TACOMA, WA-Already in 2000, new construction permits in Tacoma have surpassed the $260 million mark—a record for the city, which projects it will issue 2,497 more permits this year than last. A strong regional economy and leasing rates well below Seattle’s skyrocketing prices are making Tacoma attractive to developers.

“People are looking at a lot of our downtown buildings that have been sitting fallow. They’re moving in and filling them up,” says Gary Pedersen, the city’s manager of building and land use services. “And, in the neighborhood business districts, tenant spaces don’t stay empty long.”

The city has implemented several new policies making the permit process easier and faster. For one, it provides a checklist for tenant-improvement plan submittal, and a review meeting can be arranged quickly. Often, approval comes in that first meeting. Tacoma also offers a money-back guarantee if it a review takes more than eight weeks.

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