“Be careful what you wish for,” as the old adage goes, “because you may just get it.” For years now, people have been talking about how Hilltop is going to be the next “Big Thing.” It only makes sense due to it’s relative affordability and proximity to downtown. While much work remains to be done – the low level of retail activity continues to be a challenge – there are several noteworthy developments underway.
This retail strip project at the corner of South 19th & MLK is a long time coming. A former gas station site, it sat vacant for years before the current project started.
On the 1200 block of MLK, Allen Renaissance Incorporated, a local non-profit organization, is renovating the historic Valhalla Hall. Planned uses for the building include a cafe, restaurant, children’s arts and culture center, a youth robotics lab(!), and a performance venue for receptions and community events.
The much anticipated project by the MLK Housing Authority got a kick start this year when several buildings were demolished. Here, a long covered window becomes exposed when an adjacent warehouse is torn down between South 10th and 11th on J Street.
Next door to the MLK Housing site, the Monsoon Room braces for construction.
View of the future MLK Housing apartment building. Looking south at the corner of South 10th and J Street.
Located on South 9th just up from Yakima Avenue, this new condo/apartment building stakes the claim as being on the tallest project of its kind under construction.
A long neglected First Swedish Baptist Church at South 12th and J Street got a make-over in 2006 and is now home to the MLK Ballet.
Meanwhile, half a block away, sits this amazing example Tacoma’s historic past.
A row of “great old dames” along J Street near South 7th showcases a rare example of old Tacoma. So unique is the series of in-tact restored Victorian homes that they received designation as a historic district.
Not much has changed at the Johnson Candy store with its vintage neon sign. A Hilltop fixture for generations, the building could be eligible for historic status and follow the recent addition to the historic register of Frisko Freeze.
After many years of using the right half of their building for storage, Le Le restaurant expanded their restaurant to add reception capacity. With the removal of coverings over the windows, this section of MLK is starting to look like a functional business district.
Adjacent to Le Le and adding to the revival of MLK, this renovated storefront is home to a copy center and martial arts studio.
At 6th and J Street, Prium is wrapping up a mixed-use project.
A before view of the same site showing a building that had been vacant for too long.
Multicare’s new steam plant, under construction directly across the street from historic Wright Park. Loose zoning by the city has raised concerns about uses incompatible with the surrounding neighborhood.
The vintage brick Frances Hall Apartments, a recent acquisition by Multicare, overlooks the new steam plant.
Detail showing rosette window above an arched entryway.
Detail showing a cast concrete or possibly a carved sandstone facade decoration.
The last three houses on I Street stand in the shadow of Multicare. Though modified over the years, the earliest ones – the two on the right – date from the 1895. The one on the left was built in 1908. Multicare picked up the one on the far right when it bought the Frances Hall Apartments next door.
This tattered Queen Anne house looks across 6th Ave at Multicare and wonders what its future holds.