Work begins on former Sauro's site

Contractors were busy Tuesday morning beginning work on a new parking lot in downtown Tacoma. On Feb. 8, Tacoma City Council approved a purchase resolution to award a $601,687.00 contract to Serpanok Construction, Inc. of Tacoma to turn the city-owned parcel located at South 14th Street and Pacific Avenue, formerly the site of Sauro’s Cleanerama, 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. For more than a decade, the former Sauro’s site sat abandoned due to a toxic legacy. In May 2009, the Washington State Dept. 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 site was once used as a store, bus terminal, and boarding house. For 50 years, however, it was home to Sauro’s Cleanerama. Over the past three years, the city purchased the site and partnered with the Dept. of Ecology on a $2.6 million clean-up effort ($1.35 million came from Washington State remedial action grant; $550,000 came from the City of Tacoma; and $700,000 came from real estate excise taxes).


City Manager: Several factors hindered Sauro’s site development —

Tacoma City Council OK’s contract for Sauro’s site parking project downtown —

Sauro’s site closer to becoming parking lot —

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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.