• City of Tacoma QA
  • City of Tacoma Data

Project Background


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."

Project Development

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

Facility Users: City of Tacoma, University of Washington Tacoma

(UWT) and Puget Sound Partnership -- The City leases the building from Tacoma Environmental Services (TES) Properties and subleases space to the UWT and the Partnership. At the end of the lease, ownership will be turned over to the City at no cost.

Nonprofit Facilitator: National Development Council (NDC) -- NDC was selected as the nonprofit facilitator for this project and was responsible for setting up the nonprofit corporation, TES Properties.

Nonprofit: Tacoma Environmental Services (TES) Properties -- TES Properties sold tax-exempt bonds to fund facility design and construction. The City leases the facility from TES Properties.

Developer: Lorig Associates, L.L.C. -- Lorig is the developer selected by TES Properties. Lorig managed development processes, including design and construction.

Architect: Perkins + Will -- Perkins + Will was selected by Lorig through a competitive process to design the facility.   

 Turner Construction Company -- Turner Construction Company was selected by Lorig through a competitive process to be the general contractor for the facility.

Project Schedule

This project timeline highlights major milestones:   


Schedule  Activity
March 2007 Property purchased
June 2007 NDC selected as nonprofit facilitator
December 2007 City Council approved lease agreement
November 2008    Project competitively bid by Lorig
February 2009 Bonds to finance construction sold by TES Properties     
March 2009 Construction began
March 2010 Substantial completion of the facility