Expert panel to discuss Tacoma’s historic live/work lofts

Tacoma artists, advocates, developers, and anyone interested in continuing a conversation about artist live/work spaces and the reuse of historic buildings in Tacoma are invited to attend a panel discussion this month to discuss the issue.

Panelists will include Rebecca Morton (ArtSpace); Ben Ferguson (BLRB Architects); Deanne Belinoff (artist/resident at Tashiro Kaplan live/work space); Sharon Winters (Historic Tacoma); Amy McBride (City of Tacoma Arts Administrator); and Traci Kelly (Tacoma Arts Commission and Arts Leadership Lab). The event will be held on Weds., Nov. 28, at the New Frontier Lounge, located at 301 E. 25th St., in Tacoma between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The event is free and RSVP is not required.

The discussion will include a question-and-answer session exploring live/work spaces, issues and benefits related to artist live/work spaces, how the spaces can be created sustainably and affordably, ways to use/reuse Tacoma’s historic architectural assets, and other related topics.

Local historic preservation advocates have been working with city staff to revise land use and building codes to allow live/work spaces as one way to re-use older commercial and industrial structures throughout the city and revitalize areas like the Brewery District and the Dome District.

In August, Tacoma City Council was briefed on a recommendations by the Tacoma Planning Commission to amend the city’s land use regulatory code by expanding the flexibility inherent in a “home occupation” type of use to include “live/work” and “work/live.” In April, Historic Tacoma hosted a tour of a century-old firehouse-turned-live/work space in Tacoma’s Whitman neighborhood. Also in April, Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission was briefed on the effort under way to allow artist live/work spaces in some of the city’s older warehouse, commercial, and industrial spaces.