Work Begins Soon on The Proctor

Last weekend we noticed that the outdated strip mall at the corner of North 28th and Proctor had been razed, and wondered how long it would be until construction would begin on the mixed-use project that will replace it.

It turns out the answer is that the wait won't be long at all. The News Tribune today reports that construction will begin on The Proctor the week after the long 4th of July weekend.

The project was waiting on approval for vacation of the air rights over the alley that runs through the block. That approval finally when the Hearing Examiner approved the vacation of air rights, allowing for the project to move forward, despite the strenuous objections of some Proctor neighborhood residents. With that, and approval by council of both the vacation and a multi-family tax credit, the project is off and running.

Given the heated debate over the project, are you excited to see work begin, or dreading the changes?

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I live close to this project and I dread the scale of it. You can’t stop development though, especially when one of the major backers used to sit on the Tacoma City Council.

June 27, 2014 at 9:40 am / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 2


There goes the neighborhood.

June 27, 2014 at 9:44 am / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 6

Jenny JRegistered

I’m excited. I’m looking forward to the vibrancy and activity that will come with more feet on the street and a new building with new retail spaces.

June 27, 2014 at 9:49 am / Reply / Quote and reply

7 | 1


We need about twice as many people living within the city limits to get the density it really requires to be a “city.” Until then, we’ll always be a dumpy, back water port in the shadows of Seattle. People are moving here—they’ve got to go somewhere. Personally, I’d like most of the new construction to go downtown, but neighborhoods have to absorb some as well.

June 27, 2014 at 11:05 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Doug Andreassen

Having grown up in the Procter area many years ago, (enough to remember the day President Kennedy was assassinated and the reaction from the local business owners), I can say that this development is long overdue. I do not buy the philosophy that the neighborhood is being lost to development. I have witnessed what happens when developments like this go into neighborhoods and the vitality of the community certainly rises. Now the local merchants from the Blue Mouse Theater, to the restaurants to the Train Hobby shop, Bicycle Merchant etc.. will continue to prosper along with the other merchants up and down the Procter area. Let’s invite developers into these communities and the economic benefit that comes with this growth. We need to continue to support the vibrancy that is coming to Tacoma, and yet preserve those institutions that have historical value, as well as the charm that we all love so much about our city. It is always a fine balance, lets embrace and shed some of that ‘gritty’ Tacoma that comes with growth.

June 27, 2014 at 12:23 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

6 | 1


The architectural style is Early American Housing Projects. Cabrini Green replicated right here in the Tacoma’s north end. 

The residents of the Proctor District, some of them second and third generation, do not deserve this.  The proposed building is out of scale with it’s neighbors and will result in nearby homeowners living in it’s shadow.

June 27, 2014 at 1:00 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 6


It is physically impossible for it to cast a shadow on a homeowner. To the west is a church and phone company. To the east are commercial properties. To the north is a school.  All of these neighbors are across street and are set back from the road. It probably won’t even cast a shadow long enough to reach them for more than a few minutes in the early mornings and evenings. The shadow argument is refuted by simply looking at a map and having a rudimentary understanding of geometry.

June 27, 2014 at 4:02 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

5 | 2


If a person goes to their own website they will find renderings of the project.  In one of them the view is looking west from an angle of about where the sun would be in the sun would be in the sky at 11:00AM.  The windows of the homes are just visible over the roofline of the project. 

As far as a rudimentary understanding of geometry, I have two years of college calculus under my belt, with nearly a 4.0 GPA in all my college level math classes.  But, light travels pretty much in a straight line through the atmosphere and your own rendering illustrates what I am pointing out.

June 28, 2014 at 4:38 am / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 8


I couldn’t find the rendering you were writing about, but saying you took math classes is not the same as using math. I also took college calculus, but as I said, only geometry is necessary. This table shows the Altitude angle (in degrees) of the sun in Tacoma on March 20, the solar equinox, or the most average day of the year At 11:00 am the altitude is 34.1 degrees. I assume the height of the building is 65 feet, the max allowed by zoning as far as I know. So… 65 ft / tan(34.1deg) = 96 ft. Measure off 96 feet on a map now and tell me how many houses zoned single family residential that hits.

June 30, 2014 at 7:47 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 2


You may have to actually use this link and input the values to get the table.

Anyway, undoubtedly you can find some times at which the shadow of the building will hit some portion of some home owner’s property, but the point I am making is that the impact will be quite small when it comes to shade.

June 30, 2014 at 7:54 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 2


It would not surprise me the rendering were been taken down subsequent to my pointing this out a few months ago. 

“This table shows the Altitude angle (in degrees) of the sun in Tacoma on March 20, the solar equinox, or the most average day of the year”

And in the winter, when the sun is low in the sky, when most people would benefit from direct sunlight exposure the average isn’t at all representative.  Is it? 

FYI, I had to pass geometry to advance to trigonometry and I had to pass trigonometry to advance to pre calculus and I had to pass pre calc to advance to calc and I had to pass calc to advance to multivariate calculus, linear algebra and advanced materials science and structural engineering classes.  I got close to a four point GPA in the above classes and furthermore I was actively recruited to tutor those classes.  Not only do I know mathematics, I assure you I know how to apply mathematics.  And the State of Washington also certifies that I am perfectly capable of using mathematics to solve complex problems. 

How about your credentials?

July 1, 2014 at 8:43 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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July 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

5 | 0


That is simply not true.  “The Proctor,” now only half built, is already blocking out the daylight at the eating establishment Knapps.  It is a shame what it will do for the old charm of the neighborhood.  There is dwindling intention in the expansion of neighborhoods, growth for the sake of growth.  While change is indeed certain, change in which direction, is the choice at hand.  In this case, made by a small number of public officials.  Refusing to listen to the greater community’s vision.

January 23, 2015 at 12:10 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 3

D Hill

Sad, stupid, and short-sighted.  This building is replacing businesses that have been in the Proctor area for years and that were well loved.  I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess, that anyone or anything can be replaced at the drop of a dollar, which now has more value than anything else.  Wasn’t there a restriction on how high buildings could be in this area?  In the drawing of the building, the whole atmosphere of Proctor is changed from intimate to imitation ‘urban’.  This will not entice me to spend more time in the Proctor district.

June 27, 2014 at 1:28 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 5


This is the culmination of Evans maneuvering for well over a decade.  Fact of the matter is he is responsible for the angle parking in front to the school, he conspired with City staff to increase available on street parking in preparation for an application for reducing his on site parking requirements.  This project has been granted waivers, deferrals and exemptions from every requirement imaginable and of those requirements he could not get around he got the Council to change or amend.  The project is the high rise equivalent of manufactured homes, the apartments will be just as tacky and shoddily constructed. 

The target demographic wants to live in and enjoy a neighborhood that long time residents have cultivated and nurtured, but without the economic sacrifices that purchasing a home in the Proctor District entail.  They will have not investment in Proctor and Bill Evans and Erling Kester, for all their bluster don’t reside within the neighborhood like they say they do.  Bill Evans is an opportunist who is looking to cash in at the expense of long tome residents. 

That is the alpha and omega of what this project is all about.

June 27, 2014 at 2:20 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 8

Jim C

The only good news about how this came to be is that it’s extremely unlikely that another developer is going to be able to hit all the height “bonus palette” requirements necessary to achieve the same scale unless they somehow acquire another square half a block of real estate in the neighborhood.  I’m not sure how that’s ever going to happen.

The result is that this is going to stick out like a sore thumb; like the other prefab condo/apartment structures popping up around town it will always be a reminder of a specific era, whether that association is positive or negative remains to be seen.  I’m pretty sure the creation of apartment housing doesn’t *raise* surrounding property values as a general rule.

June 27, 2014 at 4:15 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 5


Word on the street is that plans are moving forward to put up another apartment building just north of Metropolitan Market.

September 19, 2014 at 11:28 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 0


That would be the final nail in the coffin for The Proctor District.  Your monstrosity will have the effect of transforming that neighborhood from being overwhelmingly owner occupied residents into a neighborhood that is more transient and does not have a long term investment in that particular neighborhood.  Another development of this nature and the Proctor District will have been fundamentally transformed from what it has been into something entirely different.  The Proctor District has been one of the neighborhoods of choice for people seeking a certain type of neighbor, i.e. stable and with a long term investment in the neighborhood. 

Do the research and you will find out that resident stability is one of the most desirable traits of neighborhoods like Proctor used to be.  Having a large number of apartments, particularly studio apartments has of negative effect of attracting a transient population.  What is more this transient population is from a demographic that is all together different than what the current population is made up of.

September 20, 2014 at 1:56 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 2

Erik B.

Incredible.  Hopefully they can pull it off.  In the top 3 percent of projects built in the last 60 years in Tacoma.  Usually, all Tacoma gets is a bunch of car centric strip malls.  Here are the components of it:

1) Adding housing in one of Tacoma’s mixed use centers.

2) Adding retail on the “main street” of Proctor repairing come of the urban fabric.

3) Built right next to the street for pedestrian walkability and friendliness helping complete a living room feeling.

4) Filling in a muddy parking lot which was scary and unsightly hole in the urban fabric.

5) Parking entrance around the back of the project rather than on the main street.

6) Brick exterior.

Wow.  A 9.5/10 project.  Almost nothing with so many favorable factors have come into Tacoma for half a century.  There a great number of historical examples though pre 1950 before Tacoma’s car centric era.

June 27, 2014 at 2:53 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

8 | 3


Erik..all your points make even more sense to add to this neighborhood. I am sure those that saw the Starbucks go in on the corner, thought the neighborhood was being sold to corporate interests, yet this one addition has also added some vitality to the community. Lets hope they are able to complete this project.

June 27, 2014 at 5:20 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 2

Deirdre E

I love all the positive growth taking place within Proctor. Progress brings more progress… This project is going to bring more people, businesses, shops and cafés into our neighborhood.
I am so ready to have a real vibrant community. Metro market is being remodeled, Washington school is being fixed up and now a real mixed use project is being developed that will bring in housing and new businesses.
It is a very exciting time in Proctor.

June 27, 2014 at 9:44 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 2


A great project.  If you don’t like density, don’t live in the city.

June 29, 2014 at 12:32 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

5 | 3

Published Author RR AndersonRegistered

the time to gentrify Proctor neighborhood is NOW.  High time we push out all the riff-Raff

June 30, 2014 at 7:24 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 2


Amazing!  Not only do we have to deal with the out-of-place scale of this development, a beautiful old tree on N 28th has been cut down to accommodate it.  Really?  At a time when the City is trying to increase the tree canopy city-wide?  In my opinion, this is just another slap in the face of local residents who are asking for something, anything, to make this inevitable monster fit within our community.  Thanks Ehrling and Bill!  For nothing.

July 12, 2014 at 2:16 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 4

More coming

Are you ready for another 6 story apartment complex on the block to the north of Metropolitan Market? 

Talk on the street is this is a done deal and the city planners and city council have kept it hushed until it is too far along to stop.  This large scale development in Proctor is not going to stop until we change the city council who turned a deaf ear on the North End Neighborhood Council’s original recommendation more than 6 years ago to retain development height restriction in Proctor to 45 feet.  The planning commission and city council ignored the NENC’s input and unbeknownst to most of the general public introduced a “bonus” program to allow developers to get to 65+ feet in Proctor. 

This drastic change, which is going to dramatically reshape the Proctor District, should have required a vote of the taxpayers in the district, not just a handful of officials who have proven they are in the pocket of the developers, one of which happens to be a former city council member Bill Evans. Prior to breaking ground, a petition with well over 400 signatures was sent to Bill Evans asking him to respect the overwhelming wishes of the Proctor neighborhood residents to restrict the height of the development to 45 feet. 
Sadly, Anders Ibsen has been complacent and a fully behind the scale of the development without representing the majority of citizens in his district who are not opposed to the development, but want to retain the 45 height restriction.  City planners and city council ignoring overwhelming input from taxpayers and the organized neighborhood council’s original recommendation of height restriction builds mistrust and frustration between the city and citizens.

What can you do?  1) Contact Ibsen and tell him that you want him to represent the wishes of his constituents and introduce legislation to repeal the bonus program in Proctor. 2)  Contact Tacoma’s planning commission and tell them you are not pleased with the way the bonus program got approved without a majority of taxpayers knowing about and having a chance to voice their concerns before it was too late.  3) Keep all of this in mind when you cast your ballot for the upcoming city council election. 

May 1, 2015 at 7:55 am / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 3


As someone living in the same district that supports this type of development I find it funny that you think you have the pulse of the district.  It is your job as a citizen to follow the Planning Commission/Council when they introduce density bonuses and code updates.  You can read their agenda online so the ignorance on these changes is self-imposed on those who choose not to educate themselves. 

Now with this new development north of Metropolitan Market I don’t see what you can stop it if the zoning permits such uses.  I also find it funny that some sort of forewarning from the City is needed on each and every project in Proctor now, and not letting you know is somehow collusionary.  Anyways, good luck.  Anders is running unopposed, but its not like he has the unilateral power to stop a perfectly zoned project without variance from happening in his own district.

May 1, 2015 at 9:19 am / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 4


Notice Xeno is not responding “as someone who has an ownership interest in real estate the Proctor District.”  It is easy for someone who has not made a long term commitment in any neighborhood, as evidenced by them signing a mortgage, to advocate for wholesale change to a neighborhood they have made no long term commitment to.

May 1, 2015 at 9:42 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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I own a house in this area.  Just north of it in fact.  Happy?

May 1, 2015 at 10:33 am / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 0


This will fundamentally transform the Proctor Neighborhood from being a large of owner occupied, detached, single family residences into a neighborhood in which the vast majority of residents have no long term commitment.  Renters, by definition have no “ownership interest” and as such are not concerned with the long term viability of a neighborhood.



May 1, 2015 at 8:23 am / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 0

More Coming

Xeno, you miss the main points that the Planning Commission and the Council ignored the recommendation of those actively involved in opposing changing the height restrictions.  Not sure who you are talking to, but the consensus among the 400+ people who signed the petition and the overwhelming majority of the dozens I have spoken with is that Proctor residents are for development, but at the 45’ height restriction.

May 1, 2015 at 9:46 am / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 0


Despite you have a list of 400 people supporting your point that it should be 45 ft you’re going about this the wrong way.  You should have had 400 people responding to the original height bonus issue when it was on Planning Commission’s plate.  Council can’t rule on anything on this issue other than the code updates.  There is a comprehensive plan update going on this year.  Do you have your people mobilized to deal with the issue the right way?  Because going after individual developments that don’t require variances will get you nowhere.

May 1, 2015 at 10:37 am / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 1

More Coming

Xeno, addressing the issue starts with making a factual outline of points, which has been done.  I will state it again, the issue is that the city and the representatives need to find a way to keep the average citizen abreast of proposed changes before they are made.  These 400+ people would have surely made their opposition heard had they known about the proposed relaxation of the height restriction through the “bonus” program.

Moreover, why was the North End Neighborhood Council’s original recommendation ignored?  NENC proactively engages in issues affecting the district and this was no exception.  Much time and effort was spent on their response to the planning commission’s proposal.  I am not going after an individual project, I am encouraging those who oppose this unpopular height variance to contact the planning commission and Anders Ibsen to have their voice heard and to take steps to revert the height restriction back to 45’ in Proctor.  Again, something with such a large impact on the district should have been put out to vote or at least a well-advertised solicitation of feedback.  If the majority within the Proctor district really want 65+ feet buildings, the city shouldn’t be fearful of a open, well-advertised, and inclusive dialogue on the subject before the bonus program was enacted.

May 1, 2015 at 11:17 am / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 0


You get three chances at a completely transparent, advertised, and inclusive dialogue.  Don’t expect a red carpet to be thrown in your direction, nor a vote on the matter (never heard of this ever happening; don’t even think it is legal under zoning laws).  1) Comprehensive Plan updates and changing density bonsues 2) The SEPA public notice of the project 3) The Planning Commission website that posts the agenda and minutes of all their meetings.

The NENC letter you state was advisory and I’m sure someone read it and took it under consideration.  The likely answer to your question of why it wasn’t considered is based off of how the City promotes density bonuses for affordable housing.  I’m not sure why the NENC opposed 20 more feet in the original letter you state, but it probably did not outweigh the City’s need for affordable housing.

May 1, 2015 at 1:22 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0


In other words More Coming:  The self appointed masterminds have spoken and you will obey.

May 1, 2015 at 2:05 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 0


I don’t make the rules.  I just know them.


May 1, 2015 at 2:27 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0


Sheesh, If Tacoma needed endless public hearings and a public vote every time a big apartment building got planned, nothing would ever get built. And this project would easily win in a general Tacoma election and I’d guess it still would win a District #1 election. Cheer up, I never got to vote for the County methadone clinic down the street from my house either. Wanna trade? It isn’t easy, but I think the Proctor District will come out stronger because of this. Growth is a good thing, right? At this point there is nothing left to do but have a stiff drink at Knapps or TP Bill Evan’s house. (or did he move to Gig Harbor to avoid the snarled Proctor traffic?)

May 1, 2015 at 11:53 am / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 1

More Coming

Missed the message Terry…not suggesting every proposed apartment building gets put to a vote, but I am saying the planning commission and city council should not unilaterally decided to circumvent the established height restriction without first soliciting feedback from the neighbors/taxpayers who have for years invested money, time, and effort in building Proctor the community.  This will be the second 150+ unit apartment building in the Proctor District in less than 18 months and the resounding feedback is that the scale is way out of proportion for the rest of Proctor.

May 1, 2015 at 9:52 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 0


OK, so walk me though this… if the project would have been capped at 45 ft high, you’d support it? Or is it the 150+ units you don’t like? Look at this way…. 600+ people get to move into a wonderful new apartment in one of the best neighborhoods in the NW. It’s a good deal for those folks, right? It’s a free country and people can live anywhere they like. It’s also a free country built on a history of real estate speculation and building stuff. I agree about zoning laws and local input, but somehow I get the feeling that isn’t the real problem here. It’s those new 600 people isn’t it? Don’t worry, more growth is on it’s way!

May 2, 2015 at 10:42 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

More Coming

I along with many of the neighborhood residents would be supportive of reasonable development in Proctor if the city would have retained the 45 foot height restriction, ensured the building designs complemented the historic buildings in the neighborhood, and listened to concerns about traffic, parking, and the schools.  If you haven’t read it, get a hold of the North End Neighborhood Council’s original response to the planning commissions then-proposed changes to the zoning height in Proctor.  Overall, they did a good job of summarizing the concerns well ahead of the implemented changes.

May 3, 2015 at 9:27 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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