The Tacoma City Council formed the seven-member Foss Waterway Development Authority Board in 1996 to oversee development and marketing of the publicly-owned Foss Waterway properties.


Today the mixed-use development includes housing, retail and restaurants, recreation and education opportunities.


Public Esplanade Connects People, Properties

A ribbon of park benches, landscaping and walkways draws crowds to the esplanade that lines the west edge of the Foss Waterway. This public space will eventually span 1.5 miles and connects the waterway with downtown Tacoma.


Esplanade visitors can watch boats enter and leave the marinas. Restaurant patios provide stunning views of Mount Rainier. Wide, flat walkways support serious runners and those who prefer a casual stroll.





Cooperation Brings Economic Growth Back to the Foss

The economic energy growing along the Thea Foss Waterway today is reminiscent of the site’s role in Tacoma more than 120 years ago.


Marine trade, railroads and sawmills made Foss Waterway an industrial center. Thea Foss started Foss Maritime Company in 1889, offering tug boat services, rowboats and naphtha launches.



Certain public documents maintained by the FWDA may be downloaded on our Public Notices & Documents page.


The Foss Waterway Development Authority office location will be permanently closed and telephone service will be disconnected as of December 18, 2020.  However, staff will continue to work remotely and will be available via email until December 28th.  You may direct inquiries to Norm Gollub at or to Louise Dreyer at until December 28, 2020.

As of January 1, 2021, all services formerly performed by FWDA will be conducted by the City of Tacoma or other agents, as noted below.  You may also use the City’s Tacoma First 311 system to be directed to the appropriate individual for your circumstance.

  • Development site interest:  Tacoma Community and Economic Development at 253-591-5039


  • City of Tacoma service requests (such as burned out street lights, graffiti, trash along Dock Street):  Tacoma First 311 (phone, app, or tablet/computer)


  • Special event permits and common area maintenance along the water side esplanade (litter, landscaping, etc.): Foss Waterway Owners Association care of HOA Community Solutions, 253-985-3812, Extension 102 or


  • Public access moorage at 535 Dock Street: Foss Waterway Seaport Museum at 253.272.2750 ext. 101.


  • Parks on the Foss:  Metro Parks Tacoma at 253-305-1022.