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Cushman and Adams Substations

Cushman and Adams Substations Future Use Study

Banner of the Cushman and Adams Substations Future Use Study  

Project Status

Cushman Substation

Tacoma City Council placed the Cushman and Adams Substations on the Tacoma Register of Historic Places in 2017. In 2018, a City Council resolution directed the City to engage the community on the future redevelopment of these historic properties. These efforts were paused in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2024, the City restarted the project and will conduct community engagement activities through the summer and fall.

 

Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) is still actively using and maintaining the building and site, and plans to vacate and surplus it by 2027  following construction of an off-site replacement facility.  

 

Learn more and share your feedback at our online engagement platform!

 

 

Important Workshop Events—We Want Your Input!

 

The banner for the June 22nd Cushman and Adams Future Use Study workshop
 
VISIONING—Public Workshop Sessions

 

When: Saturday, June 22 from 10:30 AM – 12 PM and from 3 PM – 4:30 PM (two workshop sessions to choose from)
Where: Wheelock Library, 3722 North 26th Street
Description: Join staff from the City of Tacoma and consultant team Otak to share your VISION for the future of Cushman and Adams Substations sites and buildings! Learn about what the Future Use Study is, discuss ideas for the future, and hear about how we will use community feedback and other information to inform the creation of future SCENARIOS. Choose from two workshop times depending on what is most convenient for you.

 

 
Future Workshops to Come:

 

Discover Cushman – Historic Cushman Street Fair

SCENARIOS—Public Workshop Sessions
  • When: October, date TBD
  • Where: TBD
And find project staff at the Broadway Farmers Market, Eastside Farmers Market, and Proctor Farmers Market and other community events over the summer and fall!
 

 

Other Ways to Provide Feedback and Stay Informed

  • Share your feedback via our VISIONING survey! As we launch the VISIONING phase of the project, we want to hear about what matters most to you for the future of the Cushman and Adams Substation sites. This survey builds on past feedback we’ve heard from the community and will help inform the SCENARIOS that we study in the next phase of the project.  
  • Join our mailing list to stay informed throughout the process! Email project staff to receive updates and learn about engagement opportunities.

 

Projected Timeline & Next Steps

 

The study process will extend through the first quarter of 2025 with public engagement activities in the Summer and Fall of 2024 around the “VISIONING” and “SCENARIOS” stages of the study. The chart below provides more detail. 

An image of the Cushman-Adams Substation Future Use Study timeline 

 

Background and History

 

Located at the intersection of North 21st Street and North Adams Street, the Cushman and Adams Substations were built in the mid-1920s to bring electricity from Cushman Dam to Tacoma. For many years, the substations served as active parts of the electric system. The substations are distinctive features in the neighborhood and notable assets to the city as a whole. Learn more about the Cushman Hydro Project.

Project Phasing

Current Phase

Mid 2024-2025: Restart of project and community engagement, led by consulting firm Otak, Inc.; Generate and analyze different use scenarios for the site.
 
2025-2026: Decision-making about future use begins; permitting and  constructing TPU’s off-site maintenance replacement facility.   
 
2025-2027: Surplus process
  • First right of refusal to local tribes
  • Environmental remediation of the sites/buildings
  • Exploring affordable housing options as required by the City
  • Request for proposal from developers and/or other partners
2027-Beyond: Tacoma Power vacates the Cushman Substation; implementation of recommended steps.

What Does the Future Hold for Cushman & Adams Substations?

The reuse study gives the community an opportunity to participate in the City Council and TPU Board’s decisions regarding the future use of the Cushman and Adams Substations. City Council directed the City of Tacoma’s General Government and Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to work collaboratively and engage the community in the future redevelopment of the properties. 

 

During the next few years, TPU will continue  to identify alternatives for the equipment repair and storage currently taking place at Cushman Substation and identify environmental clean-up needs. The facility replacement and clean-up initiatives are ongoing. They will be executed according to the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding and informed by any future redevelopment plan(s) for the properties approved by the Public Utility Board and Tacoma City Council.

 

Email project staff if you would like to receive updates and engagement opportunities.  

How Are We Using Your Feedback?

The scenarios studied in this project will be shaped by input from the Tacoma community (citywide) and residents from the surrounding neighborhood. Various engagement activities will provide opportunities for everyone to have input throughout the study effort. Ideas and comments will be gathered through this process (VISIONING) and filtered through technical feasibility analysis for potential future uses (see diagram) to create project alternatives (SCENARIOS), which will be brought back to the community for additional feedback.

 

An image showing the process of the Cushman-Adams Substations Future Use Study process

How Will the Final Decisions Be Made to Determine the Future Use of the Building and Sites?

The Public Utilities Board and Tacoma City Council will make final determinations regarding future uses of the sites. This decision-making process may begin in 2025, pending the completion of any additional follow-on technical studies that might be needed.

Past Actions

  • June 2017, the Tacoma City Council placed both substations on the Tacoma Register of Historic Places. The designation includes the exteriors of both buildings and the sites surrounding them (not including the non-historic electrical switchyard equipment).
  • July 2018, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the City of Tacoma’s General Government and Tacoma Public Utilities designates the General Government will lead, with TPU support, an outreach effort to ensure broad community involvement and input regarding future redevelopment of the properties. The City selected the Otak consulting team to complete the Existing Conditions Report.
  • As of Aug. 27 2018, the substation is no longer energized and is not a functioning part of the utility’s power system. Tacoma Power continues to use the building for heavy equipment repair and storage of materials.
  • October 22, 2019 joint Study Session, the City Council and Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) Board received an update and provided guidance to staff on the project approach. The TPU Board also discussed the project at their October 23, 2019 TPU Board meeting
  • March 24, 2020, Tacoma City Council meeting, the project team provided an update on recommended modifications to the engagement strategy and timeline to reflect restrictions on public gatherings. This City Council memo provides more information.
  • July 18, 2023, staff presented an updated timeline and restart schedule at a joint Study Session of the City Council and Tacoma Public Utilities Board.
  • February 14, 2024, TPU provided an update to the Public Utility Study Session.
  • February 20, 2024, there was an update to City Council Study Session
  • March 4, 2024, there was an update to the North End Neighborhood Council

Contacts

 

Project Updates

Email

 

General Government

Lauren Hoogkamer

Principal Planner

Planning & Development Services

(253) 591-5254

Email

  

Tacoma Public Utilities

John Gaines

Community Relations Manager

(253) 441-4661

Email

 



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