Ice Rink Downtown. Like Rockefeller Center… but in Tacoma

An updated article on Polar Plaza in Downtown Tacoma appears here

Signs of winter abound; Christmas decorations, ski areas opening, snowflakes in the forecast, red Starbucks cups, an open air ice skating rink downtown. Truly, that is happening. It could be a nice tradition and a further enhancement to our already vital downtown. “Franciscan Polar Plaza” will transform Tollefson Plaza at 17th and Pacific for the entire holiday season. Franciscan Health System, Tacoma Art Museum, City of Tacoma and other sponsors have partnered to bring us a downtown winter destination. It is a temporary thing, opening the day after Thanksgiving and running through January 2. Admission will be $8 and $2 for skate rental.

“We love Tacoma and we’re confident that this will be a success for the city and the community,” said Cameron Fellows, Deputy Director of Tacoma Art Museum. “The community has come together to support this effort and we hope this will become a new tradition that enlivens downtown for years to come.” The ice rink will also be available for private events. For more information about Franciscan Polar Plaza including hours, visit

As mentioned above, thanks to a pile of new snow, Crystal Mountain is opening today. Snowqualmie opens tomorrow. White Pass is watching the sky to see what falls. As of this writing, they hadn’t made any announcements. Some are predicting a great season at local ski resorts due to a second consecutive La Nina winter.

The Market

Our real estate market continues to see incremental improvement. I read today that Washington State’s Chief Economist said our state is ranked 47th in the U.S. for 30 day mortgage delinquencies, which could bode well for early 2012 in that it suggests relatively fewer foreclosures here. The north Tacoma real estate market specifically is also seeing gradual improvement, especially homes priced below $350,000. Right now there are 100 pending sales in the north end and 89% of those are below $350,000. I can currently call the $150,000 to $200,000 price range a seller’s market. There are more than half as many pending sales as active listings, which means the market is absorbing inventory well and there may be slight upward pressure on values in that small price band. We had one of our best months of the year in October, believe it or not, after a lackluster spring/summer.

Where ever you plan to spend Thanksgiving this year, we would like to wish you a safe and happy holiday!

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