The Village at Chambers Bay in University Place (formerly known as Town Center) will get two new commercial tenants next spring. The popular restaurant Mediterranean Grill will occupy just under 2,000 square feet of the Clearview Building at 3555 Market Place W. Top Pot Doughnuts, which offers artisanal doughnuts, pastries, sandwiches and fresh roasted coffee, will take another 1,600 square feet.
Jeff Kraft, first vice president and partner of Kidder Mathews Commercial Real Estate, said that both businesses were attracted to the property because of its design, access and amenities. "The owners of Mediterranean Grill are familiar with the area and really like the mixed-used component of the Clearview Building," he said. "They moved immediately to negotiations. Top Pot Doughnuts also loved the project when they saw it two years ago, but their recent expansion into the Texas market delayed their ability to move forward with the site until now."
Kraft said both businesses acknowledged that the presence of Whole Foods Market, which opened in the Village at Chambers Bay earlier this year, made their decision easier. "It's clear from anyone who has shopped at Whole Foods that they are doing very well," he said.
With its pedestrian-friendly mix of retail and residential development, as well as other public services including the City of U.P.'s Civic Center and a Pierce County Library branch, the Village at Chambers Bay is living up to its planners' expectations. "From the very beginning more than 10 years ago, the goal of this project was to bring new residents and businesses to our city and in the process, increase our tax base and enable us to continue to offer the people who live and work here top-notch amenities and services," University Place Mayor Denise McCluskey said.
With the signing of these two new tenants, the Clearview Building has only two vacant commercial spaces left and Kraft reports he has letters of intent on both of them. "It can be extremely difficult for commercial real estate agents to lure prize King County tenants to Pierce County," he said, noting that Top Pot Doughnuts got its start in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. "Mixed-use projects in outlying suburban areas like University Place are fairly new to Pierce County and they haven't been really well received from the private sector. The property owner and the City of University Place took a real gamble in building the Village at Chambers Bay and it has paid off."
He also credits the owner and the City for never swaying from their commitment to pursuing high-quality tenants and contemporary build-outs that reflect the project's overall design theme, even when it could have been politically and economically expedient to cede ground on those points. "During the recession the demand for this project-like many, many others-waned significantly," Kraft said. "But these new tenants told me that they were attracted to the design and architecture of the project-and the fact that the residents of the apartments above the commercial spaces indicated they would like food and drink establishments in the spaces on the ground level."
McCluskey admits that the size and scope of the Village at Chambers Bay was a major undertaking for a city of less than nine square miles and with an entire staff that numbers around 50. "That's just another part of what makes this such an incredible success," she said. "We run a very lean operation here and our employees are often asked to fill multiple roles, but they never lost sight of what this project means for U.P. now and in the future."
Kraft is also equally complimentary of the City's team. "They made everything very fluid and simple. Any questions about roads, access, parking, permitting were answered quickly," he said. "They were an absolute pleasure to work with and I don't typically get to say that about a lot of cities."