The Center for Urban Waters was constructed to house the City's Environmental Services analytical laboratories and Science and Engineering Division. These units outgrew their former facilities and were working in temporary trailers. The new facility provides for work efficiencies and improved communication among staff members.
The Center for Urban Waters leases space for environmental research conducted by the Port of Tacoma Chair and research staff. Dr. Joel Baker, the first Port of Tacoma Chair, is the scientific adviser for the Urban Waters environmental research center.
Information on the development of the Urban Waters environmental research center and the creation of the Port of Tacoma chair is available on the Urban Waters Board's fact sheet.
The Puget Sound Partnership, a state agency established in 2007 to lead efforts to protect and restore Puget Sound, has offices at the Center for Urban Waters. According to Governor Gregoire, "Locating Puget Sound Partnership facilities alongside local, academic and private Puget Sound restoration efforts will encourage collaboration and lead to intellectual and technological marine research developments."
The Center for Urban Waters facility was developed using the "63-20" project delivery method as an alternative to a traditional public works project. Under this method, named for the section of the Internal Revenue Code which permits it, a single-purpose nonprofit corporation was created to sell tax-exempt bonds to fund design and construction of the facility.
The steps in the 63-20 process are described below:
- Nonprofit facilitator selected by the City, National Development Council (NDC), creates a single-purpose nonprofit corporation, Tacoma Environmental Services (TES) Properties
- TES Properties sells tax-exempt bonds to fund the project
- TES Properties contracts with a developer, Lorig Associates L.L.C., for design and construction of the facility
- City leases facility from TES Properties
- TES Properties contracts for facility maintenance during the lease period
- Facility is turned over to the City at no cost at the end of the lease
Tacoma City Council approved the use of the 63-20 project delivery method for this project on June 12, 2007. The City required the contractor to pay prevailing wages and meet the goals of the City's Historically Under-utilized Business Program (HUB), now known as the Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program, and Local Employment and Apprenticeship Training Program (LEAP).
Project Team Members