Ground-breaking for the first of two new hotels on downtown Tacoma’s Foss Waterway could come this fall.
That’s the latest word from Bellingham’s Hollander Investments which plans to buy the potential hotel site near South 15th and Dock streets early this fall from Seattle hotelier Bob Thurston.
If construction begins, it will be a long-delayed victory for the Thea Foss Waterway Authority, which has waited five years for a hotel to be built. The authority, which is overseeing redevelopment of the formerly industrial waterway, has worked unsuccessfully with two prior developers to see a hotel constructed.
Hollander told the Tacoma City Council’s Economic Development Committee this week that its preliminary plans call for construction of a 96-room Mariott Residence Inn on the south side of the site beginning this fall.
The second hotel, likely a Hilton with 128 rooms, would be built on the site’s north side near the Esplanade condominium project. Construction of that second hotel would begin sometime between 2013 and 2015 depending on market conditions.
An office structure would be built at the same time as the second hotel. The office structure would visually link the two hotels to form a u-shaped configuration with the open end facing the waterway.
The development would include partially underground parking to serve all three buildings and retail and commercial space facing the water totally some 5,700 square feet in the final development.
Each of the hotel structures would be 9 stories tall.
Total investment in the project would be $35 to $40 million according to Hollander.
Holland owns the Marriott Courtyard Tacoma Hotel among other hotel properties.
Don Meyer, the waterway authority’s director, said Hollander must begin construction by March of next year under the shoreline development permits obtained by Thurston.
If construction doesn’t begin, the lengthy process of applying for those permits will start anew.
The waterway authority will meet Wednesday at 4 p.m. at its offices in the Dock office building to consider approving a new development agreement for the hotel.
The City Council must also approve new agreements with Hollander that would protect Hollander from claims related to past pollution on the site. Most of that pollution has been cleaned up.
The authority worked with two prior developers to build a hotel on the site, but neither was able to make the financing work.
Thurston, the site’s present owner, hoped to build a boutique hotel. He added condominiums to the building design during the condo boom, but failed to find financing after the housing market crashed.