The Center for Urban Waters

The Center for Urban Waters is an office and laboratory building for the City of Tacoma Environmental Services Division, the University of Washington and the State of Washington Puget Sound Partnership.

Urban Waters is a unique project in many aspects in regards to project development. The financing was provided through tax-exempt bond financing secured by the National Development Council, a non-profit, that leased the City-owned land for 35 years. After the lease term, the building and other improvements revert to the City of Tacoma at no cost. With a strong mandate from the City for a LEED Platinum building, the final design incorporated sustainable features such as a geothermal hybrid mechanical system used for heating and cooling, operable windows providing natural ventilation, solar shading, a green roof, rain garden while more than 99 percent of the waste generated during construction was recycled.

The building’s design reduces energy costs by 36 percent compared to a standard building. The facility includes a ground source heat pump consisting of 84 thermal wells more than 250 feet deep under the esplanade and parking lot. The building also uses natural ventilation and radiant heating and cooling to reduce energy use.

Completed in 2010, the three-story facility consists of 41,000 square feet of office and 10,000 square feet of lab space. The building is located on the east side of the Thea Foss Waterway, across from downtown Tacoma. The project also incorporated historic materials including granite curbs, recovered during street improvement projects, used as benches along the esplanade and re-milled timbers, salvaged from the old Tacoma Municipal Dock, featured in the lobby and conference room. Hal Ferris led the development team while at Lorig.