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“Tacoma’s Auto Row” Becoming Official
As a part of ongoing efforts to support Tacoma businesses, the City has been working with car dealerships on South Tacoma Way to identify ways to promote their businesses and increase auto sales in Tacoma.
The auto dealers, who collectively generate significant tax revenue for Tacoma, as well as more than 1,000 jobs, expressed interest in their district being designated an official commercial district, and in applying to the State for signage along I-5 directing drivers from I-5 their way. Most of Tacoma's car dealerships have been located on South Tacoma Way since that road was the major north-south corridor, before I-5 was built in 1960.
A resolution on next week's City Council meeting agenda would establish “Tacoma’s Auto Row” on South Tacoma Way as a commercial district and to allow the auto dealers to submit an application to WSDOT for directional signage on I-5.
Not just anyone can post signs along I-5; to do that a business must fit into one of WSDOT's approved categories of gas, food, lodging, camping, recreation, tourist activities or 24 hour pharmacy. It sounds like the car dealers would be going for the "tourist activity" category, under the WSDOT definition.
Be a commercial district as adopted by a city ordinance or resolution with a minimum of one million square feet of leasable commercial space located within one square mile. The commercial district must provide a unique commercial activity where the majority of the district's customers do not reside in the city where the commercial district is located. The commercial district shall be located within one mile of the nearest state highway. Only the name of the commercial district will be displayed on the business sign, corporate logos may not be displayed.
If approved, the signage would be installed at no cost the City, whereas any additional sales gained from drivers directed to the strip would bring in revenue.
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