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What’s Next For 11th & MLK?

The Washington State Department of Commerce now owns a big chunk of prime Hilltop real estate, thanks to a June settlement with the Martin Luther King Housing Development Association.

The property in question was supposed to become an ambitious mixed-use, mixed-income development. That was the plan back in 2008, before the MLKHDA began having some very public troubles. The existing building on the site was demoed, and a $4 million grant was spent (or misspent, depending on who you ask), but the development never became a reality. Which brings us to that big empty lot at 11th and MLK in the heart of the MLK business district.

According to The News Tribune the state didn't technically pay the MLKHDA for the property, but the development authority will be relieved of its obligations to creditors and unpaid taxes related to the failed project. The Department of Commerce assumed those debts, and has dealt with many of them to keep the property from going into foreclosure. There are still various debts to be cleared up, and of course, the question of what to do with that prime piece of property.

The TNT writes that "Commerce wants to recover some of its lost money while also keeping in line with the project’s original goal" of providing housing and services to low-income and homeless individuals and families. That could come in the form of affordable housing, or it could look a little different; the idea of a permanent home for the Evergreen Tacoma campus has been discussed as one possibilty to bring services to the community.

With the MLK Subarea Plan, the Urban Land Institute report, and the MLK route chosen for a future Link extension; and discussions around gentrification and tree planting; a piece of property at 11th and MLK might not be a bad asset to have, and the right development could be a step in the right direction for the neighborhood.

What would you like to see on that block?

With plans for a Tacoma Housing Authority mixed-use project nearby already in the works, do we need more affordable/low-income housing in the Hilltop?


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Comments

Hubbify

I like the idea of a permanent home for an Evergreen Tacoma campus. It would certainly make for a great hub of socioeconomic activity and revitalization in the neighborhood, and Tacoma in general.

August 22, 2013 at 10:01 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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NickB

A quick visit to the housing authority and you’ll discover there’s a huge wait list for affordable housing.  Pair that with the lack of rent control in our area and it amounts to super-fast gentrification if we don’t get more affordable housing soon.  For those of us that dream of the hilltop being a wonderful AND diverse neighborhood in the future: we need to stick up for access to housing.

August 24, 2013 at 11:12 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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