Aaron Beckord, owns two houses at East 34th Street and McKinley Avenue. One has become Hairartz, and the other will become a coffee shop.
He purchased both of the derelict homes last year and has done a pretty amazing job considering what they were:
Squatters were residing here. There are five bedrooms; every room had dirty mattress, a box used as a table with some half-eaten food, a television and drug paraphernalia or some sort – syringes or crack pipes.
This corner, more than anything else, was bringing down the neighborhood.
I tried for a year to rent or sell the houses. Maybe 10 times I had perspective buyers or tenants, and they would get scared away from drug dealers, pimps and prostitutes.
He grew up in the Central District, Capitol Hill and Queen Anne neighborhoods of Seattle. He sees promise in McKinley.
I’ve been all over Pierce County, and I can say this is my favorite part. It reminds me of the Seattle I grew up in 20 years ago.
This is the most diverse community in Tacoma. There are all sorts of religions. There are multimillionaires and those living paycheck-to-paycheck. There are different races, different cultures, different languages spoken. As a sense of community, it’s incredibly tolerant and friendly and open-minded. There are lots of gay people and lots of straight people. And everyone seems to get along.
This can become a destination just like Sixth Avenue and Proctor and Stadium. We might be one of the last ones getting our feet on the ground, but it’s happening everyday. And the changes I’ve seen in the short time since I’ve been here have been phenomenal.