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Foss Hotel could break ground within a month

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on May 6, 2013 at 3:57 pm with No Comments »
May 6, 2013 4:11 pm

We’ve sounded the drum roll before for this event only to have opponents’ court action force cancellation of the ceremony.

But here goes nonetheless:

Groundbreaking for the long-awaited hotel on downtown Tacoma’s Foss Waterway could happen within the next month, according to the hotel’s architect.

Proposed Residence Inn Marriott on Tacoma's Foss Waterway
Proposed Residence Inn Marriott on Tacoma’s Foss Waterway

Dave Murphy, the Seattle architect who designed the 104-room Marriott Residence Inn for Bellingham’s Hollander Investments, said he expects the City of Tacoma will issue grading and excavation permits this month for the structure.

Work on the site between the Esplanade Condominiums and Thea’s Landing Apartments on Dock Street could begin shortly thereafter.

Construction could require 18 months or more, said Murphy.

Hollander has spent three years staving off  political and court appeals from the owners of the rival Murano Hotel and the labor union that staffs that hotel.

The state Supreme Court last year rejected an appeal of the hotel’s shoreline permit brought by the Murano owners.  That ownership contends the new hotel will block views and isn’t properly allowed under the state’s shoreline permit system.

The hotel and the union had halted the approval of a routine agreement with the City of Tacoma two years ago on an environmental issue by rallying city council members against the hotel plan.  A new council approved that plan.

The hotel’s owners have consistently refused to comment on their appeals.  A call for comment Friday on the hotel’s plans regarding the shoreline hotel elicited no additional comment from the Murano owners.

“We don’t know what to expect from them,” said Murphy.

The hotel has been on the Foss Waterway Development Authority’s wish list for a decade.  Two previous developers who proposed hotels were unable to win financing for their projects.  Hollander, the owner of the Marriott Courtyard Downtown Tacoma, says it has the financial means to build the hotel, but it has seen its start delayed repeatedly by challenges to its permits.

The Marriott Residence Inn  would be the first phase of a three-phase project on the site.   Hollander would build another hotel on the north end of the waterfront site if the Residence Inn is successful and create an office structure linking the two buildings as the third phase.

The Residence Inn is one of four new hotels planned for Tacoma, all of which were put on hold during the recession.

A Holiday Inn Express hotel is nearing completion near the University of Washington Tacoma.  A Silver Cloud Hotel is planning an hotel for the Point Ruston development near Point Defiance Park.  A McMenamins Hotel says it will build a 45-room hotel and entertainment venue in the Old Elks Temple downtown at 565 Broadway.  No construction work has begun on the project.




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