Monday, October 29, 2012

Tacoma’s Brewery District and Economic Development

On Tuesday, October 23, 2012 the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Northwest presented a report regarding economic development for Tacoma’s Brewery District to the city council’s Economic Development Committee. The report provided recommendations on how to transform the Brewery District into a “high-density, mixed use Urban Center” (ULI Northwest, 2012, p. 4).

The Brewery District is the area south of downtown and is adjacent to the University of Washington, Tacoma (UWT) campus and the Dome District, with easy access to Interstate 705 to the east.

The Brewery District has many historic buildings that make this area unique. Redevelopment of these existing structures would add vibrancy and character to the district and Tacoma. Given the economic nature of Tacoma and the district’s proximity to freeways and the link, the report cited opportunities of converting these structures into artist live/work housing, brewers, distillers, wineries, and culinary uses that would enable items to be made here and shipped to places with more disposable income. Furthermore, spaces could be used for entertainment, regular events, and recreational centers. The report also noted opportunities with UWT and Chihuly Studios.

The City of Tacoma currently “owns approximately nine acres and two buildings in the core of the Brewery District” (ULI Northwest, 2012, p. 6). The report and presentation recommended the city partner with a private developer to help the city form relationships with businesses and entrepreneurs thereby creating a market for this hidden gem within the city.

The Brewery District is blessed with many important and unique qualities that hold a lot of potential. The key to transforming the district, noted Ricardo Noguera, the Director of the City of Tacoma’s Community & Economic Development Department, is to successfully market and promote these extraordinary qualities and those of Tacoma as a whole. Bob Levin, also with Economic Development, noted that there are multiple property developments in the planning state that will likely be announced in the next year.

We at the Chamber look forward to the ongoing growth of the business community.


ULI Northwest. (2012, October). Brewery District Redevelopment Technical Assistance Panel Recommendations. Paper presented at the meeting of Tacoma City Council Economic Development Committee, Tacoma, WA.

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