Thursday, September 27, 2007

Getting the North End's 'Bad Boys' In Order - Reprise'

Two months after we posted about plans put in action to improve the Winthrop and Olympus low-income housing developments--which we characterized as "bad boys" in the north end of downtown--the community is giving a reality check to that activity.

Tuesday, the Tacoma City Council's Economic Development Committee heard a report from the Prium Companies, current owners of the Winthrop, about replacement low-income housing (part of their loan agreement with the City of Tacoma). The good news is that two replacement sites are being considered by Prium: one at 34th & Pacific (50 units) and another on Tyler (80 units). The bad news may be that the former Browne’s Star Grill in Upper Tacoma was also considered until local opposition killed the idea--hopefully not the beginning of NIMBYism against relocation of the 170 low-income residents from the Winthrop.

Next Monday afternoon, the Tacoma City Council's Neighborhoods & Housing Committee will hear from the Korean Women's Association about their intentions concerning the purchase of the Olympus. A drastic change is needed in how this building is currently managed because of the significant impact this historic building has on surrounding businesses and the general environment of the north end. The meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. in Room 248 of the Tacoma Municipal Building.

1 comment:

  1. I think the proposal is going to be good for a number of reasons.

    1) Better design

    One benefit will be is that much of the problems with the Winthrop have been with the design of the building as all of the residents sharing internal common areas which leads to high crime rate. The Winthrop is a labrynth of stairwells, hallways and elevators all obscured from public view.

    Presumably, the new units would be built better with external entrances as many of the housing devepments are today.

    2) Benefit for residents

    As for the residents, they will certainly get better units than what they have now.

    3) Finally, the proposal is to make the new developments mixed use and mixed income:

    Prium chief operating officer Peter Ansara told committee members that the company would like any new development to be a blend of mixed-use and mixed-income housing. “Our edict is to do it as smoothly as we can by taking advantage of a model of mixed-use and mixed-income [housing],” said Ansara. “We won’t be building a concentration of low-income housing.”