Transit Oriented Development and other projects

Dome District

The concept of Transit Oriented Development (“TOD”) is to create spaces to live, work, and play that grow around public transportation sites. HNTB’s America THINKS “Transit Oriented Development in America” survey in 2016 asked what Americans’ believe to be the biggest benefit of TOD. They responded: to reduce dependence on driving, allow residents to live, work, and play in the same area, and to reduce the area’s carbon footprint.

Tacoma’s prominent Transit Oriented District, the Dome District, is already Tacoma’s transportation hub – boasting the Tacoma Dome Station which offers Sound Transit busses, the Tacoma Link Light Rail, the Sounder Train between Lakewood and Seattle, the Pierce Transit Bus Shop with connections to the Pierce Transit Busses, a Greyhound bus station, and an Amtrak train station. However, to be labeled as as an area with TOD, there must be housing, not only transportation.

And now housing is coming to the Dome District:

Koz Development has broken ground on a 6 story tall building at 304 Puyallup Avenue consisting of 152 one and two bedroom micro units with views of the water. It will have 4,800 sf of ground level retail space and the apartments will be furnished. The developers chose to not include any parking spaces due to the Dome district being a transit-oriented neighborhood and near multiple transportation amenities. They have the intent of this development supporting an “affordable, car-free, minimalist lifestyle” and 20% of the micro units will be classified as affordable. The developers hope to attract University of Washington – Tacoma students (the development would be a quick ride on the Tacoma Link from the university) and families, as well.

TRAX @ Tacoma Dome is on a site formerly owned by Pierce Transit at 415 E 25th Street and is currently in permitting. It will be built adjacent to the Tacoma Link Light Rail tracks. The development will include 115 market rate apartments, a 17,000 sf farmer’s market space, 55 parking stalls, a rooftop common space for residents, and a dog run. It will be the first housing project in Tacoma to provide ORCA transit passes to all residents.

This view makes Tacoma look more like a tinker town than a real city.   Photo: Morf Morford
This view makes Tacoma look more like a tinker town than a real city. Photo: Morf Morford

The Dome District continues to become more connected with Sound Transit’s announced expansion of the Tacoma Link Light Rail to the Hilltop neighborhood (start of service estimated to begin in 2022) and the Central Link’s growth from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (construction to begin in 2025). Living in the Dome, with the completion of these developments, will enable residents to truly live a transit oriented life – decreasing their commute, living more sustainably, and being located in a vibrant neighborhood!

Developments along Tacoma Link Light Rail Route Update

The Hilltop Tacoma Link Expansion – a Sound Transit project – will add 2.4 miles to the Tacoma Link Light Rail, nearby doubling its length. The majority of the neighborhoods that the light rail will travel through have been approved as Opportunity Zones at the federal level, providing extra incentive to invest in these areas. Construction of the rail is slated to begin this fall, and there are many notable structures that are planned along its track.

Rain or shine, Old City Hall stands glorious. Photo: Morf Morford
Rain or shine, Old City Hall stands glorious. Photo: Morf Morford

Old City Hall: The City of Tacoma recently received five different proposals for the purchase and renovation of the Old City Hall building on Pacific Avenue. The city expects to complete their review of these proposals by September 2018. The five proposals range from Class A office space, to a Tacoma History Museum, to studio apartments and artist apartments, to restaurants and event spaces. All of the proposals propose creating Old City Hall into a mixed-use development. 

McMenamins Tacoma Elks Lodge: This highly anticipated renovation of the historic Elks Lodge, located at 565 Broadway, is slated to open in 2019 and work is currently underway. McMenamins Inc. is in the process of transforming this historic-six-level-building to include three restaurants, a brew pub, a music venue, and a 45 unit hotel. Additionally, the Elks Lodge is projected to employ between 150 and 200 part and full time positions. And, it will be easily accessible from the Tacoma Link Light Rail.

415 St Helens: This 247 unit high rise apartment project is currently in permitting with the City of Tacoma. It will have four levels of parking, and nine stories of apartment units overlooking Commencement Bay. It will be only two blocks away from the new Tacoma Link Light Rail line and proposes street and street scape improvements on St Helens Avenue.

Stadium Apartments: Along the proposed new Tacoma Link Light Rail tracks is the brand new Stadium Apartments complex that recently opened up at 102 N G Street. It has 172 units, which are made up of one and two bedroom apartments, and overlooks Wright Park, Stadium High School, and Commencement Bay.

And in Upper Tacoma the projects are only beginning 

824 MLK: Koz Development proposes to build a mixed income, mixed use TOD apartment complex consisting of a minimum 156 market rate units (20% of which will be offered to low-income households below 80% of the area’s median income under the multi-family tax exemption program), $7,500 square feet of commercial retail, 33 parking spaces, two car sharing spaces, scooters for rent and ample bike storage, and a rooftop deck. The unit mix will include studios, one, two, & three bedroom, and live-work lofts. The proposed project schedule anticipates a 15 month construction schedule with a start date of spring of 2019. The proposed development will be built adjacent to the Tacoma Link Light Rail track, and two blocks from a proposed stop.

Valhalla Court: An infill mixed use and mixed income development will open in September in the Hilltop District. Valhalla Court is a mixed income 26-unit new construction project that includes two front facing work-live loft units. Nine of the apartments will be set aside for low-income residents. Included in the building’s design are two public art pieces created by Hilltop artists. This development will be located along the Tacoma Link Light Rail as well, another instance of Tacoma’s burgeoning TOD emphasis.

8th and MLK Senior Affordable Housing project – Mercy Housing: Proposed apartment complex at the corner of 8th Street and Martin Luther King Jr Way that will consist of a minimum 58 units of senior affordable housing units (serving households below 50% of the area’s median income), a large community room with activities and services tailored to the residents, a roof top outdoor space and three parking stalls. The unit mix will include one-bedroom and studios. The proposed project schedule anticipates a two-year construction schedule with a start date of September 2019.

Martin Luther King Jr. Mixed Use: This highly anticipated development, featuring over 200 residential units, ground level retail, and subterranean parking, is scheduled to begin construction in late spring 2019. This is at the same time as the Tacoma Link Light Rail will begin construction, as well.

– Make it Tacoma

Related Stories