It’s still in the construction phase, but Tumwater’s Craft District is already attracting attention. That’s just what City Manager John Doan and the project’s many partners have in mind. “We want Tumwater to be known as a Center of Excellence for brewing and distilling,” he says. “That creates energy that brings investment back to the old brewery property and brings agriculture back to Thurston County.”
Tyrell Bradley of SCJ Alliance, project manager for the civil engineering components, agrees that the eventual result will be a true community asset. “It’s going to be such a cool space with a distillery and brewery, other shops and potentially an outdoor amphitheater for entertainment in the long run,” Bradley shares. “I think this will really spark more redevelopment in the surrounding area.”
The civil engineering piece will include space for South Puget Sound Community College’s new Brewing and Distilling program as well as Gig Harbor-based Heritage Distilling. Bradley’s role involves overseeing everything from installing sewer and water systems to designing complex traffic and site reroutes. He’ll be working with a multi-disciplined team within SCJ, and meeting frequently with both the city and the developers. Patrick Holm, SCJ Alliance project manager for the new Tumwater Valley Drive re-alignment, has also worked closely with Tyrell and the City throughout the entire site design process to assure the best possible route was selected and designed for the project.
As a public/private partnership between the City of Tumwater and developers John Peters and Mike Parsons, the site presents both challenges and opportunities for innovative solutions. “It’s been a very involving project,” says Doan. “It’s moved around with different players on other pieces of property and evolved over time.”
Given the site’s proximity to the Deschutes River, the first step was for SCJ to create a Habitat Protection Plan outlining impacts to the river’s shoreline and steps to mitigate those impacts. The first step is getting rid of invasive species, like blackberries, then replanting with native species that will enhance the river’s habitat.
Bringing water, sewer and utilities to the site presented another challenge. SCJ is working with Puget Sound Energy to provide underground power, cable and telephone along the project’s frontage, but water was a separate issue. With an eye toward potential future development, SCJ worked with the City to bring water all the way from La Quinta Inn on Capitol Boulevard up to the E Street intersection. “It’s almost 2,000 feet of new water main extension,” Bradley says. “It will really help developers on the north side down into the old brewery district to have access to better water pressure.”
In some areas of the site, groundwater was just two or three feet below the surface, making it difficult to find places to build stormwater facilities. Bradley’s team decided to build the facilities where a larger distance existed between groundwater and the surface.
One of the biggest challenges was figuring out the best flow for traffic. Again, SCJ considered not just current use, but future potential uses in their design. “We’re realigning the access down to the valley by the golf course as well as the athletic club,” says Bradley. “There was a lot of community involvement and a huge effort from the city. We looked at questions like, ‘What should the alignment look like? What speeds are safe for vehicles coming down? And can we get semi-trucks down that?’”
The result will be a new intersection at Tumwater Valley Drive and Capitol Boulevard, in between the current Linwood/Capitol and E Street/Capitol Boulevard intersections. The change will provide greater access to both the site and to Tumwater Valley Drive. Eventually the city plans to turn the E Street intersection into a roundabout; adding the new intersection now will simplify that process in the future. “Moving the access to the Tumwater Valley 1,200 feet to the south is a big step for the city in helping them clean up that intersection for their long-term plan,” says Bradley.
The reroute also impacts parking, and the city focused on making sure that businesses would benefit rather than suffer as a result. “We’re adding parking along the existing Tumwater Valley Drive,” says Bradley. “We’ll close that portion of the intersection. Parking cars all along it will help us get the parking count up for the various uses on site.”
Effective working relationships among the key players have been fundamental to the project’s success. “I’ve gotten to work with a team of extremely talented individuals,” says Bradley. He credits Tumwater’s Public Works Director Jay Eaton and Planning Manager Chris Carlson; developers John Peters, Mike Parsons and Dylan Parsons; and architects Darren Filand of Fi Architecture and Jim Cary of Cardinal Architecture.
Doan has been a driving force behind the project, Bradley notes. “He’s really the pioneer of a lot of the redevelopment we’re seeing. A big part of his vision is making Tumwater into an excellent place to live, work and play.”
For more information, visit the SCJ Alliance website or call 360-352-1465.