Thea Foss Waterway

  • Location Tacoma, WA
  • Client City of Tacoma
  • From Disrepair to Dynamic

    Transforming a waterfront into a place of beauty and community from its storied history of industrial use.

  • Build It and They Will Come

    A vision of future economic growth, this project was the backbone for Tacoma’s waterfront redevelopment.

Bringing the people to the water. The City of Tacoma wanted to increase access to Puget Sound as one element of their plan to remake the waterfront. The redevelopment of Tacoma’s waterfront included design of new pedestrian facilities along the Thea Foss Waterway. Reid Middleton provided prime consulting services for the design of a new esplanade, wharf, and marinas. The newly designed esplanade included a sheet pile bulkhead, a pedestrian walkway, a wharf, restrooms, various urban park features, lighting, and utility system improvements throughout the project site. Utility system improvements included storm drainage design, power, telephone, water, fire protection, and sanitary sewers. The project also involved the addition of three new marinas, including 70 new slips, a concrete wharf with fish-passage grating, and a marine-support building. Reid Middleton also provided planning and development assistance for the update of the Thea Foss Waterway Design and Development Plan.  This plan combines the City of Tacoma’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP) and various elements of the land use code. The update involved a complete reevaluation of development standards within the shoreline zone, an update of the land use matrix in this area, revision of the procedural process for issuing land use permits within the shoreline zone, and substantive review of various development issues.  Development issues included view corridors, building heights, public access and landscape requirements.  The update also required coordination with various City departments as well as presentations at public meetings. Today, the Thea Foss Waterway is revitalized and visited by a variety of users – from boaters to swimmers to walkers.