Morgan's Brain

Oct. 24, 2008 at 6:00am

Hilltop to Get New Mixed-Use Project

Here is something to be excited about!

The Gintz Group is working with the Hilltop community on a mixed-use project at 23rd & MLK. This is of course amazing news considering the economy!

From their letter to the City of Tacoma's Planning Commission:

"It would consist of retail/restaurant space on the ground level (along MLK) and market rate (higher end apartments on the upper 4 floors – a total of 80 units). We are set to begin schematic design and already enrolled in a HUD financing program. The underwriting for this financing typically takes approximately 6 months so that pushes ground breaking to spring of 2009."

The letter continues:

"...we understand that there has been some contention regarding the “mixed-use centers” rezone of late. Our project is totally contingent upon the rezone for its economic viability. Additionally, the project can also not afford to linger and incur fees waiting to be built. We are really between a rock and a hard place, but importantly we have an economically viable project that would benefit the city; and a project that can get done in this market."

I know the Planning Commission and the City Council are having a difficult time keeping up with the pace down at city hall - there's a lot going on! Mixed-Use update, Downtown update, Neighborhood update, Dome District update... and a few others. The challenge will be to find the balance of pushing all these updates through quickly as possible while making sure unintended consequences are avoided.

comments [12]  |  posted under hilltop, planning, tacoma


by Erik on 10/24/2008 @ 9:24am
The Gintz Group is working with the Hilltop community on a mixed-use project at 23rd & MLK. This is of course amazing news considering the economy!

Hilltop needs the project pretty badly if they are ever going to make progress toward recovery. Right now, even the scant retail they have their is having major problems.

The hospital expansions may add job to Tacoma, but they do not seem to be helping the vitality of the area would like a mixed use project.

by morgan on 10/24/2008 @ 10:47am
Agreed. The impact of having two very large institutions on the Hill - Multicare and the Franciscans seems to be both a positive and a negative. While employment in the neighborhood is desired, surface parking lots and the destruction of neighborhood fabric do more harm than good.

by Jake on 10/24/2008 @ 11:07am
From what I have heard St. John's Church is planning on demolishing the homes they own between J and MLK, 19th and 21st. Street for a surface parking lot. I'm hoping the rezone prevents a surface lot on MLK.

by morgan on 10/24/2008 @ 1:25pm
That is correct Jake as I understand it- the current parking lot will be developed (hopefully) and the adjacent block will be be turned into a parking lot. Sad, but that is where the market is right now. I hope the market changes - and fast!

by fredo on 10/29/2008 @ 7:37am
The hilltop area needs redevelopment and this project is a good starting point.

I would offer a further suggestion. The vitality of this area has spiraled downhill ever since the name of K Street was changed to MLK. Bring back the proper name for the area. Reminding everybody that this used to be a black neighborhood unnecessarily stigmatizes development.

by morgan on 10/29/2008 @ 11:28am
Agreed. It will always be "K" Street to me. The early history of the area was quite diverse: German, Italian, Japanese, Turkish, just to name a few. By around the mid point of the last century, "K" Street had become a major regional shopping destination. Hard to imagine today.

I have to disagree that the name change caused things to go downhill though. Quite the opposite is true.

by Urban E on 10/29/2008 @ 11:38am
So you preferred it when there were 3-4 people standing on each corner sellin crack to their mostly white buyers? I think you may have it wrong, most people that are still alive who would remember this part of Tacoma's history would associate Kst with the late 80's thru the early 90's, and besides what's wrong with identifying an areas historical signifigance with a particular ethnicity. Personally I think we should rename Jst to Ceasar Chavez. Its about the honoring of the individual not identification of a neighborhood

by fredo on 10/29/2008 @ 11:57am
Urban@ I would prefer we don't name streets after people. Cities which honor ML King by naming streets after him usually select streets running through low income areas. And that's the case in Tacoma. Like it or not, MLK has an unfortunate environmental vernacular: low income area.

Also, in my posting I didn't claim that the name change "caused" K St. to go lose vitality, however no one has posted any other theory. The vitality of the area has diminished since the era of the rename. I've been here 30 years and there was a lot more retail down there in the K St. days. A rename to K st. might not improve things...but why not give it a try?

by Mofo from the Hood on 10/29/2008 @ 3:06pm
I still call the street K Way in my mad little mind.

by Jake on 11/21/2008 @ 9:40am
I thought I heard some demo going on the other day:

Also MRED recieved a permit last month for the 25th and Yakima mixed-use project. The city said it is for site grading of "a future mixed-use building". Hopefully the future is soon.

by Urban E on 11/21/2008 @ 11:21am
From what I hear MRED put in for the permits because if/when the MUC zoning changes get completed they could lose out on some current code provisions (less commercial and lower height) and it only made since because they can't currently get financing.

by Jake on 11/21/2008 @ 11:57am
I don't think the height is changing in the RCX zoning. From what I see it is stayig 60' and the max commercial is staying at 25%. Unless I am looking at some of the old draft changes.