Affinity Real Estate Management, in partnership with Korsmo Construction and Pacific Lutheran University (PLU), has begun development of the major mixed-use project, Garfield Station, along the two-block stretch between PLU and Pacific Avenue South.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held on September 10, 2013 and approximately 75 attendees were present, including PLU President and Vice President, Pierce County Council Members, and members of the development team including Korsmo Construction, Affinity Real Estate Management, Vesta Capital and GGLO Architects.
Garfield Station, named after the station of the Old Betsy railway car that connected downtown Tacoma to Parkland from the 1890s to the 1930s, will support the ongoing revitalization efforts at Parkland’s Garfield Street.
About one block from the PLU campus and across the street from the bookstore and commons, the four-story Garfield Station will provide residential accommodations comprised of studio and 1-3 bedroom units as well as commercial space on street level with approximately 9,000 square feet for PLU office/classroom use and 7,500 square feet for traditional retail shop space that compliments the Garfield neighborhood.
After completion of PLU’s Garfield Book Company and Commons, providing housing and improved retail spaces was the next obvious step to creating a close knit community built on convenience for those who work in the area, either on campus or nearby. Residents will be able to eat, shop, and live near work, with public transit located only half a block away. In addition, Garfield Station will be “built green” promoting practices such as creating energy efficiency, improving indoor air and water quality, and conserving natural resources.
In March 2012, the hard work paid off for the local Chamber, Pierce County officials, and PLU when Governor Gregoire signed 6277, which provides property tax exemption to properties associated with the development of multi-unit residential structures located in a targeted residential area contained in an urban growth center. The purpose of this bill is to ensure that counties in Washington have the same resources and authority as cities currently have in their repertoire to promote economic development efforts in neighborhoods such as Garfield Street.
The Garfield Station qualified for a 12-year tax break under this legislation for the residential portion of the project only. To obtain the tax exemption, 20 percent of the units are required to be rented as affordable to moderate-income housing as determined by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The benefits of the legislation includes over $1 million in sales tax revenue, approximately 100 construction jobs over the next 18 months and at least 4 permanent jobs, the stimulus of 150-200 new residents, revitalization of the currently distressed urban area of Parkland, and provides an excellent return on investment for local taxpayers after the 12-year tax abatement period ends generating more property tax in one year ($350,000) than the tax amount abated of the prior twelve years ($276,000). The remaining commercial portion of the project that does not qualify for tax abatement will be taxed beginning Year 1. The property taxes generated will be higher than that of the former dilapidated buildings located on the north side of Garfield Street
Projected monthly rent would be about $800 for a studio, $1,000 for a one-bedroom, $1,300 for a two-bedroom, and $1,500 for a three-bedroom. Commercial retail space will have monthly rents averaging $1,680-$3,360. The building will be ready for occupancy late summer 2014.