City seeks entertainment hub developers for Tacoma Dome site

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A 10.6-acre site at the Tacoma Dome’s back parking lot is being shopped around in hopes developers will create visions of an entertainment hub that ties into the Tacoma Dome. Locator map courtesy of City of Tacoma

The City of Tacoma’s Community and Economic Development Department believes that the booming construction market in the city these days means that the time is right to market an underused plot of land next to the Tacoma Dome.

“We are casting our lines to see what happens,” said project manager Pat Beard, noting that the city has pondered ideas for the property off and on for decades. “The time is right to see if the property would get any interest. We obviously have a lot of development going on in Tacoma.”

The city issued a heads up of sorts to commercial developers, formally known as a request for proposals, for ideas on creating a destination entertainment and retail location on a 10.6-acre site on the east side of the city-owned Tacoma Dome. The site is currently a back parking lot and some vacant parcels running parallel to Interstate 5. City staffers will accept proposals through May 8 and hope to select one to further develop and eventually send to the City Council later this year. Once a project is selected this summer, the city will then enter exclusive negotiations with the proposed developers for up to nine months to hammer out details, timelines and permitting options before the deal faces a final nod from the council.

Ideally, proposals would complement Tacoma consumer shows, sporting events and concerts, which drew more than half a million people last year, but a development at the site would also have prime Interstate 5 access and visibility to a quarter of a million commuters who pass through the area each day.

“We are open to creative suggestions,” Beard said.

Minimum offers must include at least $8 million for the land as well as include ways to replace 594 parking spaces that would be lost with any development of the property. The Tacoma Dome has 1,795 on-site parking stalls and some 5,600 stalls are available in pockets of lots in the neighborhood. Most of them are full during marquee concerts and events. About a quarter of the events at the Dome exceed the parking capacity of the district according to city reports. The replacement parking stalls must be located within walking distance of the Dome.

Proposals will be evaluated on the proposed future use of the property, the overall purchase price and the willingness of the development group to work creatively with the city on parking and traffic congestion issues tied to the development and Dome activities.

Any project could be up to 100 feet tall on land that is defined as a Tier 1 property the city can surplus in an effort to generate new property, sales and business taxes through the creation of family-wage jobs and private investment.

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