Here’s a map showing the property that Tacoma could buy after the developer turns it into a “Waterwalk.”
The developer is supposed to use $5 million in city financing to outfit the 50 feet closest to the water with surfaces, streetlights, benches, landscaping and shoreline structures by December 2012, before the city buys it for $6 million. Improvements on the inner 50 feet would come later.
Why spend the money, when the public is already supposed to have access to the 100 feet of shoreline as part of an earlier deal with Point Ruston?
City officials say buying the land would guarantee that access forever. But there’s also another reason: The deal is a way for the city to help the developer with cash flow and kick start the struggling Point Ruston development.
And the council has an interest in seeing the billion-dollar development succeed — not just because it will clean up the former Asarco site, bring in new taxpayers and build a bypass to replace the Ruston Way tunnel, but because the city needs the developer to repay the money it has already provided in financing.