[Originally published by the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce]
Horizon Partners Northwest prides itself on preserving Tacoma’s history, focusing on making the old new again.
For Horizon, adaptive reuse is its preferred approach to development, which can be seen in its historic renovations of the Morris Miller Building (now Horizon Pacific Center), the Hunt Mottet Lofts and Schoenfield Building.
Adaptive reuse preserves the history and character of the existing structure, creates less construction waste, helps reduce urban sprawl and is far more sustainable than new construction. This approach also tends to encourage the use of new, innovative materials.
CLT comes to Tacoma
Horizon’s latest project, Brewery Blocks Tacoma, isn’t an exception when it comes to using innovative materials: it will be the first development in the city to use cross-laminated timber, or CLT.
Brewery Blocks will transform six buildings across two city blocks south of University of Washington Tacoma bounded by South C and Commerce streets, and South 21st and 23rd streets. Horizon is redeveloping the buildings into more than 200 units of market-rate housing, 75,000 square feet of Class A office space and 42,000 square feet of retail and restaurants. There also will be 450 parking stalls, 100 of which will be finished next month.
Brewery Blocks will offer 42,000 square feet of restaurants and retail.
CLT was initially developed in Europe as a sustainable alternative to stone, and is a large-scale, prefabricated, solid engineered wood panel. It is fabricated from several layers of kiln-dried lumber, which are then stacked in multiple directions and secured with structural adhesive. It is pressed and formed into a solid rectangular panel, and offers many benefits including quick and easy installation.
Within the Brewery Blocks project, CLT will be used in multiple buildings throughout the development, including the 14-story high-rise that will be the tallest building in the country using CLT floor components when completed. The two-story restaurant on the corner of Commerce and 21st, the seven-story office building and the four-floor extension of Brewery Lofts residential units will all incorporate CLT elements.
These CLT panels are pre-fabricated off-site and offer a safe and sustainable element to this project, which served as the motivation behind using this material in the first place. CLT stores carbon dioxide as opposed to concrete and steel, which produce the gas during the manufacturing process.
The Horizon team has also heard from its current commercial and residential tenants in the Horizon Pacific Center and Hunt Mottet Lofts nearby that the exposed wood beams offer a calming aesthetic.
Landscape architect AHBL plans to use reclaimed timber from local industrial sites to
create custom benches along the streetscape.
Horizon has always focused on integrating as many sustainable features as possible into its projects. In addition to CLT, the Brewery Blocks project will have low maintenance and drought-tolerant plantings, which also create a sustainable ecosystem and habitat. The site itself is pedestrian-oriented and encourages activity in this previously industrial area.
The project’s landscape architect, Tacoma-based AHBL, plans to use reclaimed timber from local industrial sites to create custom benches along the streetscape, and the site’s historic train tracks will be integrated into the sidewalk and seating areas as a reminder of its industrial character and history.
The project also boasts a walkability score of 83 and is only a six-minute walk away from the Tacoma Link light rail station. It is conveniently located near numerous Tacoma attractions such as the Tacoma Art Museum, the Museum of Glass, and the Washington State History Museum.
The site runs along two blocks of South Commerce Street and includes several historic buildings.
Redefining life downtown
A primary focus of the project has been to redefine life in Tacoma’s downtown. Once a place where people came only to work, many are now seeking a live/work environment that offers more. As a mixed-use development that includes residential, retail, and office space, Brewery Blocks will offer new and innovative activities and attractions for tenants and patrons.
The top of the open-air parking garage, currently in construction, will have space for events, food trucks, or possibly a farmer’s market. And, in order to cater to a population that approaches food and dining differently, the retail and restaurant space will serve as a modern-day food hall, offering a convenient and innovative way for eateries and patrons to enjoy the latest food trend while still enjoying a communal dining experience.
Tacoma’s recent growth has been part of a much larger effort, and Horizon is proud to offer its contribution to the city’s steady and sustainable revitalization.
Mike Bartlett is founder and CEO of Horizon Partners Northwest in Tacoma. Deanna Dargan is president and principal strategist for Tacoma marketing company Tairis Group.