Tacoma Urbanist

Mar. 18, 2008 at 12:23am

Is Tully's Going Into Hilltop at 19th and L?

Zesty Enterprise has some pretty exciting news (buried in her blog) if her sources prove accurate:


There have been plans to place a coffee shop in Hilltop at the corner of 19th and L for some time now.  It required a vote from the city council for a minor re-zone.

For the first time now, we hear it may very well be a Tully's.

From Zesty Enterprise:

Almost a year ago I reported that something was afoot at the corner of S.19th and L, a stone’s throw from my house. I speculated then, as I do now, that the presence of a drive thru at this particular developement is a sure sign of COFFEE. Since then, we’ve watched NOTHING happen, our coffee dreams remaining just that. But look! Them’s the beginnings of a proper building!

The presence of Coffee remains unconfirmed, though I noticed on a walk with Freya this weekend that a nearby home for sale boasts about it’s proximity to a future Tully’s.




(Photo by Zesty Enterprise via linking, not downloading)

The plan for a coffee generally has been well known for a year.

We will see if a Tullys gets built there.  That would be a big improvement for Hilltop both in functioning and in perception.  From what I have read, they will have a sit down area for coffee.

However, the drive through is a detriment to neighborhood integrity and pedestrian life.  That's the big difference between the attractive and lively part of 6th Avenue by Masa and the multiple drive throughs and curb cuts on 6th where the KFC is located.

One has to be careful in not letting one's neighborhood become simply an area that people use to drive through like 38th Avenue and Pine.  I suppose a row of functioning drive throughs might be an improvement to many of the empty buildings that are there now.  Perhaps that it what Tully's demanded before they would agree to come in.  However, it is pretty limiting.

We will see how it works out.

comments [18]  |  posted under tacoma, Washington

Comments

by Jake on 3/18/2008 @ 1:07am
The building is actually going in at 19th and MLK. I have heard the Tully's rumor for a while but last time I spoke (sometime last year) with the developer they didn't have anyone set in stone. I believe Tully's is going through some financial issues right now too so I am not sure how much expanding they would be doing. I am sure we will find out soon.

by Gorman on 3/18/2008 @ 6:22am
I think cofee there would be great, really any type of retail is needed.
Although, I don't see where a drive through could be located. The building is built to the edge of the alley and there isn't room behind the building...

by thriceallamerican on 3/18/2008 @ 7:26am
If it's going to be a chain/franchise sort of operation, I'd love to see another Forza. They're more local than $tarbux or Tully's, being a franchise means the store owners may even live in Tacoma, and their decor (fireplace, big wooden bar, etc.) lends itself quite nicely to people actually sitting down and enjoying their coffee instead of the get-in-get-out phenomenon, drive-through aside...

by KevinFreitas on 3/18/2008 @ 8:06am
I'd like to see another 2 or 3 stories on top of this to make it mixed-use. Could help offer up more affordable urban housing and start more of a trend in this direction.

by ensie on 3/18/2008 @ 8:23am
Honestly? I'd like it to not be another coffee place. I know that's sacrilege in the Pacific Northwest, but there are so many other types of retail that could be beneficial.

I also agree with Kevin - a mixed use building would be nice. Tacoma could use more of that type of offering around town. The more modern construction tends to be more mixed use, so maybe we'll get it.

by Erik on 3/18/2008 @ 8:38am
The building is actually going in at 19th and MLK. I have heard the Tully's rumor for a while but last time I spoke (sometime last year) with the developer they didn't have anyone set in stone.

Hold on a minute Jake. Are you calling into question the accuracy of information found on a Realtor (TM) flier? What are you saying? :)

I'd like to see another 2 or 3 stories on top of this to make it mixed-use. Could help offer up more affordable urban housing and start more of a trend in this direction.

Me too. The height limit would certainly allow something like that there but integrated housing like the Gamble Building difficult these days due to off-street parking requirements and I doubt they are going to the expense to place the parking underground.

Hence, alot of Tacoma's affordable housing concerns are self imposed.

Here's how it used to be done, now illegal:



(Gamble Building in Proctor with apartments upstairs)

and:



(NW Shop Building in Proctor w/apartments upstairs)

Honestly? I'd like it to not be another coffee place. I know that's sacrilege in the Pacific Northwest, but there are so many other types of retail that could be beneficial.

I agree there are getting to be alot of coffee places in Tacoma. However, Hilltop has zero right now. I think they had The Usual for a time which used to be on 21st Street.

by Erik on 3/18/2008 @ 8:54am
They're more local than $tarbux or Tully's, being a franchise means the store owners may even live in Tacoma,

Forza v. Tullyu's Coffee?

Hmmm. That would be an interesting contest.

by thriceallamerican on 3/18/2008 @ 9:07am
The Usual, when on Hilltop, was on 11th, not 21st.

And yeah, that is an area that doesn't have much in the way of coffee shops. Living near the 6th Ave Starbucks, I can attest via direct observation of my neighbors that large numbers of people will walk to get a cup of coffee...

by izenmania on 3/18/2008 @ 9:54am
It is interesting that Forza is considered "more local" just because they haven't been around as long, and therefore haven't spread to other parts of the country/world.

by thriceallamerican on 3/18/2008 @ 10:00am
No, I meant "more local" because Forza is based in Gig Harbor, as opposed to Seattle. Not to mention having franchised stores instead of corporate-operated stores, meaning that even if they expand to Kansas someday, those stores can be Kansas owned (with a nice chunk of franchise fees coming back to Gig Harbor).

Edit: Apparently that should be Gig Harbor, not U.P. as I originally said...edited above. (p.s. to kevin: is there a reason that neither the del or strike tags work? I think I'm using them right...)

by izenmania on 3/18/2008 @ 10:22am
Aha, understandable. I've run into enough people who really do think of Forza the way I mentioned that I figured that was what you meant, too.

by KevinFreitas on 3/18/2008 @ 10:31am
(thrice: those are stripped out now but I'll allow them and post a key for what's allowed below the message box as well)

by Erik on 3/18/2008 @ 10:41am
It is interesting that Forza is considered "more local" just because they haven't been around as long, and therefore haven't spread to other parts of the country/world.

Yes, and adding complexity to the "Go Local" community discussion.

Either a Tully's or a Forza on Hilltop would be a huge milestone for the area.

by ZestyJenny on 3/18/2008 @ 11:48am
Being so close, we got the plans for the building in the mail about a year ago. There were 4 retail spaces, with a drive thru on the end.

I realize that a drive thru wouldn't be the best news for most neighborhoods, but given there was an abandoned lot there before, I'll take it.

Besides, I'm selfishly envisioning the quick swing through there on the way to work, then right onto I-5.

There have been many rumors on this block as to what coffee is going in there and the last one I heard (before the flyer) was that it was going to be Bertolino Bros.

I would also like a pho place, some decent burritos, and maybe a flower/gift shop.

by thriceallamerican on 3/18/2008 @ 12:53pm
I realize that a drive thru wouldn't be the best news for most neighborhoods, but given there was an abandoned lot there before, I'll take it.

Abandoned? Surely you're being too harsh! What about the guys that sold Nike's and stuff there, and the street preacher dude? ;-)

by ZestyJenny on 3/18/2008 @ 4:53pm
Ah, the preacher dude, his sermons wafting through open summer windows...

by jcbetty on 3/18/2008 @ 6:34pm
SALVATION!!! (now salvation through drive-though java and mixed-use construction? Amen!)

by Twisty on 3/21/2008 @ 6:23pm
This post has me thinking, Erik...

Let's ban drive-throughs. Let's stop permitting new ones, and give businesses a reasonable time (say, five years) to get rid of the existing ones.

There are many good (and popular) reasons to do this. For example, drive throughs...

* are anti-pedestrian (as you aptly pointed out)
* waste fuel and cause air pollution (when engines idle for several minutes in cars that aren't moving)
* encourage us to be fat and lazy (and who among us wouldn't benefit from a little walking?)
* encourage littering
* waste space that could be used for larger seating areas or more parking

And these are just the first few reasons that pop into my head; I'll bet that you and I could think of many more reasons to ban d-t's, as well as more benefits to a drive through-free city, if we put our minds to it.

And let's face it -- even a sparkling-new franchise restaurant is a form of urban blight, if for no other reason than that the corporations put up the same darned cookie-cutter building in every city where they do business.

Many other cities have sign codes and building codes that force these kinds of businesses to conform to aesthetic standards. We have no such codes in Tacoma, and we clearly need them. I think getting rid of the idling queues of cars would be a great start.

What say you?