Tacoma City Council approves historic Hilltop properties sale, development plan

Tacoma City Council approved a resolution Tuesday to sell two city-owned historic buildings as part of a development proposal that is expected to bring housing, commercial, and retail spaces to a busy corner of Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood.

The half-acre, city-owned properties, which include four parcels (1110, 1114, 1120 and 1124 Martin Luther King Jr. Way), will be sold for $100,000 to a development partnership that includes Tacoma Housing Authority and MLK Rehab. The partnership has proposed turning the four parcels into high-quality market-rate and subsidized housing with street-level commercial and retail spaces.

The MLK Rehab project will preserve the two historic buildings — the Pochert Building, located at 1110 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and the Kellogg-Sicker Building, located at 1114 Martin Luther King Jr. Way — and redevelop them for market-rate housing on the upper floors and retail spaces on the ground floor. Construction is expected to begin this year and wrap up late next year. Last month, Tacoma City Council approved a resolution placing the two buildings on the city’s register of historic places. The Kellogg-Sicker Building and the Pochert Building date back to 1906 and 1904, respectively, and were designed by pioneer Tacoma architect Carl August Darmer. Both buildings were purchased by the City of Tacoma in 2005.

Additionally, Tacoma Housing Authority plans to develop the remaining two 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. Construction is expected to begin in 2016.

The parcels were appraised by Puget Sound Appraisal in May.

“Finding better uses for city-owned properties has been one of my missions, so it’s so great to see this coming forward,” said Tacoma City Councilmember David Boe. “The worst thing you can see is boarded up buildings that are sitting there just waiting. I commend [Tacoma Housing Authority Executive Director] Michael [Mirra] and his group and the Tacoma Housing Authority for stepping up and getting involved. That’s great. I look forward to other properties coming forward.”

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 Building landmark nominations, click on the following links: