Tacoma City Council to vote on parking contracts

UPDATE: City of Tacoma parking manager David Carr reported this morning at 11:15 a.m. that the item has been removed from Tacoma City Council’s July 26 agenda for further review and will most likely appear on the Aug. 2 agenda.

Tacoma City Council is scheduled July 26 to vote on a resolution that would begin charging drivers to park at a new parking lot completed earlier this month in downtown Tacoma. If approved, the resolution would authorize Republic Parking Northwest to manage the city-owned, 35-stall parking lot located near South 14th Street and Pacific Avenue. Drivers would pay an initial rate of $2.50 per hour, and a rate of $125 (plus tax) to park there monthly.

According to a July 11 memo from Public Works Director Dick McKinley to city councilmembers, the parking lot is expected to generate $60,000 annually in revenue, and the city will pay Republic Parking Northwest 1.5 percent of net revenue. The city will also reimburse the contractor for ‘out of pocket’ expenses related to operating and maintaining the parking lot.

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. 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 cleanup standards.” The city eventually purchased the site and partnered with the Dept. of Ecology on a $2.6 million clean-up effort. Last year, Tacoma City Council, using $700,000 in state funds, awarded a contract to Serpanok Construction, Inc. of Tacoma to turn the parcel into a street-level parking lot.

The resolution before the council next week would also authorize Republic Parking Northwest to manage a city-owned, 50-stall parking lot located at 303 East D St. on the east side of Thea Foss Waterway and across the street from the Center for Urban Waters. The lot is currently used by the city’s environmental services department. Drivers would pay an initial rate of 75 cents per hour, or $4 per day, and a rate of $50 to park there monthly.

McKinley’s memo notes the city owns seven parking garages and two surface lots with approximately 2,500 public stalls throughout the downtown area.

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A political cartoonist ‘celebrates’ downtown’s latest development . . . another parking lot (07/13/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=2006534&more=0

Sauro’s parking lot project nearly finished (06/28/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1998688&more=0

Work begins on former Sauro’s site (03/29/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1949889&more=0

City Manager: Several factors hindered Sauro’s site development (02/28/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1932819&more=0

Tacoma City Council OK’s contract for Sauro’s site parking project downtown (02/09/11)– http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1922916&more=0

Sauro’s site closer to becoming parking lot (02/08/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1921531&more=0

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Washington State economic development funds slated for downtown Tacoma

Jan. 15, 2010

Gov. Chris Gregoire Friday announced she would direct $700,000 in state funds to investments in Tacoma to retain and boost business in the city.

Funds awarded will be used to leverage Tacoma’s efforts to encourage business expansion and job growth in the city’s downtown neighborhood. Specifically, the money will go towards infrastructure investments aiding in the redevelopment of the old Sauro’s Cleanarama site located at 1401 S. Pacific Ave. in downtown Tacoma.

According to the Washington State Dept. of Ecology, the former dry cleaner’s operations contaminated the site with halogenated volatile organic compounds (HVOCs) — gases released by certain solids or liquids. On a polluted site, the liquids and solids can be present in soil and HVOC gases can be dissolved into groundwater. Sources include dry-cleaning chemicals, paints and paint strippers, and pesticides.

The cleanup site includes three vacant lots — 1401, 1407, and 1409 S. Pacific Ave. The lot at 1401 S. Pacific Ave. was first developed during the 1880s. The first structures were boarding houses and a hay and grain store. The site was then a bus terminal from the 1920s until 1957. In 1961, Sauro’s Cleanerama began a dry cleaning operation. The building was demolished after they went out of business in 2000.

A hotel and laundry occupied the lot at 1407 S. Pacific Ave. from the late 1800s until 1971. Sauro’s Cleanerama used the vacant hotel building for storage in the 1990s.

The lot at 1409 S. Pacific Ave. hosted several businesses, from a farm implement and seed store, to a tailor and clothes cleaner. The entire site has been vacant since 2000.

Together with other investments by the city, the funds pave the way for an expansion of DaVita Inc., which is expected to add more than 350 jobs in Tacoma. DaVita is one of the largest providers of dialysis services in the country.

Funds will be allocated from Washington’s Strategic Reserve Fund, which allows the state to rapidly respond to help make economic deals quickly and efficiently.

“We can rebuild our economic future by all working together,” Gregoire said. “With the infusion of these funds, Tacoma will be able to make investments that will help it keep and attract businesses.”

“Tacoma is open for business, and these funds will help us attract private investment,” Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland said. “With this money, we’ll be able to make our city center more attractive to business and create jobs.”

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Cleanup work begins on key downtown Tacoma property

Jan. 30, 2009

Cleanup work has begun on a key piece of downtown Tacoma property at the southeast corner of South 14th Street and Pacific Avenue. This follows the City of Tacoma’s acquisition of the site and City Council approval of an environmental remediation and indemnity agreement with an adjacent property owner, the Haub Brothers Enterprises Trust.

On Jan. 27, City Councilmembers authorized an agreed order with the Washington State Department of Ecology for cleanup and groundwater monitoring of the property, formerly the site of Sauro’s dry cleaning operation. The City’s agreement and acquisition of the property will allow Haub to proceed with acquiring the U.S. Post Office site, located directly northeast of the former Sauro site, because it removes a development barrier related to groundwater contamination. Haub’s acquisition will create a larger, developable parcel, when combined with its property between South 13th and South 14th streets and between Court A Street and Pacific Avenue, which will accommodate a potential new headquarters for Russell Investments.

The agreements approved by the City Council do not make the City liable for Haub’s obligations, but rather they establish a roadmap for cooperation and coordination on future development on the site.

The property is within the International Financial Services Area in the downtown core.