City poised to sell steam plant to Port of Tacoma

The Tacoma City Council community and economic development committee voted unanimously yesterday to recommend selling to the Port of Tacoma a parcel of land that once served as the site of a former municipal steam plant.

If City Council approves the deal later this month, the 17-acre site located at 1101 Taylor Way on the East Blair Peninsula would be sold to the port for $7.65 million.

According to assistant city attorney Anne Spangler, who presented the plan during yesterday’s meeting, the city was initially asking for $7.9 million, but negotiated a deal with the port that exempts the city from some demolition costs, and preserves a water well located on the site. Demolition of the plant was expected to cost the city $1 million.

However, the port has agreed to handle demolition in exchange for reducing the purchase price by $250,000. Additionally, a water well located above-ground would be preserved for future use and relocated below-ground at port expense, according to Spangler.

Since spring of last year, the city has worked with a commercial broker to market the property. Developers interested in purchasing the site for a variety of uses ranging from storage to warehouse distribution expressed interest. However, the port also came forward hoping to fold the property into its plans to expand its container terminal footprint on Tacoma’s tide flats.

Yesterday’s committee vote follows a vote June 21 by port commissioners to support finalizing the deal. Similarly, Tacoma Public Utility Board has also approved the sale. A public hearing on the proposed sale is scheduled July 17. City Council is expected to vote on the issue July 24.