Agreement helps keep Mr. Mac in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood

Tacoma City Council approved a resolution Tuesday that could help keep a long-time Tacoma clothier in the city’s Hilltop neighborhood for a little while longer.

The store, Mr. Mac, Ltd., a staple for men’s suits for some three decades and as much of an institution as its owner, Morris McCollum, has been located on city-owned property along Martin Luther King Jr. Way (MLK) since last spring, when McCollum was displaced from a location nearby to make way for the development of the Community Health Care Hilltop Regional Health Center.

According to Conor McCarthy, assistant division manager in Tacoma’s public works department who presented the resolution, seven years ago the city purchased property stretching from 1110 MLK through 1124 MLK Way (including the former Beauty Supply shop and the former Browne Star Grille) in anticipation of creating the James L. Walton Hilltop Renaissance project — a plan that has yet to break ground. With the city-owned buildings vacant and Mr. Mac’s slated to be pushed out for the new health center, McCollum and the City of Tacoma agreed last March to a 11-month lease allowing McCollum to operate his business out of the empty buildings while the city tried to secure funding for the renaissance project.

That lease was set to expire Saturday.

Under the new agreement approved by council this week, McCollum will continue to lease the space, but on a month-to-month basis. It also requires the city to give 120 days notice before terminating the lease, and McCollum to give 30 days notice before terminating the lease. McCollum currently pays $600 per month. But over the next 12 months, the rent will incrementally increase until it reaches $800 per month. Beyond that, monthly rent will inch up by three percent annually. The resolution also states, “the lease rate takes into account the building has deferred maintenance, including the need to replace the roof and HV/AC system, repair portions of the exterior closures, and construct site improvements.” Under the agreement, McCollum will be responsible for “the entire facility, including the structure, roof, HV/AC, electrical, and exterior of the building (typically the landlord, in this case the City of Tacoma, would be responsible for these items),” according to the agreement. McCollum will also act as a ‘caretaker’ for adjacent vacant city-owned properties.

Councilmember Marty Campbell called the agreement “very fair.”

Councilmember Lauren Walker, who represents the district that includes Hilltop and also lives in the neighborhood, commented, “There were concerns just based upon future development. But Mr. Mac is an institution and he’s given so much to the community. I just appreciate your efforts and making this possible for him to stay.”