A new waterfront apartment building, the first built on downtown Tacoma’s Thea Foss Waterway since the recession began six years ago, could break ground as early as September.
The 167-unit Henry Apartments are planned for a site between the existing Albers Mill and the Interstate 509 cable-stayed bridge over the waterway.
The Foss Waterway Development Authority has been expediting the deal that will allow the construction to begin since early this spring when it requested proposals for the site.
The authority’s board Wednesday night voted unanimously to sell the lot, called Site 1 by the authority, to the Henry Group, for $1.25 million. The authority has already begun applications for permits to allow the building construction to begin.
Su Dowie, the authority’s executive director, told the board that the sale could close in last August or early September and construction could began within two weeks.
Construction of the u-shaped building will require about 14 to 17 months, said BCRA architect Randall Gould. BCRA is designing the building.
The authority’s Urban Design Review Committee and the board has given its approval to the building’s design subject to further review of some final details regarding the massing of the structure and utility corridor accesses.
Gould said the emerging design shows the building exterior will be faced with materials, brick, metal and panel siding, common to other structures build along the waterway.
The building is canted on the lot instead of being parallel or perpendicular to Dock Street or the waterway. The Docks Street retail spaces will be arranged in a kind of sawtooth angle. That variation gives each storefront an individual facade and keeps the streetside portion of the building from being a straight, uninteresting wall of rentable spaces.
On the building’s water side, the design was modified to ensure that the retail spaces there clearly appeared to be part of the public esplanade rather than facilities restricted only to building tenants, the architect said.
The building is designed to allow pedestrian access all around the building to provide clear connections between Dock Street and the waterway pedestrian esplanade.
On the building’s south side, an existing park will be enhanced to create more kids’ play areas and to improve its attractiveness and accessibility.