Hilltop, Tacoma

Hilltop, Tacoma, Forterra

hilltop, tacoma

The Hilltop neighborhood has been a home to the Black community in Tacoma for generations. The neighborhood has been a target of redlining, a racist practice in which communities of color—most notably, Black neighborhoods—are denied financial services, health services, and other essentials. This history of redlining has led to serious, long-term impacts on the neighborhood and its residents.
Nestled close to downtown, the once underinvested neighborhood is now experiencing rapid redevelopment—but often in isolation from the community itself. With Sound Transit’s light rail expansion, these changes are expected to accelerate. Longtime residents and business owners want to remain in Hilltop, but increasingly feel the pressures of rising property taxes and rental costs.

progress and goals

With 30 years of experience in real estate, financing, development and community outreach, with decades of work in Tacoma. Knowing our commitment to communities, Hilltop leaders reached out to Forterra about the vacated Rite Aid property on Martin Luther King Jr. Way at South 11th St. The parcel represents an opportunity to create attainable and market-rate housing and local business spaces in ways that respect the heritage and extend the legacy of the neighborhood.
Forterra has purchased the property and is working with current and former Hilltop residents and business owners to drive the development of the building—what it will look like, how it will function and who it will serve.
The idea for the Community Investment Council (CIC) came from a focus group of 35 community members hosted by local nonprofit Fab-5 and Forterra in November 2019. There was an overwhelming consensus. The residents felt strongly about participating in the decision-making and planning process of the upcoming development. The CIC serves as a special advisory group of 14 former and current community residents and business owners selected to represent the Hilltop Community with a focus on those most likely to benefit from the initiative. Black residents of Hilltop have been disproportionately affected by gentrification in the neighborhood, so priority emphasis was dedicated to the historically Black population.

With the help of funding from local organizations in Tacoma, Fab-5 and Forterra have been able implement our Community Engagement (CE) strategy of informational meetings and dialogue with the CIC, design events and direct outreach using social media and community engagement specialists (CES) – bringing us closer to providing attainable housing and business space in a manner that addresses anti-displacement, social and economic equity and community ownership.


In partnership, Fab-5 and Forterra are working together with Hilltop families for community-inspired development and community-driven design.


latest updates

Check back soon on the CWC call to art! CWC provided an opportunity for local Black artists to submit their current work for review and compete for a place in the cohort of artists chosen to submit original work for the Asberry Historic Home Site LOGO, the visual representation for this project’s marketing and community engagement efforts moving forward. The application date has passed — we will provide updates on the artists chosen soon.

recent news & Events

other resources

Hilltop Community Investment Council
Learn more about Fab-5
Contact Information
Director of Community Development
Jeff Dade
Newsletter Subscription

explore programs

“Attainable housing” means that homes and business spaces are priced at a cost within reach. Forterra will price many of the homes and business spaces at no more than 30% of the tenant or homeowner’s total income. At least half of this project’s for-ownership and rental homes will be attainable to individuals making 60% of the area’s median income based on 2020 estimates.

Learn more about cooperative housing.

Play Video about Adika Bell concept Hilltop
We are working with Fab-5, a hyper-local Hilltop-based nonprofit, to guide community engagement for this project. Fab-5 has actively been engaged with the Hilltop community on housing for several years. Together, Tacoma Housing Authority and Fab-5 worked with the Hilltop residents on the Hilltop Community Framework Plan, which expanded to #DesignTheHill, a grassroots development initiative that empowered the community to shape the future of Hilltop. Building on this work, Fab-5 is partnering with us on our community engagement strategy, community design lab meetings, a Community Investment Council and more.
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