Friday, September 21, 2012

Renovations will revamp Garfield street

By Taylor Lunka, Guest Writer
Garfield Street will soon have a new apartment and retail complex known as ‘Garfield North.'

The $20 million project, funded in partnership with Affinity investments and their investors, will include 104 apartments, new retail spaces and new offices for the human resources department and marriage and family therapy departments. The ground floor will accommodate retail spaces and new office spaces while upper levels house apartments.

Pacific Lutheran University aims to provide opportunities for staff members and other professionals to live near campus instead of in downtown Tacoma or Seattle.

The new complex on Garfield North will feature one- and two- bedroom apartments for rent as well as studio spaces.

John Kaniss, PLU construction projects manager said he thinks Garfield North will be good for the PLU community. "Once the design gets done, those are going to be cool apartments. If you’re living nearby or in Seattle and are tired of the commute, you might want to take a look because they’re going to be nice," Kaniss said. "If you’re expecting a Parkland apartment complex, that’s not what you’re getting. It’s going to be a really neat place."

The apartment complex will feature an exercise complex, meeting rooms and other perks for tenants. Kaniss suggests balconies could be included on some units.

However, the project will not be costing PLU anything. PLU is supplying the land while the other
business partners, Korsmo Construction and Affinity Investments are providing the funds for the project.

Sheri Tonn, vice president for PLU finance and operations, said of business partners in the Garfield North construction, "Korsmo Construction is an experienced contractor and is very, very experienced at building buildings in Tacoma. Affinity manages a lot of real estate."

Organizers are in the process of obtaining building permits from Pierce County.

"We think it will help stabilize the neighborhood," Tonn said. "We think it will make for a stronger Parkland community and will definitely help attract more students."

Kaniss agrees this addition to Garfield Street will be nothing but "beneficial for the PLU community."

"The whole block will be brand new with new business opportunities going in along that block. That’ll spruce up Garfield and make it more vibrant," Kaniss said. "You know it’ll be more fun to walk [Garfield Street]. Also, Garfield will become more pedestrian friendly."

Wider sidewalks and a mid-complex walkway between Garfield and 208th street will allow for a better traffic flow.

"That will be nice then," Kaniss said.

While PLU faculty agrees the addition to Garfield Street will be beneficial, students are divided.

"I think it’s going to be great because it will be convenient for someone like me who is out of state and doesn’t have a car," first-year Sam Cook said. "I think it will bring the PLU community together."

First-year Sarah Haywood disagreed.

"It could be good to have more living space for college students but at the same time it takes away the smaller community feel when there is a big complex among all the little shops," Haywood said. "It’s not going to be as cute and little."

Construction for Garfield North is set to break ground in January 2013 and is scheduled to be completed in 2014.