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The developer of a proposed $60 million downtown Tacoma office and retail complex are confident it will have enough lease commitments to begin construction early next year.

The development, announced late last year as Pacific Renaissance Plaza, is now called Pacific Steps. It includes two 220,000-sf, 11-story buildings, each with and as much as 40,000 square feet of retail space.

Only a few tenants so far have agreed to locate shops in the development – too few to guarantee it will be built. Colliers, a commercial real estate brokerage, is one of the committed tenants.

Developer Opus Northwest is optimistic they will have enough commitments to start construction early next year. The optimism comes from its location, near a light-rail transit station, the University of Washington branch campus, a convention center and the new Columbia Bank headquarters, now under construction.

Opus holds an option to buy the site from Pierce County for $1.9 million. The firm must decide by the end of the year whether to buy the property. If the company elects not to build, county government would keep the property.

The original costs to lease space in the center proved to be too high, which slowed the pace of lining up tenants, so planners from Opus redesigned the project and reduced lease prices from about $30/sf to $23/sf, according to reports. Equivalent space in Seattle or Bellevue is $50/sf.

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