Construction on a massive industrial warehouse complex on the edge of the tideflats between Fife and Tacoma is taking shape and will include street improvements to streamline traffic to and from the facility that is projected to add between 300 and 1,500 jobs to the marketplace. The project is the largest of its kind in development in the South Sound and will become operational later this year.
One of the last large swaths of undeveloped land on the tideflats is transforming into a warehouse complex that could span up to 1.6 million square feet on 80 acres of land three years after plans for the site began. The Port of Tacoma Commission selected Prologis as the developer in 2014 and signed a 50-year lease with the global real estate investment trust the following year. This development is located east of 46th Avenue East, within the Tacoma and along the city’s border with Fife along 12th Street East, which will be improved to calm traffic snarls created by the added cars and trucks flowing to the area.
Plans call for three main building in the complex. The largest facility in the complex will span 1.1 million square feet, another would total 223,000 square feet, and the last building will cover 316,000 square feet. As of yet, what will go into these buildings has not been decided but projects suggest the site will bring between 300 to 1,500 light industrial and warehouse jobs to the area and could reach an employment roster of up to 2,500, depending on the tenant mix.
“It’s a project that’s right in the wheelhouse of Prologis,” said Prologis Vice President of West Region Development Dan Letter during a project update last fall.
Prologis has 670 million square feet of space under its management that spans 570 cities in 22 countries. This facility will have two access points, from 12th Street East and 8th Street East that will provide quick access to 54th Avenue East and Interstate 5 just a half mile away. The site also abuts State Route 509 and the future connection point with the SR-167 that would directly link the Port of Tacoma to the regional distribution hub of the Kent Valley.
The size and location of the project meant several communities had interest in what happened to the property, namely Port of Tacoma, the cities of Tacoma and Fife as well as the Puyallup Tribe. The site also edges a residential neighborhood, where many of its residents worried about traffic troubles and noise levels generated at the complex. Those concerns slowed the process.
“We wanted to go slow and make sure we heard from everyone and include that into the design process,” Letter said.
There are 30 mitigations and an additional 24 "advisory notes,” listed for the project. The most obvious of those mitigations is the construction of a 14-foot-tall landscaped berm along 12th that will also include an eight-foot solid fence to address noise, light and aesthetics to the residents and business on the south. The fence-topped berm will almost completely screen the neighborhood from viewing the building or the trucks at the complex.
The roadway itself will also widen from a two-lane street to one that offers a third lane for traffic turning into the property that will also have sidewalks and bike lanes.
Port officials had been preparing the land for years before formally issuing a call for development ideas in 2014 that lead to the selection of Prologis. The port will receive $2.1 million a year under the lease with Prologis, which manages 15 million square feet of commercial spaces in Puget Sound, including about 2 million square feet in Fife on 20th Street East.