Wednesday, January 09, 2008

S. Park Plaza Remains on Track

The Tacoma City Council approved a settlement agreement last night with the final private owner of property in the South Park Plaza, clearing the way for the Pacific Plaza project to proceed. The $32.5 million renovation is building two new floors of Class 'A' office space and 104 additional city-owned parking spaces, and it will revamp 30,000 square feet of retail space along Pacific Ave.

Dan Putnam, a principal in PCS Structural Solutions--partners in the development with Absher Construction Company--will give an update on the project, including a virtual tour of the completed facility, at this Friday's City Center Luncheon.


  1. I am glad things are on track. That part of town is smoking hot with development.

    One problem, and a huge one it is, is the lack of street parking for the retail along Pac Ave. It is going to hurt the retail.

    Also is the city still planning on tearing down the North Garage? I know they said they would rather build new structures there instead of rehabing like the South Garage.

    Might be a good spot for some new Russell buildings!

  2. This was a bog development and a largely unknown one.

    With 30,000 retail and 67,000 office space, the new parking garage structure will offer one third of the sq. footage of the Wells Fargo Building and nearly one half as large as the Russell Building itself.

    Yet, if the retail gets going on the first floor, it has the potential to add more life to the area than either of these buildings as retail is more active than office space.

    One problem, and a huge one it is, is the lack of street parking for the retail along Pac Ave. It is going to hurt the retail.

    I agree. The city should look at having parking in front of the building. Having two lanes there may not make sense as other parts of Pacific Avenue are one lane.

    Thus, two lanes here may not add any benefit to traffic flow and the immediate parking spaces are critical for the success of the retail.

  3. There's another crtical step that needs to be taken if the retail on this area of Pacific Avenue is ever going to be successful.

    The staircase on the north side adjacent to the parking garage needs to be opened up. Right now, the entombed city escalator is still in this space and the walkway is full of a large number of scary blind corners and hiding spots and relatively few people use the walkway.

    In short, it is a CPTED disaster and one of the reasons the city ended up shutting down the escalator in the first place, it was prone to criminal activities.

    Here is the presentation on the walkway architect Ko Wibowo and myself did on the necessity on making the staircase function again.

    The last designers of the retail spaces obviously failed to properly design the various urban elements and most of the retail spaces failed. If the new retail spots are going to have a better result, these considerations are going to have to be addressed. Simply placing a new "skin" on the structure is not going to be sufficient.