Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The City is also looking for feedback from the entire community through online surveys. There are two brief surveys--one is for residents and another is for business owners.
The development of AngelouEconomics' downtown economic development plan will coincide with the development of the Downtown Comprehensive Plan headed by the City in partnership with VIA Architects and will review the long-range planning and zoning for downtown. The overall vision for downtown will be defined consistently for both plans and will be supported by a combined public outreach effort (interviews, focus groups, visioning sessions, online surveys). By integrating the two plans, the City of Tacoma hopes to ensure a robust and meaningful downtown strategic plan.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
- 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.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Campbell presented new paradigms for both parking and transit, leading into the committee's most significant recommendations:
- Develop a downtown transportation plan that considers pedestrian, bicycle, carpool, vanpool, bus, rail, Flexcar and parking as coordinated elements of a strategic transportation system;
- A more robust, employer-based transportation demand management (TDM) program should be pursued (i.e., Growth Transportation Efficiency Center and Destination Downtown Door-to-Door). This program will build momentum—augmenting current CTR programs that already promote use of excellent local and regional transit services—to promote awareness and utilization of commute options;
- The City of Tacoma, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit and downtown stakeholders should institute a Downtown Transit & Parking Panel (implementation committee) to foster communication, facilitate collaborative decision-making among parking stakeholders, review parking and transit policies, provide a customer perspective and benchmark how well the system is meeting established criteria.
In response to questions from Council members, Campbell explained that the committee's recommendations closely parallel those of City Manager Eric Anderson, and he indicated that the committee is expanding its geographic scope and membership to give it the ability to act as a part of the implementation process.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Downtown leaders can now be expected to focus attention on the transit portion of the program. One element sure to be discussed is the concept of a "fareless square" for transit riders, patterned after the program that has operated in Portland since 1975 (Seattle has a much smaller fareless zone with hours limited to 6:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.). After more than 32 years of operation, however, Portland's fareless square may be on the verge of severe cut-backs--and for what may be a surprising reason.
In response to recent security concerns, Portland's TriMet has outlined a new security plan as part of a multi-faceted strategy to improve safety at night throughout the transit system; one proposal of this plan would be to limit Fareless Square zone hours to 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Much of the disruptive and threatening behavior that has been witnessed on MAX occurs at night between downtown and the Lloyd District. The proposal is specifically targeted at passenger safety in the downtown core, and to substantially reduce the type of undesirable behavior that impacts system safety.
The Lloyd Transportation Management Association (TMA), which contributes funding to help pay for fareless service to Lloyd District, has sent a letter to TriMet objecting to both the rationale and the timeline for the decision limiting fareless square hours.
What implications might this decision have for a "fareless square" in downtown Tacoma? Will security concerns force Sound Transit--which is now extending Link's evening hours--to curtail free service on light rail?
Monday, January 14, 2008
- Don Arsenault of Arsenault Realty Advisors LLC (developer of Atrium Court);
- Ron Gintz of Gintz Group LLC (developer of 732 Broadway, the former Mecca Theater, and--most recently--the Luzon);
- Dan Putnam of PCS Structural Solutions (principal in Pacific Plaza LLC).
For a couple of decades, we were "America's most tired city";
More recently, we have been "America's most wired city"; and
In the future, we can become "America's most admired city".
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Trains will begin running February 4th until 10:00 p.m. on weeknights, a two-hour extension of the schedule; trains will have a twenty-minute headway during these hours (longer than the ten-minute headway the rest of the day). This should be great news for students at the University of Washington Tacoma and patrons of downtown restaurants or cultural facilities, and brings new capacity to commute alternatives that will support efforts like Destination Downtown Door-To-Door.
Public announcement of the new schedule for Link will be made at tomorrow's City Center Luncheon.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
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.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
AngelouEconomics has been hired by the City of Tacoma to develop a comprehensive Downtown Economic Development Strategy, including:
- Inventory of downtown assets;
- Economic impact analysis of downtown Tacoma on the city, county, and state economy; and
- Long-term strategic plan for downtown's economic growth.
AngelouEconomics is an economic development consulting firm that advises companies and communities wanting to take advantage of the new economy. They specialize in the site selection needs of the technology industry and of the communities seeking to recruit them. The project is being managed by Katie Bullard.
Later this month, the Broadway LID project is slated to go out for re-bid sans the vaulted sidewalks in the original design specifications. An open house will be held after the bid opening to inform stakeholders of the outcome and to review any possible options with alternate bid items.
Construction of the project is tentatively scheduled to begin in mid-April and continue until late fall of 2009. Once a contractor has been selected by the City, another open house will be held to inform stakeholders of the schedule and identify contacts for the duration of the project.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Positive attitudes toward downtown and increasing funding for downtown improvements are two of the trends anticipated by the Downtown Idea Exchange (DIX) editorial team as they look ahead into 2008.
To prepare the annual outlook report, the DIX team spoke with a wide range of downtown experts from across the country who identified the major challenges and opportunities facing their areas. A dozen key themes emerged, including:
- Downtowns are making strides in thinking and working on a regional scale;
- Pro-downtown groups are better coordinating their efforts;
- Downtown populations are continuing to diversify;
- Downtowns are striving to be green;
- Downtowns are seeking to stand out with unique businesses.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
The current vacancy rate in downtown Tacoma’s Class ‘A’ office space is less than one percent; despite the current slowdown in the economy and resulting impacts to downtown development, some local investors see this high rate of demand as an opportunity. This quarter’s City Center Luncheon presents a panel discussion showcasing projects and prognostications from three local investors:
- Don Arsenault of Arsenault Realty Advisors (developer of Atrium Court);
- Ron Gintz of the Gintz Group LLC (developers of the former Mecca Theater and Old City Hall);
- Dan Putnam of PCS Structural Solutions (principal in Pacific Plaza LLC).
As always, this quarter’s meeting will highlight projects in the vanguard of downtown’s revitalization, introduce the people who are leading that process, and help delineate current trends and opportunities:
Friday, January 11thAttendees will also hear about new efforts to market downtown to developers and tenants, as well as a sneak preview of Destination Downtown Door-To-Door.
11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
The Tacoma Club
Sponsored by Venture Bank
Cost for the event is $25 for members pre-paid and $30 for non-members pre-paid; corporate tables are available at a discounted price. To reserve space at this meeting, please contact Janice at the Chamber, (253) 627-2175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.