The Biz Buzz

Get the most up-to-date news, insights and analysis of Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound business.

NOTICE: The Biz Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved The Biz Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Category: Construction


Cranes drawing extra scrutiny from feds after string of fatalities in the Northwest

Federal inspectors will be conducting a round of enhanced inspections of cranes  at construction sites and ports beginning this week in an effort to reduce injuries and fatalities from cranes mishaps in the Northwest.

Officials from the federal Occupational Health and Safety have investigated 13 crane-related fatalities in the last five years in Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho.

The latest crane-related fatality  in Pierce County happened  March 12 when a longshore union crane mechanic was killed on a crane at the Port of Tacoma’s Pierce County Terminal.  Jeff Surber, 46, of Bonney Lake died while adjusting machinery atop one of

Read more »


Gig Harbor’s Rush Residential announces plans for new 31-home community

Rush Residential, the custom home building arm of The Rush Companies, announced this morning its newest residential community in Gig Harbor.

Bellesara will be a 10-acre, 31-home neighborhood just west of the Wollochet exit from Highway 16. Sales and construction will begin this fall, according to a news release.

Homes at Bellesara will range from 2,600-3,000 square feet and be priced from $400,000-$450,000. The homes will have large two- and three-car garages on large lots. They also will be designed as open concept and have large covered outdoor areas.

Bellasara is the first of three new neighborhoods Rush has

Read more »


Long-awaited downtown Kent residential and retail project will begin next month

A long-awaited Kent residential and retail project at a key downtown intersection will begin construction next month.

The five-story, mixed use building will contain 176 apartments, 3,100 square feet of retail and 35 public parking places in addition to parking spots for residents.

The project is being developed by Seattle’s Goodman Real Estate. The building is being designed by Studio Meng Strazzara.

The construction site occupies a strategic location near the Kent Station retail development and Kent’s historic downtown district.  The project will be called “The Platform” because of its proximity to Sound Transit’s Kent Sounder commuter rail station and

Read more »


Foss Waterway Development Authority elevates interim director to permanent status

The municipal authority that promotes and governs redevelopment of downtown Tacoma’s Thea Foss Waterway has named Su Dowie as its executive director.

Dowie had served as the authority’s interim director for three and a half years since executive director Don Meyer retired. Dowie joined the authority in 1998. Before her appointment as interim director, she was the authority’s second-in-command.

The authority delayed naming a permanent replacement for Meyer, now a Port of Tacoma commissioner, because the authority’s finances were hit hard by the recession.  Development activity along the formerly industrial waterway ground to a halt in 2008, impacting the authority’s

Read more »


Builder to begin constructing 143 single-family homes in Eastside’s New Salishan

The Tacoma Housing Authority took a major step this week in advancing  the rebirth of the former Salishan public housing project on Tacoma’s Eastside as a major mixed-use housing development.

The authority sold 143 lots in Area Three  of the former World War II housing development to the nation’s largest homebuilder,  D.R. Horton.  Horton is expected to begin building single-family homes on the lots this summer.

Those homes, most of them with three or four bedrooms, are likely to be priced at market rates between $180,000 and $250,000, said Michael Mirra, the housing authority’s executive director. A few with views

Read more »


Foss Hotel could break ground within a month

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.

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

Read more »


Tacoma McMenamins is the topic of lunch panel in two weeks

Perhaps, dear readers, we might learn a few more details about the McMenamins’ plans for the Tacoma Elks Temple after a luncheon in two weeks.

Commercial Real Estate Women Seattle & Sound are hosting a lunch panel May 14 at the Hotel Murano, 1320 Broadway, that promises “more exciting details” about the construction.

The group’s news release says construction is scheduled to begin later this year, though a time frame for that has been squishy for awhile. Representatives of the Portland-based brewpub picked up construction permits from the City of Tacoma in February, but work hasn’t begun yet. The

Read more »


Artist live/work space possibilities in Tacoma (Brewery District *cough cough*) up for discussion next week

A national nonprofit known for developing buildings into live/work studios for artists is on its way to Tacoma, planning to study whether it could happen here.

Artspace will do a feasibility study May 9 and 10, and there’s a community meeting May 9 at 7 p.m. to meet Artspace representatives and share ideas.

My colleague Rosemary Ponnekanti wrote more about this over at GO Arts:

What’s Artspace? If you’ve wandered around Seattle’s Pioneer Square, you’ll have seen their most famous Seattle development in the Tashiro Kaplan lofts. One of the driving forces behind the historic area’s renaissance in

Read more »