From the Tacoma Weekly News:
James Center North could be called the Bermuda Triangle of shopping complexes in the area. Located across the street from Tacoma Community College and a Pierce Transit transfer center along South Mildred Street, it would seem ideally situated to draw customers such as students and staff, and anyone going in and out of the area on mass transit. With ample free parking, one would think that it would draw in motorists as well. A few businesses have done well, such as the Fred Meyer Marketplace grocery store and the Ivar’s fish and chips fast-food restaurant. But countless others have come and gone over the years: a Chinese buffet, a five-screen movie theater, a dental office, a Russian restaurant. The Taco Bell, located 75 feet away from a campus with thousands of college students, somehow managed to bite the dust.
Now, Tacoma Housing Authority has an ambitious plan to covert part of the complex into a mixed-use project, complete with rental housing for students, retail units and open spaces. In 2017, it paid nearly $6 million for 6.92 acres in James Center north of the IHOP restaurant. The five parcels currently have four buildings with 62,000 square feet, with some of that occupied by retailers and restauranteurs. In 2018, a fire caused extensive damage to a structure that many years ago was the original home of BBQ Pete’s, and later Grandy’s. The building had been vacant for some time and was eventually demolished.
Read the Tacoma Weekly News' article "Tacoma Housing Authority has ambitious plans for James Center North," featuring the Tacoma Housing Authority.