A proposed six-story, mixed-use project in Proctor District intends to up the vitality of the district, but it’s being met with some opposition.
The project, Proctor 28, will include 135 apartments and 12,000 square feet of retail space at street level. It would be located at the intersection of Proctor and North 28th Streets.
It is the latest version of the project proposed by Bill Evans, owner of the nearby Pacific Northwest Shop, and his business partner Erling Kuester. They have brought in Rick Moses, a real estate developer from Southern California. Moses recently tried to create a mixed-use development adjacent to the old Elks Temple downtown, but he and his business partner ended up not pursuing it.
The parcel eyed for Proctor 28 currently has a one-story commercial building and small parking lot. It includes two restaurants, Babblin’ Babs Bistro and Happy Teriyaki Wok, and Corcoran Lock & Safe.
Bob Corcoran has owned his locksmith business at this location for more than 20 years. He said he has less than a year left on his current lease, but has a notarized five-year extension. “I want it, so I better get it or I will take this to court,” he said.
Corcoran said he contacted the landlord, who lives in New Mexico, last year. Corcoran said if the landlord were willing to pay him a certain amount, he would agree to move out by Jan. 1 and drop his lease renewal option.
Corcoran said the landlord’s son got in touch with Evans and Kuester, and the three decided to get Moses involved in plans for the six-story building. He said Moses met Corcoran in Corcoran’s lawyer’s office to discuss the project.
Corcoran said he now plans to stay in business at this location. “They do not care about anyone but themselves,” Corcoran said. “I do not want anything to do with them.”
Moses, and Evans, could not be immediately reached for comment. Could such a project be feasible in the current economy? One successful local developer thinks it could. Blaine Johnson converted the old YMCA building across the street from city hall into a condominium building and built a new residential structure, the Roberson, next to it.
Johnson thinks the project has potential. “It is always a challenge with commercial space to attract tenants who can support the leases,” he said. Johnson feels the residential units definitely meet a market demand. “It is an attractive neighborhood,” he said, one of several business districts in town that are ideal for people who to shop and dine near where they live. “Proctor fits right in to that.”
The retail component is less certain.
“There is a lot of space competing for tenants,” he said, referring to Tacoma in general. Proctor District, a destination for shopping and dining, traditionally has little vacant space. “I think this project is ideal for the future of Tacoma.”