A South Sound grocer announced last year as a major retail anchor tenant for an ambitious Tacoma mixed use development has backed away from its commitment.
Marlene’s Market & Deli won’t be opening its third store in Point Ruston next year, Marlene Beadle, the market’s founder, confirmed Monday.
“The family just didn’t want to do the risk,” said Beadle. “It just wasn’t the right timing for us.”
The market founder said she favored the expansion, but other family members thought the financial exposure was too great.
“We took a vote, and my side lost,” she said. “You just can’t fight City Hall.”
Mike Cohen, managing partner at Point Ruston, a $1 billion-plus development planned for the site of the former Asarco copper smelter near Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park, said he was disappointed to hear the news.
Marlene’s had signed a letter of intent to lease a 20,000-square-foot building in the retail portion of the development. Construction on that building has yet to begin. The market had planned to open sometime in the summer of 2014.
Cohen said the development company has been actively courting another grocer to replace Marlene’s. He said he hopes that the new grocer can be secured soon as a tenant.
Marlene’s along with a nine-screen Century cinema and a 175-room Silver Cloud hotel were the three largest tenants announced in the development, which borders on Commencement Bay.
The development’s build out was delayed by the housing bust, but Cohen contends that interest is high in the first multi-tenant building on the site, the Copperline Apartments. That 173-unit, eight-story building is due to open about April 1.
That building’s first floor will include several retailers and service providers from a coffee purveyor to an olive oil retailer, a plastic surgery center and a candy shop.
The developer said he expects construction work will begin within a month on the first of a two-building condominium complex sited between the Copperline and the bay. Point Ruston has received commitments from 15 buyers in that first, 22-unit structure.
“The bank has assured us that we will get the construction financing we need for that project, ” said Cohen. “We would be the first new condominium project started in Tacoma since the economy went bust,” he said.
Interest from potential tenants at the Copperline has been high although the building isn’t yet complete, said Cohen.
Meanwhile, Point Ruston last week informally opened the first segment of a waterfront promenade that borders the development. Two other phases of that walkway, which is decorated with elaborate ceramic art and trellises, are expected to be opened for public use by late spring.
The first segment leads from the existing Ruston Way walking path to just beyond the former Pierce County ferry that serves as the development’s sales office.