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Former copper smelter site gets its first residents

A former Weyerhaeuser Co. executive and his wife have become the first residents of a redeveloped former industrial site near Tacoma’s Pt. Defiance Park.

Bill and Polly Blankenship’s home is the first of what developer Mike Cohen hopes will be hundreds of residential units on the site of the former Asarco copper smelter. The Blankenships moved into their home last month.

Their home occupies one of 36 single-family home sites on the hill overlooking the smelter’s former site. That hill was the home of the smelter’s 562-foot smoke stack. Explosive demolition turned that stack into a large pile of bricks in 1993.

The smelter, which specialized in smelting high-arsenic ore for nearly a century, closed in the mid-80s.

Cohen has built four homes, two of them model homes, on “Stack Hill,” and he’s in the midst of building his first condominium structure, Copperline, on the flat waterfront area below “Stack Hill.”

Construction of the three-story parking garage to serve that condo building is about 90 percent complete, and foundation is beginning on the multi-story residential structure, he said.

Plans for the development called Point Ruston include a commercial and retail center, a Silver Cloud hotel and more condominium structures.

This article originally appeared in The News Tribune

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