The developer responsible for Tacoma’s Point Ruston has decided to withdraw from a purchase-and-sale agreement with the city of Puyallup for a parking lot where a mixed-use condominium project was intended to be built.
The proposed project, called The Ezra at Pioneer Park, was designed to include 66 condos, office/retail space, and ground-floor parking. Unit prices ranged from $370,000 to over $1 million when condo sales commenced in July of last year, according to a report in the Puget Sound Business Journal.
Puyallup AOB Development LLC, the developer associated with McBride-Cohen Management Group LLC and its owner Loren Cohen, signed the purchase-and-sale agreement in November 2021, agreeing to acquire the 1-acre downtown lot for $1.4 million. However, due to various difficulties encountered with the site and escalating development costs, Cohen sent a letter to the city on April 28 to terminate the agreement before the due diligence deadline.
In an email referenced in the report, Cohen expressed that the property presented too many challenges. Despite having invested nearly $1 million in predevelopment and due diligence costs, the decision to withdraw was not taken lightly. The city informed them that their existing stormwater system was inadequate to handle the project’s stormwater discharge. Concerns also arose regarding the geotechnical stability of the site and the exorbitant expenses associated with addressing structural instability due to soil liquefaction issues.
Cohen mentioned that despite the challenges, the termination was handled amicably. The city shared a similar sentiment in its own statement, stating that due to rising costs, an unfavorable market, and economic conditions, both parties had mutually agreed to step back from the multi-family housing project. They acknowledged that the Ezra project was not feasible.
The site, located at 330 Third St. SW, was previously occupied by Puyallup City Hall and has served as a city parking area since the construction of the new City Hall in 2008.
The agreement between the developer and the city of Puyallup was initially announced in November 2021, with city leaders anticipating the project to act as a catalyst for revitalizing downtown by attracting additional developments.
The developer submitted preliminary site plans and permit requests in May 2022. The most recent permit activity occurred in October of the same year.
According to Eric Johnson, a spokesperson for the city, Puyallup did not suffer any financial losses as a result of this agreement.
According to a marketing flyer, the city has engaged the Lee & Associates team, consisting of Zane Shiras, Kyle Prosser, and Tom Brown, to handle the property’s marketing and promotion.