Unico, Pinnacle Partners Begin Tacoma Adaptive Reuse Project

Once completed in 2022, Washington Building Apartments will be the tallest residential building in the downtown core.
1019 Pacific Ave. Image courtesy of Unico

A joint venture of Unico Properties LLC and qualified Opportunity Zone investment firm Pinnacle Partners plans to develop an 18-story, 156-unit historic apartment property called Washington Building Apartments in downtown Tacoma, Wash. When complete in the early summer of 2022, it will be the tallest residential building in the downtown core of that city.

Washington Building Apartments will include approximately 12,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground level.

The multifamily project will be redeveloped as part of a single-asset joint venture involving Unico and Pinnacle Partners’ respective qualified Opportunity Zone funds, which in May acquired the property. Unico will develop the project, with a cost of $60 million, on behalf of its and Pinnacle Partners’ qualified Opportunity Zone investors. The project is additionally utilizing Tacoma’s special tax valuation for historic buildings, the city’s multifamily tax exemption program and federal historic tax credits.

Facade preserved

The Washington Building Apartments will be housed in a structure built in 1925. At the time of its completion, the structure was Tacoma’s tallest building, and the Pacific Northwest’s second tallest after Smith Tower in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. After the building’s off-market acquisition in 2017 for $9.8 million, Unico worked with Tacoma city officials to preserve its exterior facade. The facade work was completed last year.

Earlier, Unico had sought and won landmark status for the building. The National Parks and City of Tacoma conferred that status in 2018. Unico owns a portfolio of historic buildings not only in Seattle and Tacoma, but also in Boulder and Denver, Colo.

Demolition gets underway next month, and will be followed by 21 months of construction set to start later this year. The property’s apartments will feature dramatic perspectives of Puget Sound and the city. Other distinctive elements of the completed apartment property will be a resident lounge in the structure’s historic bank vault, as well as a rooftop amenity deck offering expansive views of the Sound and Washington State’s mountain ranges. The deck and penthouse will replace the building’s historic medical Scientific Zoo.

Earlier this year, 3650 REIT originated a construction loan for another Tacoma project.