City Council approves cost overruns for new downtown Tacoma parking lot

Tacoma City Council Tuesday approved a purchase resolution that directs an additional $90,000 toward a new parking lot that was recently completed on the former Sauro’s Cleanerama site in downtown Tacoma.

The additional money is needed for the “removal and remediation of an existing and abandoned asbestos-coated steam line; removal and remediation of an existing underground storage tank; removal of a section of road that included between eight to 12 inches of asphalt- and concrete-encased railroad ties on South 14th Street; and application of a non-slip coating on the wood timber walk to mitigate slip hazards,” according to documents prepared by the city’s public works staff. In a July 11 memo to former City Manager Eric Anderson, Public Works Director Dick McKinley wrote, “During construction of the project, Serpanok Construction, Inc. encountered several differing site conditions (changed conditions) that were not identified during the design of the project.” In addition to the items listed above, McKinley noted the city instructed the contractor to “place additional bollards, reconstruct a curb ramp at the intersection of South 14th Street and Court A to meet the requirements of the city’s curb ramp matrix, and to extend the retaining wall at the southwest corner of the property to better address wall tie-in to the structural sidewalk.”

The city will pay for the cost overruns through a Washington State Department of Commerce grant.

On Feb. 8, City Council awarded a $601,687.00 contract to Serpanok Construction to turn the city-owned parcel located near South 14th Street and Pacific Avenue — and adjacent to the the headquarters of DaVita, one of downtown’s largest employers — into a space for street-level parking. In January 2010, Gov. Chris Gregoire allocated $700,000 from Washington’s Strategic Reserve Fund toward the project in an effort to boost the local economy. Originally, the money was to be used to keep Russell Investments headquartered in downtown Tacoma. The site was going to be part of a so-called ‘super block’ should Russell Investments decide to remain downtown and develop additional office space. The company moved to Seattle last year.

The site of the parking lot has a long history in downtown Tacoma. It was once home to a store, bus terminal, and boarding house. But for 50 years, it was home to Sauro’s Cleanerama. After Sauro’s closed, the lot was abandoned for more than a decade due to a toxic legacy. On Sept. 23, 2008, the city purchased the property, which included 1401, 1407, and 1409 Pacific Ave. On Jan. 27, 2009, the city entered into an agreement with the Washington State Department of Ecology to accept $550,000 from the former property owner for future clean-up of the site. In May 2009, the Washington State Department of Ecology released a report that showed the site had “levels of the dry cleaning chemical perchloroethylene and its breakdown products in the soil and groundwater that exceeded state Model Toxics Control Act clean-up standards.” On July 21, 2009, the city awarded $1,759,900.41 to Clearcreek Contractors to initiate site clean-up. On Sept. 15, 2009, the city accepted a $1.35 million grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology to complete the funding for site remediation.

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Additional $90K needed for new downtown Tacoma parking lot (07/25/11) —

A political cartoonist ‘celebrates’ downtown’s latest development . . . another parking lot (07/13/11) —

Sauro’s parking lot project nearly finished (06/28/11) —

Work begins on former Sauro’s site (03/29/11) —

City Manager: Several factors hindered Sauro’s site development (02/28/11) —

Tacoma City Council OK’s contract for Sauro’s site parking project downtown (02/09/11)–

Sauro’s site closer to becoming parking lot (02/08/11) —

Washington State economic development funds slated for downtown Tacoma (01/15/10)

Clean-up work begins on key downtown Tacoma property (01/30/09)