FWDA TO CLOSE IN 2020
The Foss Waterway Development Authority (FWDA) was chartered by the City of Tacoma in 1996 and is charged with the revitalization and redevelopment of City and FWDA owned properties located along the Thea Foss Waterway. Over the past 24 years, it has been successfully managing this downtown waterfront shoreline.
FWDA will be ending operations on or before December 31, 2020 when its Operating Agreement with the City officially ends. Throughout 2020 various FWDA functions will be transitioning over to a variety of City of Tacoma departments.
For further information, please contact FWDA at: 253-597-8122.
Projects on the Foss
Waterway Sites Blend Housing, Recreation, Museums
Hard hats are common along the Foss Waterway, where there’s always a new project in progress.
We appreciate the efforts of all of our partners and are proud of the progress we’ve made.
Take a look at the current and completed projects that help make this a great place to live, work and visit:
Boat Launch Feasibility Study
FWDA has issued an RFP for a Boat Launch Feasibility Study to determine if a motorized boat launch can be installed on, or in the vicinity of, the Thea Foss Waterway. This project is being funded by Pierce County, The City of Tacoma and The Port of Tacoma. FWDA is responsible for administration of the RFP process and will share the results with the funding agencies and other interested parties upon its completion. For more information please contact Norm Gollub, Executive Director of FWDA, at or (253) 597-8122.
(Click on the photo to the left to download a PDF of the subject area.)
Melanie Jan LaPlant Dressel Park (Melanie's Park)
and Waterway Park
FWDA’s “Parks on the Foss” initiative is currently raising $11.5M for the construction of two new parks along the Thea Foss Waterway.
Melanie's Park will be a family friendly play park that will be easily accessed on foot from downtown via the 15th Street Bridge or the 11th Street Bridge elevator and stairs. This ¾ acre park is designed for all ages to offer families, visitors, residents, downtown employees and the young-at-heart to connect with the many rhythms of the Thea Foss Waterway.
The 3-3/4 acre Waterway Park is being developed for the storage and launch of rowing and paddling craft such as paddleboards, kayaks and rowing shells. Along with storage and launching facilities, the park will also feature an off-leash dog run and plenty of open space for special events and other activities. It will be a neighborhood park for the emerging Dome District.
Both parks will be constructed and operated by Metro Parks Tacoma. Construction of Melanie's Park is anticipated to begin in 2020, with construction of Waterway Park to follow in 2022. When completed, the parks will serve as important trail heads in the future 6-mile Dome to Defiance trail. For additional information, please contact the FWDA office or visit the Metro Parks page that is dedicated to these parks.
George H. Weyerhaeuser, Jr. Park
This small park was renamed in 2015 to honor one of Tacoma's most ardent supporters of the Thea Foss Waterway and the Museum of Glass. Built by the City of Tacoma and maintained by the Foss Waterway Owners Association and the Foss Waterway Development Authority, this park has become one of the waterway's most popular areas for early-morning tai chi groups, joggers of all ages, commuter and recreational bike riders, and families looking for a little exercise.
Old-growth timbers from the former Municipal Dock Building near the 11th Street (Murray Morgan) Bridge were re-purposed into the arbors, and the open space design is intended for active use. While large boulders provide great climbing opportunities for small children, they also provide a convenient place for sitting and enjoying the fresh air or reading your favorite novel or newspaper.
The newest project on the south end of the waterway is The Henry, a mixed-use complex that houses market-rate apartments as well as retail and commercial space. The Henry has numerous resident amenities not typically found in the Tacoma area, including a residents-only rooftop dog park and concierge services. The leasing office is now open and their interactive website provides apartment and contact information.
This project was developed by The Henry Group, whose principals include several of the investors/owners that brought Thea's Landing to the waterway. The Henry Group will be adding public amenities to the esplanade area and has also contributed enhancements to George H. Weyerhaeuser, Jr. Park that lies to the south, and the plaza that is adjacent to The Henry, next to the esplanade.
*Rendering courtesy of BCRA; Photo courtesy of The Henry
Just south of the Museum of Glass is the Albers Mill Lofts. The brick building was home to a cereal mill in 1904. Heritage Properties of Anchorage, Alaska originally rehabilitated the building in 2004, incorporating some new construction and preserving some old. Albers Mill houses commercial office space and 36 loft apartments.
This dramatic world-class museum celebrates contemporary and glass art in a 55,000 square foot facility at the south end of the waterway.
Designed by Canadian architect Arthur Erickson, the Museum of Glass gives visitors a first-hand experience of the creative process in its cone-shaped hot shop auditorium and exhibition halls.
*Photo courtesy of Chuck Lysen
The spectacular 500-foot pedestrian bridge links the Museum of Glass to the plaza at Union Station, providing easy access to/from UWT, Pacific Avenue businesses,and the Thea Foss Waterway. Funded and maintained by the City of Tacoma, the bridge was conceived by artist and Tacoma native Dale Chihuly.
The display of color and form soaring 70 feet into the air showcases the largest collection of Chihuly glass in a permanent outdoor exhibit. The Bridge of Glass is accessible 24/7, providing photographic opportunities under all light conditions. For a more in-depth description this spectacular artwork, complete with inspiring photographs, please visit the Museum of Glass' webpage: Chihuly Bridge of Glass.
*Photo courtesy of Ursula Vigil
From the south end of the Foss Waterway, Dock Street Marina provides easy access to downtown Tacoma, the Dome District and the light rail system.
Slips are designed to attract and service larger boats, with potable water, sewer connections and fiber optics available at all the slips. Restrooms, showers and laundry facilities are located on the upland esplanade, just steps from your boat.
Dock Street Marina also rents kayaks and stand up paddleboards (SUPs) on an hourly basis, providing yet another way for visitors to enjoy our wonderful waterway. Being located at the protected, closed-end of the waterway, the area is a great place for first time users to get a feel for the water before venturing out to more active areas of the waterway.
Dock Street Marina is a Certified Clean Marina with a five star Envirostars rating and was awarded 2009 Marina of the Year by Marina Dock Age Magazine.
Developed by Team Tacoma LLC, Thea's Landing has 188 residential apartments, 47 condominium homes and 431 parking stalls. This $35 million project abuts the northern edge of the Museum of Glass. Total square footage of Thea's Landing is about 343,600, including more than 19,000 square feet of retail/commercial space.
Thea's Landing also houses two dining venues: Social on the southwest corner of the ground floor (water side), and Paesan on the northeast corner (Dock Street side). Views of Mt. Rainier and the waterway are complemented with a roof top garden and courtyard. Apartments may be available for rent.
Originally developed by Thea Foss Holdings, LLC The Esplanade Condominiums houses 162 condos, includes 19,000 square feet of retail/commercial space and provides 280 secure parking spaces.
Residents can also enjoy a fully-equipped fitness center, a business center and conference room. In addition to these amenities, London's Salon is located on the ground floor of the complex (Dock Street side).
This $75 million project is located at the foot of the 15th Street bridge and is fronted by a newly installed, publicly owned dock that is suitable for excursion boats. Many of these luxury condos provide stunning views of Mt. Rainier, and access to downtown Tacoma and the freeway system is convenient. Condos of varying sizes and prices may be available.
Enjoy a picturesque lunch or dinner on the deck or inside, or pick up fresh beef or seafood to serve at home. You can do either at The Fish Peddler Restaurant & Market.
Remodeled in 2014, the new Pacific Fish complex houses a bistro with indoor and outdoor seating, a market offering a range of seafood and beef at its retail counter, and a distribution center that supplies restaurants throughout the area.
Formerly known as Johnny's, this business has been a fixture on the Thea Foss Waterway for over 35 years and is currently owned by Oregon-based Pacific Seafood, one of the largest seafood companies in the country.
FW Development LLC is redeveloping Foss Harbor Marina as a mixed-use project. Market-rate condominiums and/or office space with marine-related retail are anticipated for this $50 million project. The marina itself is fully operational, and if you wish to inquire about slip availability, please call (253) 272-4404.
The City of Tacoma has recently completed construction of another section of the shoreline esplanade near this marina which will, when fully completed, stretch the entire 1.5 mile length of the Waterway. FWDA and the developer hope to have construction of additional portions of the esplanade completed within the next 2 years.
The Balfour Dock/Puget Sound Freight Building is one of only two remaining buildings that were once part of the "mile long warehouse" that brought thousands of ships bearing goods and sailors from around the world to Tacoma and the West Coast.This former warehouse is now home to the Foss Waterway Seaport and is being redeveloped under a public/private partnership. With completion of the replacement wharf in 2008 and a capital campaign in full swing, phases of this $21.5 million project will include a fully restored historic building, short-term moorage, and a public esplanade. In addition to having some of the best maritime displays and educational activities in the state, the Foss Waterway Seaport is a great venue for events of all types–from small weddings to large-scale festivals.
The Seaport also manages the public docks at the mouth of the waterway, which are reserved for smaller boats and are dedicated to short-term use. To find out more about the Seaport or to inquire about event & moorage possibilities, please call (253) 272-2750.
The Foss Waterway Seaport offers 1,200 lineal feet of affordable side-tie moorage with power, water and pump-out stations available (duriing peak boating season only).
Positioned at the entrance to the Thea Foss Waterway, the North Moorage Floats provide safe moorage for recreational and small commercial vessels; superb facilities for public, maritime-related events; and a port-of-call for tall ships and small cruise ships. Moorage up to four hours is free. Click here for more information.
Public restrooms are available inside the Seaport building during their normal hours of operation only. (Special events at the Seaport may take precedence over public use of those restrooms.).
Garbage receptacles are at the top of the gangways along the esplanade.
On the far north end of the waterway, right next to Thea's Park, is a motorized barge that is in use as a seaplane float. Due to storm activity in the waterway during winter months, the float is operational from mid-February to mid-November only.
This project was made possible thanks to our private and public partners, including: Marine Floats Corp., Seldens Home Furnishings, Kenmore Air, The Haub Family, US Oil & Refining Co., Carl & Jan Fisher, The Shanaman Family, The Tacoma Waterfront Association and the Port of Tacoma.
Since the barge was installed in May, 2013 we have had numerous groups using it for arrivals and departures, including the Evening Magazine crew that came down to film a segment on the Foss Waterway Seaport. When the float is not in use by the seaplanes, it and the rest of our docks are very popular with those folks who like to fish, come rain or come shine!