The Garfield Station: Parkland construction project merges the old with the new

Courtesy of Tacoma Public Library Archives, this is the tracks at the intersection of what is now Garfield and C Street. The Parkland Confectionery is up on the right.
Courtesy of Tacoma Public Library Archives, this is the tracks at the intersection of what is now Garfield and C Street. The Parkland Confectionery is up on the right.

-First published on Discover Parkland

Garfield Street will be undergoing some major changes in the next few months. Construction for the new “Garfield Station” is scheduled to break ground this summer.

When planning for the future of Garfield Street, Affinity Investments President Kirk Rector was, “Trying to look for some historical significance,” to tie the new changes into the community.

Photographs from the Tacoma Public Library Archives show that a Trolley Car used to run North/South on C Street from about 1920-1930. This is where the inspiration for the name Garfield Station was born.

The Tacoma Railway streetcar that used to be a central part of Parkland’s history was something that members of Affinity Investments thought could really add to the new changes; a way of integrating old and new.

The vision for the Garfield Station construction, which will be completed by Korsmo construction, will last for approximately a 12 month construction period.

To make sure this process goes smoothly, Affinity Investments and Korsmo Construction have been working closely with the Garfield Street Business Association as well as collaboration with Pierce County.

Says Rector, “Talking with them about the project in the local community will hopefully make it as seamless and least disruptive as possible.”

Part of that new development is a focus on green construction practices. “The goal is that the entire project will be LEED Silver Certified,” says Rector.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification has been a central focus of many of Pacific Lutheran University’s newer buildings.

Its application to the Garfield Street project would mean using native species in the landscaping, sustainable materials for the buildings, and more efficient appliances in the apartment complex and retail shops in order to conserve energy.

The retail shops will span along Garfield Street and to the corner of Garfield and C Street. There will be new PLU offices adjacent to C Street as well.

Courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library Archives this is Tacoma Railway and Power Co.'s Streetcar #55
Courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library Archives this is Tacoma Railway and Power Co.’s Streetcar #55

Above the ground-level retail shops will be a new apartment complex that will have 104 residential units. This will involve using about half of the Intramural sports field as an area for a parking lot for apartment occupants.

Although nothing is quite set in stone, Rector says there have been preliminary talks in regards to the possibility of a yogurt shop opening up in one of the retail spots as well as a bike shop, and a sub sandwich shop.

“Whatever we do, we don’t want to compete with existing retailers,” Rector stated.

He stressed the point that the purpose of this construction was not to detract from local business, but rather add to the aesthetic appearance of the streetscape and encourage more foot traffic.

There have been several public hearings in the past few months to make sure that the community has a chance to voice their opinions on the project.

Rector states that for the most part there has been a lot of positive feedback from Parkland residents about the plans for the groundbreaking set to take place this summer.

Above all the goal is to, “Enhance the retail/commercial aspect of Garfield St. in order to create a much more integrative living environment.”

Ultimately he hopes that the changes will promote more business in the area. “It’s going to behoove us to find businesses that fit in the community and serve residents as best they can,” he asserted.

But for Rector, it’s not all about what businesses will bring in the most revenue. He hopes to select retailers that will be there for the long-run and have something unique to contribute to the Parkland community.

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