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March 22, 2016

UW Tacoma starts Urban Solutions Center

Image Miller Hull Partnership [enlarge]

The University of Washington Tacoma has started a $28 million renovation on the last of the warehouses it bought along the old Prairie Rail Line spur to create the branch campus.

Most people remember the brick building at 1735 Jefferson Ave. as the home of the Old Spaghetti Factory, but its roots run deeper than that. A UWT article says the 40,000-square-foot building was erected in 1904 by Tacoma Biscuit & Candy Co., which moved out three years later after it merged with Pacific Coast Biscuit Co. of Seattle.

Tacoma Paper & Stationery bought the building in 1910 and operated there until 1953. The Old Spaghetti Factory moved into the space in the early 1970s and set up a restaurant on the second floor that faces Jefferson. Other floors in the four-story building were used mostly for storage.

UWT needed the space to expand its programs and gave the Portland-based restaurant chain nearly $1 million to move a few blocks away to Pacific Plaza, where Tacoma City Grocer once operated.

Construction started last month on what UWT is calling the Urban Solutions Center. Mortenson Construction is doing the work under a $19.5 million GC/CM contract.

The UWT article says the ground floor will open to Prairie Line Trail (which was created from the old railroad spur) and will serve as a student commons and event venue. There also will be a lab where students can tinker with equipment such as 3-D printers.

The second floor will have several classrooms and seminar spaces, and there will be an urban design lab to support a new master's program in community planning.

The third and fourth floors will have research labs for a new bachelor's program in biomedical sciences. Other collaboration spaces, classrooms and engineering labs on those floors will be used for a future bachelor's program in electrical engineering.

The project includes work on the shell as well as tenant improvements. UWT plans to reuse interior wood beams and columns.

Construction is scheduled to finish in May 2017.

Miller Hull Partnership is the architect. Other designers are PCS Structural Solutions (structural engineer), Glumac (electrical and mechanical engineer), AHBL (civil engineer), Bruce Dees (landscape architect), and Bola Architecture and Planning (historic preservation). Ascendent LLC is doing demolition and removing hazardous materials.

(Editor's note: The names of several firms on the project team have been corrected, as well as Mortenson's contract type.)

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