Seattle Commercial Real Estate News of the Day

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Seattle Times Daily Journal of Commerce Headline
Boeing will add 1,200 in Renton over two years Former rail line will become Hood Corridor at UW Tacoma
Amazon’s big move leaves empty feeling The University of Washington Tacoma is gearing up for a project that will transform the center of campus by turning an abandoned rail line into a pedestrian trail with plazas and gathering spaces.

Mike Wark, director of external relations, said the project will unify the campus and improve the way it looks and functions for pedestrians.

The school received 11 responses to its request for qualifications for design services. Teams will be shortlisted by May 23 and one will be picked by early June.

Preliminary estimates for the total cost are between $5 million and $7 million.

The UW Tacoma campus is built around the historic Northern Pacific Railroad line, which bisects the campus diagonally, cutting it into two sections. The railroad line runs from 17th Street to 21st Street on the campus. Originally, buildings were designed to focus attention away from the working rail line.

In 2003, BNSF Railway abandoned the line’s northernmost two miles. The city of Tacoma plans to turn that stretch into the Prairie Line Trail, running through the historic Brewery District, the UW-Tacoma campus, past the Tacoma Art Museum and down to the Thea Foss Waterway.

The UW worked with the city and BNSF to acquire the portion that runs through campus and have named it the Hood Corridor. This will be one of the first sections of the trail to be completed.

Milt Tremblay, director of facilities for the UW Tacoma, said the 80-foot-wide area will be much more than a trail. It will connect both sides of campus, create gathering areas and plazas, and allow students, faculty and people in wheelchairs to more easily navigate the campus’ steep grade.

The project will treat stormwater, thanks to a recent grant. Water will flow from a nearby hilltop along the trail to the Thea Foss Waterway, and will be purified along the way. Tremblay said the project will create an outdoor laboratory for environmental studies students.

UW Tacoma will seek a contractor in the spring of 2012. Construction of the first phase, from 19th to 21st streets, will go from May through October. The team wants the new Tioga Library to be complete before construction begins.

The school is seeking grants and other partners to complete the second phase of the trail, from 17th to 18th streets. This northern phase will likely include some parking spaces and a small amphitheater.

Innovative LED lighting will be used to light the trail and increase safety, Tremblay said. He said the project will provide places for students to use the area as outdoor classrooms.

Wark said the original rail line was laid by Chinese workers 130 years ago. The new design will be sensitive to its historical significance, though it is unclear how the rails will be represented.

Once complete, the trail will be part of the city’s Prairie Line Trail. For more information, visit www.tacoma.washington.edu.

The diagonal corridor is intended to unify the campus and eventually be part of the city’s Prairie Line Trail, through the historic Brewery District and down to the Thea Foss Waterway.

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About CRE Northwest

Specialist in office & investment real estate in Seattle & the Eastside
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