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Grassi says UP needs new approach to Town Center

Post by Brent Champaco on March 29, 2010 at 11:59 pm with 7 Comments »
April 1, 2010 12:43 pm

One of University Place’s original leaders who supported its vision for Town Center said it’s time the city rethink its approach to the project’s retail component Monday night.

UP City Councilman Ken Grassi – a businessman himself who supported the mix of retail, civic and other services – said after Monday’s meeting that the city needs a new approach to secure developers for the $250 million project.

The city should try to attract outlet stores of major retailers – a cost-effective alternative to major retailers that isn’t readily available between Tacoma and Lakewood, the flower shop owner said.

Grassi made his comments the same night the University Place City Council extended its contract with a consultant to help find developers for the $250 million project another two months. Heartland LLC will work to secure a developer at least through May 31. In January, city leaders signed a $75,000 contract with the consultant through this month, although it has paid $23,321.

The measure passed on a 4-2 vote. Grassi, along with Councilwoman Denise McCluskey, voted against the extension.

“I think it’s time we take a really, really hard look at this project and what’s feasible,” he said after the meeting. “I think we need to stop trying to compete with the Tacoma Mall, or Lakewood, or Gig Harbor, for that matter.”

It’s a different approach than what the city’s original vision for Town Center called for, included high-end retail and condominiums.

But the recent economic downturn highlighted the reality that shoppers are looking to get the most out of their dollar, he said. Unique, high-end retail might give shoppers a reason to initially visit, but they might not return.

Quality outlet stores would fit into UP’s original intent to attract out-of-town shoppers, he said. Grassi referred to the Seattle Premium Outlet stores, which are routinely busy.
Grassi said he will continue to push for the idea, especially if Heartland still can’t find a developer.

Read more about this story later in the News Tribune.

Categories:
University Place
Leave a comment Comments → 7
  1. let’s beat a dead horse here, I seem to remember a quite vibrant shopping center in that same location in the late 80′s and early 90′s. I guess it was a hurricane-no-maybe a tsunami-no-an earthquake no that’s not right. Oh yeah it was a windstorm that blew in from city hall and destroyed Denny’s, KFC, Round Table Pizza, Mama Stortini’s, a bingo hall and a few other businesses. Lest we forget the brand new Library and yet these same dunderheads keep getting re-elected. C’mon Grassi, you of all people should know that government doesn’t know how to do these things.

  2. americancitizen says:

    Big 10-4 jmhoward. These jokers should have touched that project.

    No way in hell it would have been so stagnate if a private entity was behind the wheel from day one. We would be using it right if anyone other than UP was driving this bus.

  3. “I think it’s time we take a really, really hard look at this project and what’s feasible,” he said after the meeting. “I think we need to stop trying to compete with the Tacoma Mall, or Lakewood, or Gig Harbor, for that matter.”

    They should have figured this out like 6 years ago and not even wasted one penny on it.

  4. Daisydog says:

    Time once again for the bags people. When I drive thru U.P. this afternoon I put a paper bag over my head because I’m so embarassed!

  5. Grassi has always been a joke !

    You continue to tolerate and accept this treatment – Live With It !

  6. UncleSiggy says:

    @Daisydog No need to wear a bag, just pretend you are from Lakewood on your way to Pt. Defiance. :-D

  7. TacomaBorn says:

    It is very discouraging, no very very disappointing that the City of University Place has wasted thousands of tax dollars on this. We are still waiting for a Town Center to be built and the UP City Council contines to monkeyfoot around

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