More time needed to close Hilltop development deal

A private developer who plans to turn two City-owned historic buildings in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood into vibrant mixed-use centers has asked for more time to complete the deal.

In August, Tacoma City Council approved a purchase and sale agreement to sell the 1906 Kellogg-Sicker Building, located at 1114-16 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and the 1904 Pochert Building, located at 1110-12 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, for $100,000 to Kellogg Sicker Pochert, LLC (formerly known as MLK Rehab). Both buildings were purchased by the City in 2005, sat vacant for years, and were added to the local historic register last year. Kellogg Sicker Pochert, LLC plans to preserve the historic buildings and develop them to make way for market-rate housing on the upper floors and retail spaces on the ground floor. The agreement provided for a 60-day feasibility review period, with a 30-day extension if necessary.

“The buyers have requested additional time to complete their analysis and proceed with the project,” wrote Ricardo Noguera, Tacoma’s Community and Economic Development Department Director, and Martha Anderson, the department’s assistant director, in a Dec. 27 memo to Tacoma City Manager T. C. Broadnax. “The buyers have been conducting a review of the property, including building and site inspections. They have also met with representatives of the [City of Tacoma's] Planning and Development Services Department and participated in project scoping meetings to understand requirements for building, site and land use permits.”

Councilmembers are expected to vote on a resolution Tuesday that would allow additional time for the developers to complete their due diligence. “It is recommended that the City Council approve this extension, allowing the buyers to complete their due diligence process and receive reasonable assurance that permits for the project on the property can be issued prior to the scheduled closing date,” added Noguera and Anderson.

The project is part of a larger development plan that aims to bring housing, commercial, and retail spaces to the neighborhood through a partnership between the private developer and Tacoma Housing Authority. Tacoma Housing Authority plans to develop two adjacent parcels, located at 1120 and 1124 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, as new construction of three to five floors and about 40 to 50 units of workforce affordable housing.

The historic Kellogg-Sicker Building and the Pochert Building in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood. (PHOTOS COURTESY CAROLINE T. SWOPE / HISTORIC TACOMA)

The historic Kellogg-Sicker Building and the Pochert Building in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood. (PHOTOS COURTESY CAROLINE T. SWOPE / HISTORIC TACOMA)

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Kellogg‐Sicker Building and Pochert Buildings, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index and recipient of an award for Outstanding Achievement in Media from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for his work covering historic preservation in Tacoma and Pierce County. He has earned four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including third-place honors for his feature article about the University of Washington’s Innocence Project; first-place honors for his feature article about Seattle’s bike messengers; third-place honors for his feature interview with Prison Legal News founder Paul Wright; and second-place honors for his feature article about whistle-blowers in Washington State. His work has also appeared in All About Jazz, City Arts Tacoma, Earshot Jazz, Homeland Security Today, Jazz Steps, Journal of the San Juans, Lynnwood-Mountlake Terrace Enterprise, Prison Legal News, Rain Taxi, Real Change, Seattle Business Monthly, Seattle magazine, Tablet, Washington CEO, Washington Law & Politics, and Washington Free Press. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.