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  #21  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2007, 8:49 PM
mhays mhays is offline
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Esplanade has been underway for several months. They were moving dirt last summer, and aerolist shows a tower crane. Should be in the construction section. It's one of Downtown Tacoma's biggest projects underway right now, if not the biggest.
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  #22  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2007, 11:42 PM
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Ok, I'll move it up.
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  #23  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2007, 1:44 AM
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Tacoma

Great to see the progress that has been made in this town - incredible what can be done when you minimize to the public input and just go for it - now if seattle would stop studying, consultings and voting and just get going on a number of desperately needed projects, especially I-90 light rail
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  #24  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2007, 9:56 AM
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Added the Sharp Building to the list.

Article in the DJC



Hotel, retail and housing for Tacoma's northend
http://www.djc.com/news/re/11186157.html

A $90 million mixed-use complex in Tacoma is designed to help make the north end of downtown more lively, according to one of the developers.

ALSO

I added the Walker/North Walker Buildings that I found on the same web site as the one for the Sharp Building.

Last edited by mSeattle; Jan 31, 2007 at 10:14 AM.
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  #25  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2007, 8:54 PM
jake840 jake840 is offline
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Recent Completion:

Bella on Broadway: http://bellaonbroadway.com/
The Galleria: http://thegalleriacondominiums.com/


Under Construction:

City Steps: http://www.citystepstacoma.com/ (some complete)
The Roberson: http://www.theroberson.com/
505 Broadway: http://www.505broadway.com/


Planned:

Nineteen Thirty-Three Dock Street- http://www.priumcompanies.com/page.php?id=117
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  #26  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2007, 9:13 PM
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Thanks Jake. I snapped some shots of a couple of the new projects early this week. The downtown area of Tacoma is getting really active.
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  #27  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2007, 9:21 PM
seapug seapug is offline
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....

yeah it is active but damn when the F*@k are they gonna get some height in there?
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  #28  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2007, 9:33 PM
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^I read that the downtown Shareton (sp?) highrise is planning a rehab. Not sure if this will be obvious from the outside when completed. I think as the existing vacant or under-developed lots are filled, then there will be a push for taller buildings.
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  #29  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2007, 9:57 PM
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Posted updated pictures and projects.
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  #30  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2007, 8:02 AM
jake840 jake840 is offline
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The Sheraton Tacoma will be turning into Hotel Murano:

Portland’s Aspen Hotel Group will turn the mainstream Sheraton into a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel that mirrors life and décor in the birthplace of artistic glass-blowing innovation – Murano, an archipelago in the lagoon outside Venice.

On your new pics the one you listed as Roosavelt (last phase?)
is the second of three or four phases of The Metropolitan Apartments http://www.themetropolitantacoma.com/ . The developer also owns the property down the hill from both buildings.
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  #31  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2007, 8:38 AM
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Thanks for the correction. I couldn't remember the name and took a wild guess. I'll make the change.
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  #32  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2007, 2:03 AM
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TACOMA — Mr. Mac's shop in this city's Hilltop neighborhood draws style-conscious men from all over the Pacific Northwest. They seek items like the $40 artificial alligator shoes in pink, orange or beige. Special customers get a fluffy, white, faux-fur coat for only $100, though the price tag says $299.

"I'm a destination," explained the dapper Morris McCollum, 79, known affectionately as "Mr. Mac" after his decades in the Hilltop. That's his secret to staying in business, even as foot traffic has slowed on what was once the busy main drag, Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Fewer customers than ever come by, and business in the historically low-income Hilltop is way down, especially since the city forced Browne's Star Grill to close more than a year ago, just one block from McCollum's store.

Browne's counter and neon signs had been fixtures of the neighborhood since 1967. Now it sits empty, stripped of its fittings and gathering dust. "We'd been working hard to close it," said City Councilman Thomas R. Stenger. "We have no tolerance for crime, prostitution and drug dealing."

Indeed, the intimidating loiterers outside Browne's have disappeared. Marieva Riche has worked at the tidy Johnson's Candy Co. two blocks away for 25 years, and recalled "bad guys" urinating in the bushes and dealing drugs. "I don't generally believe in closing down a business, but this is a wonderful place again since they closed Browne's."

Nobody misses the open drug dealing that once took place on MLK Way. But not everyone feels that next-to-no business is good business. This once-vibrant street, just up the hill from downtown, is all too quiet. Customers who frequented Browne's, many of them African-American retirees looking for a quick meal, some conversation and maybe a drink and a game of dominos, have disappeared, and nobody is sure where they've gone to. Property up and down the street is empty, fenced or locked. A beauty-supply shop advertised human hair for sale at 30 percent off.

Tacoma isn't the only older city lurching toward economic revitalization by repopulating its downtown and providing business incentives. The issue of which types of people and activities are desirable is a treacherous one anywhere. But Tacoma is using a troubling method to speed gentrification, one with a fair amount of human cost: It shuts down and muscles out businesses altogether.

Tacoma has been arm-wrestling with its own identity since its early days in the mid-19th century. With a population currently near 200,000, it claims to be comfortable with its working-class roots. "Tacoma always has been and always will be a blue-collar town," said Roxanne Murphy of the city's Economic Development Department, with a touch of pride.

But it looks like that sentiment isn't sticking. Eric Anderson, the city manager, noted that Tacoma's low-income households, as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, now represent only 47 percent of the city's population, down from 76 percent five years ago. "What that's doing is changing the demographic," he said. "The market is driving the development."

Clearly, the city's leaders are urging the civic upheaval along. At this pace, it's more of a city-sized personality transplant. The once-gritty town has sprouted new condominiums and apartments along a still-working but much-sanitized waterway. Visitors outside the gleaming Museum of Glass must look past rows of pleasure boats to see a real barge loaded with genuine gravel. Where downtown meets water, weeds once flourished on rutted turf near rotting pilings. Now, there is a tailored lawn and a graceful esplanade.

The city government encourages this change by deftly leveraging pots of money. "The public sector had to take the lead," said Martha Anderson, assistant director of the Department of Economic Development, who is not related to Eric Anderson. The waterway was declared a Superfund site, drawing federal aid. With revolving loans and public-private partnerships, Tacoma attracted yet more projects and a branch campus of the University of Washington. "The next development will be all condos," said Martha Anderson, "and also a boutique hotel."

It's easy to dismiss the impact of all this change. "People just want it to happen faster," said Murphy. The blue-collar citizens she spoke of proudly do not all agree, especially the business and property owners of the Hilltop whose livelihoods were forcibly — if legally — cast out.

The last owner of Browne's Star Grill, Tyrone Furgeson, 50, has gone so far as to sue the city of Tacoma for illegal search and seizure and discrimination in taking his business away. A military veteran, he felt he knew what he was getting into when he bought the business in 1996. He admitted that Browne's was a "greasy spoon," but the many regular customers were his main source of income. Furgeson says he was motivated to stop criminals from entering, or loitering in front. He made sure calls for help to the police from Browne's went down every year.

Where Furgeson, and eventually Browne's, had more trouble was in keeping the street itself free of nefarious activities. The police told him the drug dealers and gang members on the block were his to deal with, not theirs. Even with his law-and-order background, Furgeson couldn't comply, and with that, the city moved to buy the building and shutter the restaurant. As a result, Furgeson says he is still fighting off bankruptcy.

As he spoke in front of his now-closed establishment, a patrol car slowly passed by, the officer inside looking straight ahead. This, Furgeson said, illustrated his argument that police and city authorities deliberately avoided dealing with crime on the sidewalk, that they were focused only on getting him out. The vacant building now awaits a zoning change to allow taller construction.

Officer Greg Hopkins, who patrols the area, flatly denied that police services were withheld, but offered few details to counter so serious an accusation. He noted that the judge in Furgeson's lawsuit found everything to be legal, and that he himself uses unconventional police methods in his pursuit of "cleaning up places that look like garbage." Hopkins' supervisor, Lt. Corey Darlington, refused to consider any notion whatsoever of heavy-handedness, and pointed out the decline in crime statistics.

As coordinator of the Drug House Elimination Task Force, Hopkins uses his ability to draw a team of fire, electrical and building inspectors to a property deemed unworthy, and finds the violations necessary to demand vacation and closure. The effect ruins and even traumatizes struggling business owners, and decimates the community. A few examples:

• Parker Pickens, who ran Ikan Auto Repair, said he was taunted by the police before the task force "came in with the whole gestapo" and searched for the violations to close him down a few years ago. He lists other auto-repair shops on the Hilltop that were also forcibly shut down. Now that new zoning doesn't allow his kind of business, he isn't sure what to do with the building.

• Webb Bowie of Bellevue invested $100,000 and renovated the boarded-up Liberty Apartments, seeing promise in the Hilltop's bright views and con-venient location. He recounted failed attempts to work with the police in dealing with the neighborhood's criminal element before the task force arrived and demanded immediate departure of the building's tenants. Bowie recalls watching helplessly as the electrical technician snipped the power line to his building. He remains bitter about the treatment he received, and the loss of the fortune he hoped to make. Bowie's investment partner went on to sell all of his Tacoma properties.

• Janice Johnson's family has run the Pegasus restaurant for 30 years. They're not in the Hilltop, but they have met with the Tacoma police about the crime nearby and the prostitution in the motel next door. The Tacoma police, said Johnson, suggested putting up a fence around the restaurant. She prefers to work with the tribal police from the nearby Puyallup Casino; after what Tacoma did to Browne's, what if the task force decides to target her business next and shut down the Pegasus, too?

Gentrification is supposed to be a market-driven process, where more and more well-heeled and educated citizens move in to shop or dine after they have acquired renovated real estate. Previous residents are expected to gracefully and gradually move their bad habits and chronic problems out to the less-desirable areas they can afford.

But Tacoma seems to be in such a mad rush to speed up the process that it tramples on its own citizenry and even its own character as it cleans up those "places that look like garbage," as Hopkins put it.

"Everybody's on this bandwagon, talking about this 'revitalization,' " said Bowie, the investor. Pickens, the auto-repair expert, said, "Their idea of cleaning things up is to push all the businesses out that were trying to make it." And Johnson of the Pegasus said, "We're a little disheartened."

The city also risks charges of racism, as when police officers in the Drug House Elimination Task Force tell Hilltop businesses not to play rap music. (Ty Furgeson of Browne's, who is white, said he complied. Laura Malone, who opened the nearby Monsoon Room lounge, is African American, and said she was a diplomat on the subject, as support of the local police is vital.)

What's happening in the Hilltop and in Tacoma should be a warning for any metropolis that strives for adjectives like "world-class" and "tourist destination." The danger in moving so fast to improve a city is a lot like overdoing plastic surgery: The wrinkles and problems might have vanished, but the result is unnatural and irreversible, and ultimately, somewhat ghastly. The down-to-Earth appeal of Tacoma and its neighborhoods is greatly in danger when crime can't be contained without ousting the small businesses that are its lifeblood.

Tacoma now ponders the unsettled futures of the iconic Winthrop Hotel and the recently burned Fawcett House. Ironically, the city's precious built character has been safe for so long precisely because there wasn't any big money available to raze and replace its old vaudeville theaters and modest Craftsman houses. Like the brownstones of Harlem or — yes — the buildings of Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market in Seattle, the area's decline was also its salvation. The communities there hung together because of the absence of outside economic forces, and eventually became something special enough to draw visitors.

How sad it would be if the Hilltop, or Tacoma, or even Seattle or any other city, were to improve and gentrify so drastically they became something else entirely, and hurt their own businesses and citizenry in the process.

L.D. Kirshenbaum is a freelance writer based in Seattle and has written for The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications.

Copyright © The Seattle Times Company
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  #33  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2007, 2:10 AM
Hoodrat Hoodrat is offline
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Once again, Seattle garbles Tacoma story

KATHLEEN MERRYMAN; THE NEWS TRIBUNE
Published: February 10th, 2007 01:00 AM

Tacomans aren’t shy about pointing out what’s wrong with their town.
Witness the recent city survey that showed dissatisfaction with crime, blight and choppy sidewalks and streets.

No howls of foul there.

But “Hilltop Blues,” an opinion piece by L.D. Kirshenbaum in Sunday’s Seattle Times, has residents, merchants and activists steamed.


Tacomans prefer their criticism reality-based.

Here’s the scenario Kirshenbaum laid out for Seattle readers: Foot traffic and business are down on the “once-vibrant” stretch of Martin Luther King Way near the vacant Browne’s Star Grill. In its rush to gentrification, city government has unleashed inspection teams on property “deemed unworthy.”

She fell for the story that cops refused to help Browne’s Star Grill’s owners get rid of drug and gang activity. She believed an auto repair shop owner who said the task force “came in like the whole gestapo.” She quoted an absentee landlord who “watched helplessly” when inspectors cut power to his building because of code violations. She described those businesses as the city’s lifeblood.

She painted a picture of government rolling over hapless residents. She warned that, if this cleanup, crime fighting and development keep on, Tacoma will lose its character and become “somewhat ghastly.” Tacoma is fortunate, she lectures, that for so long there was no money to raze its “old vaudeville theaters and modest Craftsman houses.”

Speaking of money, she noted that Tacoma “claims to be comfortable with its working-class roots,” but that “it looks like that sentiment isn’t sticking” because the percentage of low-income residents has fallen over the past five years.

Oops. Our bad.

Big surprise here: Kirshenbaum is a freelance writer who lives in Seattle. She’s a drop-in critic who remained conveniently ignorant of the community history and neighborhood-building that blast her thesis to bits.

She needs a remedial course in Tacoma. Just the facts, ma’am.

Let’s start with that “once-vibrant” MLK Way business district.



Ron Johnson has spent all his 75 years involved with the family’s Johnson Candy Co. at 924 Martin Luther King Jr. The last time life on the street was vibrant, he said, was before the 1980s and ’90s, when street drunks and gang members took it over. He’s delighted with the responsive and helpful police now.

Marieva Riche, who has worked the candy counter for 20 years, is glad Browne’s is gone. “They had their chance over a period of years,” she said of the owners. “I think the city was wise to shut it down.”

Felix Flannigan, executive director of the Martin Luther King Housing Development Association, never saw a “vibrant past.”

“It was in really bad shape,” he said of the street in 1990. “I have seen nothing but progress being made. There were 400 vacant units on the Hilltop, and gangs had control. More than 50 percent of the commercial buildings were empty.”

He is furious that Kirshenbaum ignored the achievements of activists, agencies and the city in reviving the Hilltop. Me, too.

I’d bet Kirshenbaum $5 she can’t tell the difference between market-rate homes, rehabbed public housing, subsidized rental and ownership housing, and luxury condos. I’d bet she can’t tell which homes were renovated with private money and which were fixed up through volunteer efforts. The Hilltop has the most diverse housing stock in the city and is proud of it.

Rich, poor and working-class residents enlisted the city to pioneer the Alcohol Impact Area. They persuaded the city to shame irresponsible property owners via the Dirty Dozen on the city’s Web site. They begged the city to close Browne’s and other businesses that blight the neighborhood.

They know the difference between the city’s lifeblood and a stream of toxic waste. They know the difference, too, between “vaudeville theaters” and the strip joints that added up to block after block of seedy reasons to get out of downtown before sunset.

They don’t miss them any more than we miss Browne’s.

Kathleen Merryman: 253-597-8677

kathleen.merryman@thenewstribune.com
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  #34  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2007, 3:05 AM
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mSeattle mSeattle is offline
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My take on city politics and media is that there is as much he-said she-said with estranged or 'pet' businesses getting different treatment in both articles as there is 'fact'. If hospitals in LA can possibly be as cold to dump homeless patients on the street, I don't doubt for a minute that a city can neglect an area to gut and revitalize it - picking and choosing. Some truly bad players get shut down and some that aren't too. All depends on where the city wants to put its pots of money on detox/worker retraining or on downtown fiber optics. And I say this while liking both the down-to-earth and the revitalization sides of Tacoma.
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  #35  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2007, 7:10 PM
sirsimon sirsimon is offline
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Looks like some nice projects going down in T-town.
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  #36  
Old Posted Mar 9, 2007, 9:45 AM
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I need to get back down there and update my pictures.
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  #37  
Old Posted Mar 9, 2007, 4:49 PM
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New condos shape up old Tacoma neighborhoods
Article in the DJC
http://www.djc.com/news/re/11187249.html
2,010 Units by 2010
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  #38  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2007, 8:29 PM
zilfondel zilfondel is offline
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Just curious, can anyone get some pano's of downtown Tacoma? It's been almost 10 years since I've been around it (1998). I did ride the Amtrak from PDX to Seattle about a year ago, and was shocked by all the new stuff... but only saw it for a fleeting moment.

I'd love to see some pics if anyone's got 'em!
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  #39  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2007, 7:25 AM
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mSeattle mSeattle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NW Mike View Post
New condos shape up old Tacoma neighborhoods
Article in the DJC
http://www.djc.com/news/re/11187249.html
2,010 Units by 2010
I didn't even bother looking at the article when it first appeared thinking it was subscription-only.

Quote:
In addition, Williams and Dames, a powerhouse in Portland’s Pearl District, recently bought the Old Elks Building, long an eyesore in the neighborhood.
SCORE! If this is the building that I'm thinking of, I've long hoped that someone would buy it and fix it up to its stunning potential.

Is this it?
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  #40  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2007, 9:05 AM
Alcon Alcon is offline
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That is such an incredible building, with a lovely location! I've always thought that it was a potential growth neighborhood, but the buildings are left to crap. It's still kind of a majestic eyesore...it's sad and not tended-to, but it's still a wonderful building.
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