The Center for Urban Waters is a 51,000 square-foot office and laboratory building housing City of Tacoma Environmental Services labs and offices, University of Washington Tacoma researchers and the Puget Sound Partnership. This collaboration brings together environmental scientists, analysts, engineers and policymakers to develop and apply the best possible science to restoring and protecting Puget Sound.
Completed in Spring 2010, the Center for Urban Waters is the result of nearly a decade of work by civic leaders and organizations who dreamed of a premier research center committed to developing solutions to the problems facing urban bay communities. In the future, the community partners envision attracting additional environmental research and related enterprises in support of the original mission and building a growing community of world-class researchers.
The LEED® Platinum-certified building is at 326 East D Street on the east side of the Thea Foss Waterway, across from downtown Tacoma and not far from I-5. Driving directions are included on the map.
The site also features a public esplanade along the waterway, interpretive signage describing LEED features, and a 75-foot dock to accommodate water-monitoring vessels.
The Center for Urban Waters Facts section provides a more detailed overview.
The project was constructed using an alternative approach to traditional public works projects. It was built by a nonprofit corporation created specifically for the project. The building is occupied by the City under a lease-to-own contract. The Project Background section provides an overview of the approach used.
LEED® Platinum Certified
In addition to highlighting the City's dedication to urban water quality, the facility is a showcase for the City's commitment to sustainable building practices and energy conservation. The City was awarded LEED® Platinum certification by the Green Building Certification Institute. Platinum is the highest possible rating awarded under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. More information on LEED, the nationally recognized standard for green buildings, is available from the US Green Building Council.