The most significant development in more than a decade could break ground soon in the Sixth Avenue Business district.
Called “Marc on the Ave” in city planning records, the mixed-use building would bring 108 apartments and 7,400 square feet of retail space to the southeast corner of Sixth and Alder, wrapped in a structure that takes up three-quarters of the block.
That’s the space now occupied by Trapper’s Sushi. Once complete, the building, with six above-ground floors, would be the tallest in the district.
The spot is being developed by Kirk Rector, principal of Tacoma’s Affinity Investments.
When reached last week, Rector said he was finishing up the due diligence phase for the project. The building would be similar in concept to Garfield Station, a mixed-use development near Pacific Lutheran University that he helped develop, he said. He declined additional comment.
Rector and other investors had pitched a scaled-down version of the structure in 2010 — five above-ground floors, 60 apartments and 4,500 square feet of ground-level retail in a project they called “The Marc on Sixth.” They shelved it as the local economy struggled after the Great Recession.
For the larger version, four buildings would be demolished to make way for the development: a nearly 3,000-square-foot storage building, the current Trapper’s Sushi building, an adjacent home and a two-story commercial building.
When completed, Trapper’s would move into a 3,000-square-foot, ground-floor space that’s about twice the size of its current location. Trapper’s recently announced two new locations: one in Bonney Lake and another in Parkland’s Garfield Station.
The development would be a welcome addition to the business district, said district president Dan Smith, owner of Tacoma Custom Jewelers.
“We want these larger, newer structures,” Smith said. “Based on who I see coming to our festivals and events, I don’t think we are going to have a huge outcry of grief and frustration like the people in Proctor, because we are a little bit different.”
Tearing down old structures and building anew, he said, will inject vibrancy into the district.
The developer would use the full 65-foot height allotment for the 148,500-square-foot building, said Brian Boudet, planning division manager for the city.
“This is the exact same process the Proctor project went through,” Boudet said Monday. “It’s the same general height. It’s the same kind of layout.”
Though Boudet said it’s in an area where zoning does not require any additional parking, the developer told the city he is considering 121 spaces below the building.
Unless the developer asks for a variance from current zoning standards, there won’t be a public hearing, Boudet said. The site is within one of the city’s mixed-use centers, bounded by Alder Street on the west, Sprague Avenue to the east, and from North Eighth Avenue to South Eighth Avenue. The code that has been around for about two decades allows the building’s 65-foot height, Boudet said.
Boudet said Sixth Avenue is also a pedestrian corridor, which means vehicle access to the new apartment building could not be on Sixth. The frontage of the building along Sixth Avenue would gain about a half a block of street parking once the current entrances to Trapper’s are eliminated, he said.
Pierce Transit’s most-used route passes Sixth and Alder around every 20 minutes, with a direct connection to Tacoma Community College. The site is two blocks from Tacoma Bike and the Tacoma Food Co-op, six blocks southeast of the University of Puget Sound, and within walking distance of several popular Sixth Avenue bars and legal marijuana shops.