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Update: Plans for High-Priority City-Owned Properties
In 2012 the City of Tacoma established a framework for disposing of properties that it owns, but which are either unused or under-utilized. That framework involved assigning surplus City-owned properties to three tiers, with Tier 1 being those viewed as the highest priority to be transitioned to a better use - most likely by a private developer.
These Tier 1 properties share several characteristics. They are generally strategically located, larger or high-visibility pieces of property with values generally above $500,000. The City sees potential for their future uses to align with its economic development goals and/or implementation of key policies.
13 properties were classified as Tier 1. The City has actively marketed some of those, while others are on the back burner, seen as having greater long-term potential. At a meeting of the Economic Development Committee of the City Council earlier this week staff presented status updates on those 13 properties.
Convention Center Parking Lots - This two-acre, $6.2 million piece of property just south of the Convention Center is probably the most high-profile success story to date from the list. The City signed a deal with Yareton Investments earlier this fall to enter into initial development phases for the construction of a 300 room hotel, with the possibility of additional residential development in the future. The project is currently in the initial five-month due diligence period, and the City has received the initial transfer of $575,000 earnest money deposit.
1110-1124 MLK/James Walton Renaissance Site - This half-acre site in the Hilltop is actually four parcels being developed by two developers.
- 1110-1114 MLK - Kellogg Sicker and Pochert buildings - These two parcels have been sold to private developer KSP, who is working to renovate the historic buildings as a mixed-use development. Some interior work has been done, and design plans have passed Landmarks Preservation Commission review. The developer is now in the process of completing drawings and plans for permit approval, and is expected to submit them in the next couple weeks, which means he could have permits sometime in January, if all goes well.
- 1120-1124 - Hilltop Lofts - The other two parcels of the site are a vacant lot and the one-story building currently housing the Mr. Mac clothing store. Tacoma Housing Authority is moving forward with plans to develop the parcels as a new construction mixed-use project. THA has some funding and is in the design phase following stakeholder meetings and an open house. They expect to have schematic designs ready to share sometime this month, and will be looking for full funding for the project. (A rendering from this week's presentation is shown above.)
21st and Jefferson - This is one of the larger properties on the Tier 1 list, with a $5.1 million assessed value. Environmental remediation for the site is complete, and the City sees it as a candidate for catalytic mixed-use development. An RFP issued for the site did not elicit any satisfactory proposals. The City continues to market the site, and has one developer expressing active interest, although there has been no proposal yet. At this point the City isn't considering subdividing the property; although staff didn't completely rule that out in the long-run, the feeling is that the large chunk of property is a real opportunity, and after taking so long to assemble, they're not ready to dismantle it.
Tacoma Dome Lot A & Tacoma Dome Lot G - These two lots comprise 18 acres of surface parking at the Dome. Lot A sits just north of the LeMay Museum, and lot G is the wedge-shaped lot east of the Dome, up against I-5. There has been no active marketing of these lots, though the City has had discussions with LeMay ACM leadership about uses for Lot A that could connect to the museum as well as the Dome District. Lot G in particular offers high visibility from I-5 for potential development, but lost Dome parking would have to be accounted for before any development could move forward. The City sees high potential for future development, and is continuing to analyze the potential, but at this point the emphasis is on future.
35th and Pacific - We haven't heard much about this site yet. It's more than four acres made up of multiple parcels, backed up to a ravine on one side, and separated from Pacific Avenue on the other by private property. It's a former landfill site with an assessed value of $176,000, and the potential to be a view property. The City would like to see it turn from a vacant lot into multi-family residential, commercial, or institutional development. Although it sits adjacent to Pierce County property, the County has said they aren't interested in it, and if they were, it would be for use as surface parking, which doesn't match City goals. They have had some interest from developers - some more in keeping with City goals for the site than others. Those projects include interest from a developer of moderately priced "Street of Dreams" residential development, a developer of single-family and multi-family homes, and a storage facility company. City staff is in the process of drafting an RFP to be ready sometime in the first quarter of 2015.
2308 Holgate, Street Operations Administration, & Street Operations Yard - This three-acre site in the Brewery District includes more than 47,000 square feet of building space over three separate parcels zoned warehouse-residential, with an assessed value of $2.3 million. The buildings require various amounts of work, but are generally good candidates for adaptive reuse. Any development here would require the relocation of City operations, but they're willing to do that for the right catalytic development project. In 2013 the City issued an RFP for development of the site, and received seven responses, of which one met criteria, and led to further discussions with the developer. That proposal was ultimately turned down as well when it became clear that the developer planned to sit on the property until density and market values increased, and said that any other private developer would likely do the same. Since the City wants this project to be a catalyst for development, the wait-for-the-market approach didn't work for them, and the RFP was cancelled. The site is currently being "softly marketed," and the City is open to proposals for its development.
Municipal Parking Lot, Park Plaza North, Sauro Site, & Beacon Senior Center - These last four properties are all within the downtown commercial core, and are seen as good opportunities for high-density residential infill, but come with various constraints. There is no active marketing for or immediate plan to sell these sites, but the City is open to sharing information when approached by potential developers.
- Municipal Parking Lot - Assessed at $805,500, this property is currently used as a parking lot. The property is actually owned by the Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority, and the City owes $784,000 plus annual interest to TCRA for taking over the lot.
- Park Plaza North - Assessed at a little over $2 million, this is operated as more parking, plus some retail. It needs seismic upgrades, and several of the ground parcels are owned by private parties, and would have to be purchased prior to redevelopment. The building itself is owned by the City. There is some discussion going on about moving Spaceworks into some of the empty storefront spaces.
- Sauro Site - Assessed at $608,800, this is more parking.
- Beacon Senior Center - Assessed at $986,400, the property is currently occupied by a senior center, so is not surplus to City needs.
So, there you have it. Going into 2015, we'll look forward to seeing a couple of the active properties drop off this list, and a few more move over to the active marketing side of things. Do any of them strike your fancy?
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