By: dgardner

New Foss apartment project groundbreaking could happen early next year

Tacoma News Tribune
November 25, 2013
By John Gillie

The Foss Waterway Development Authority has granted developers of a 161-unit apartment project planned for Dock Street on the waterway a 60-day extension to close the purchase of the building site.

That extension, approved last week, isn't a sign the project, announced last spring, is in trouble, said Tony Carino, one of the project developers.

"We expect to have a groundbreaking in January or February at the latest," said Carino.

The extension was necessary because of the extensive paperwork needed these days to obtain financing for such projects, he said.

The developers, the same ones who pioneered residential buildings on the formerly industrial waterway a decade ago with Thea's Landing, said the demand for apartments in Tacoma is healthy and growing.

"We've already had inquiries from people who'll be working at State Farm who are looking for housing close to their work," said Carino.

State Farm is moving hundreds of workers into the former Russell Investments headquarters building on A Street downtown where they will be handling claims processing.

The project, called The Henry, will be a u-shaped structure between the Albers Mill apartments and the 21st Street cable-stayed bridge on the west side of the waterway.

Carino said construction is expected to take 15 to 18 months.

In addition to apartments, the building will include parking and retail spaces on the ground floor.

A major waterfront restaurant will face the waterway, and smaller retailers will occupy the spaces facing Dock Street.

The $30 million project will occupy a site once slated for a mixed use condominium and office structure to be built by Tacoma-based Prium Companies.

Prium bowed out of the project when the recession collapsed the housing market.

Su Dowie, Foss Waterway Development Authority executive director, said she expects the land sale will close before the end of the year.

The $1 million-plus proceeds from the land sale will be held in a bank account until the project is completed.  Once the apartment is up and running, the money from the sale will be available for the authority to use for operations and debt retirement, said Dowie.

The mothballing of many multi-family construction projects in mid-construction during the recession, said Dowie, has made the City of Tacoma cautious about spending the land sale proceeds that might have to be used to repurchase the land should the project halt before completion.

View the original article via the Tacoma News Tribune





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