Friday, January 25, 2008

The Ups and Downs of City Center Development

Development in downtown Tacoma often proceeds in fits and starts, as revealed in the following announcements made this week:

  • The Tacoma Housing Authority (THA) is close to reaching an agreement with the State of Washington on purchasing the Rhodes Center--in part for the income it would generate as an office building. THA would retain the Court of Appeals, Labor and Industries, the Auditor’s Office and the Department of Transportation as tenants, and the agency would act more aggressively to fill some of the vacant commercial space. The purchase would include not only the old Rhodes department store building, but also another building on Market Street and the 530-space parking garage.
  • The Foss hotel project sought and won yet another delay from the Foss Waterway Development Authority;
  • Prium Companies now say they need a year’s postponement to buy land for a mixed-use office and residential project near the S. 21st St. bridge;
  • The Foss Harbor high-rise complex, north of the E. 11th St. bridge expects that getting the necessary approvals from the State of Washington could take another 14 months.
The BIA would welcome a new owner for the Rhodes Center. The State of Washington has opted out of paying the BIA assessment for the building.


  1. I don't know if THA buying a large building in DT Tacoma is a good idea. Housing Authorities are some usually screwed up quasi governmental agencies.

  2. What is there to guarantee that the THA will use the building for retail and offices rather than turning the building into another Winthrop?

  3. Anonymous11:17 PM

    Erik: The cost to convert the building into residential would be huge. I don't see it happening.

    Re: stalled waterway development -
    Why not let the Children's Museum take over one of the sites?