FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2022
Vacant land that sat untouched for 15 years will get new life as a future affordable housing project, thanks to a partnership between Pierce County and the city of Tacoma.
Under an agreement between to the two jurisdictions, Pierce County will transfer 2.90 acres at 3561 Pacific Avenue in Tacoma to the city of Tacoma or Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority (TCRA) to be developed as mixed-income housing with a minimum 80 units reserved for lower income households. The agreement also authorized the property can be used as a temporary shelter through Dec. 31, 2023, as allowed under Tacoma Municipal Code. If the site hasn’t been transformed into a temporary shelter by 2023, the option to offer temporary shelter on site may be extended for two years, with the county’s consent. This process may continue in two-year increments until development begins on the site.
The Pierce County Council approved the transfer at its April 19, 2022, meeting.
“To help address the challenges we face related to the housing crisis in the region, we asked for a review of county-owned properties with the intent to find a path with our partners to see more housing built,” said Pierce County Council Vice Chair Marty Campbell. “This agreement carries out a shared priority between the county and city to increase affordable housing in the region and provide economic development in our neighborhoods.”
Under the approved agreement, at least two-thirds of the residential units developed are dedicated for households with incomes at or below 80 percent of the area median income, or an annual income of $57,750 for a three-person household. The requirement is in place for a minimum of 40 years.
“This land transfer is a great example of the power of partnerships,” said Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier. “It is important that we use all of the county’s resources to their highest and best use, and I’m pleased that the city of Tacoma will have the opportunity to bring badly needed affordable housing to our community.”
Pierce County first acquired the property located on the east side of Pacific Avenue south of 35th Street in 2000 as part of a larger land deal to be developed for county facilities. That never occurred and in 2007 the then-Council declared the property surplus. Despite this designation, the land was not sold.
TCRA owns adjacent property to the site and at a March 24, 2022, meeting approved a proposal by Mercy Housing Northwest to develop 81 units of affordable housing over an early learning center and community space on its land.
“When this transfer is completed, it will give the city the opportunity to work with an experienced developer to realize some of the highest and best use opportunities for this location through the development of a mixed-use residential and commercial property, bringing retail and addressing affordable housing needs in an area that has many opportunities for improvement,” said city of Tacoma Deputy Mayor Catherine Ushka.
In the terms of the agreement Pierce County shared its support for the site’s development as a mixed-income or mixed-use project. If no site development or building permits are issued within eight years of the land transfer, the property returns to Pierce County.
Brynn Grimley, Communications Manager
Office of the Pierce County Council
O: 253-798-7761 | C: 253-820-6896
Kari Moore, Public Information Specialist
Pierce County Communications Department, Human Services
O: 253-798-4384 | C: 253-363-0325
Tanisha Jumper, Director
Media and Communications, City of Tacoma