// Development moves forward on Foss Fredrickson

Tacoma City Council faced a sprinkling of development briefings Tuesday that suggests, if not outright shows, the local economy is on the mend after years of being – pardon the pun – bottled up.

One development involves waterfront housing while another means Tacoma water will soon be bottled and sound around the region.

The most obvious development greenlighted with a councilmatic nod was the Henry, a seven-story, mixed-use apartment building in the works for 19333 Dock St. along the Foss Waterway. The site is next to the Albers Mill Loft development. The sale of the a 51,647-square-foot site itself was handled by the Foss Waterway Authority, which issued a request for proposals from developers, netting only one offer, The Henry. The sale price comes to $1.2 million, or $25 a square foot of land, which is market rate for the land.

The council approved the concept, environmental issues and scope of the construction as well as a tax break for the developer, Henry Foss Group. The tax break is an eight-year Multi-Family Housing Property Tax Exemption for the 167-unit building.

The $31 million building will offer market rate, rental units that range between 500 and 1,200 square feet, have two levels of parking totaling 255 stalls and commercial spaces. The housing will consist of approximately 21 studio units, 95 one-bedroom/one-bath units, 15 two-bedroom, single bathroom units and 30 two-bedroom-two-bath units. Rents will run from about $975 per month for the studio space to about $2,250 for the larger units.

The roof will have a dog-walking area with trees and shrubs. Public park space and connective “corridors” to the waterfront Esplanade are also parts of the deal. Henry Group, LLC gained its name from the site. Henry was the son of Andrew and Thea Foss, the matron of a Tacoma-based boat rental company that grew to be a Puget Sound maritime legacy. The development group is backed by Carino & Associates and Rushforth Construction Co., the builder behind Thea’s Landing elsewhere on the Foss.

Construction is set to start this fall and span about 14 months, supporting some 930 construction trades people, according to city reports.

A tentative deal between Tacoma Water, the city’s water utility and California-based Niagara Bottling LLC is the latest step in what is projected to be a $50 million, 311,000-square-foot bottling plant in the Frederickson Industrial Area that would mean Tacoma water would be bottled and shipped around the region, and under various brand names, as early as next year.

The Tacoma City Council is set to approve a Tacoma Public Utilities-negotiated contract next week for the wholesale of a about a million gallons of water a day to the bottled-water giant, making it the third largest customer.

Simpson Tacoma Kraft, uses 16 million gallons a day, which is about half of what it consumed before conservation measures were installed 20 years ago. The entire City of Fife is the second largest customer, at 1.41 million gallons. All totaled, the deal would add about $800,000 in new utility revenue each year for water that is well within the utility’s future “surplus.”

All of TPU’s customers consume about 55 million gallons a day, while the system has a capacity of about 110 million gallons a day. The sale of unused water to a commercial customer will fewer rate hikes for residential customers.

The TPU board has already approved the deal, and the City Council showed no signs of doing anything but welcome the deal, making next week’s vote largely a formality.

Lost in the big news about the Henry and Niagra was a contract award to replace the pool at People’s Community Center. The pool was closed in 2005, when need for substantial upgrades were found and no money was available to do the work to the 35-year-old facility.

Seattle-based NAC Architecture was awarded the $746,000 contract for a new pool and activities facility. People's Community Center is a city-owned facility that is operated by Metro Parks, which has allocated $1.6 million toward the facility. Design work will begin later this summer, with construction to be completed in summer 2015.


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