently seeking tenants for the retail component of the project.
Are you excited for some new downtown development?
Do you want to help the folks at Exit133 pay our bills and keep up with of all things Tacoma? Do you want to see even more coverage? Exit133 has always been free to read and comment, and it will stay that way. However, over the years, readers have contributed to the bank account to help us keep up our coverage of goings-on around town. Contribute and this message disappears!Support Exit133