The Preserve to offer more buyers the hope of homeownership

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The Preserve, Tacoma’s newest community of 70+ eco-friendly Cottage homes, is bringing “hope for homeowners” to more buyers with a range of additional innovations, Green Harbor Communities (GHC) of Tacoma announced. Ever since the announcement of this new, affordable housing development in Tacoma last year, GHC has been hard at work in making sure the promises of The Preserve are delivered to homeowners.

According to GHC, The Preserve will be the first Net Zero Ready development in Tacoma – and one of the largest in the nation – in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.

The new eco-friendly community offers: 

  • Housing for qualifying area residents – as well as relocating retirees – with a total household income up to $75,000, as GHC announced some income sources will be excluded. 
  • New homes that cost less than a comparable rental and are affordable to the average local worker and relocating retirees.
  • Homes built with quality building materials found in more expensive homes.
  • The preservation of 20 acres of wetlands and open space featuring a 70 percent tree canopy, storm water management onsite, and “learning labs” within meandering walking trails. 
  • 100 percent of the Cottage homes built will provide housing affordability in perpetuity.

Green Harbor Communities’ The Preserve is an approximately 30-acre development in South Tacoma that preserves some 20-acresof wetlands and open space while developing the remaining acreage with 70-plus small sustainable two- and three-bedroom cottages. These single-family detached homes are 950 to 1,250 square feet on 99-year renewable leasehold land, purchased from Tacoma Public Schools.  

The highly innovative, eco-friendly community is being built by a for-profit developer featuring workforce housing, with both income and local resident qualifying requirements, as well as homes for relocating retirees. The new Cottage homes are expected to be priced below $275,000 – which is $75,000 to $100,000 below market.

GHC President Nichole Strivens-Pressnall, who grew up in Tacoma, calls The Preserve “life-changing,” based on the outpouring of community support and planned assistance from state and local government, including down payment assistance for those who qualify, as well as off-site improvements from the City of Tacoma.  

“We are bringing the hope of homeownership in Tacoma to people who never thought they would ever be able to afford their own home,” she explains. “Owning a home is more than securing a place to live. It means safety and security, a sense of belonging, and a pride of accomplishment that is so powerful, our nation calls it The American Dream.”

More innovations announced

As the first model home is scheduled to open next month, the GHC is announcing a range of innovations built into its sustainable Cottage homes. In addition to becoming Tacoma’s first Net Zero Ready new housing development, GHC also announced for The Preserve:

  • More flexible income qualifying guidelines for its $75,000 annual income threshold. GHC will offset medical and educational expenses and childcare costs, and not include certain income amenities, such as child support payments. 
  • Its designation as a Certified Wildlife Habitat site by the National Wildlife Federation and as a “Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary” by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.
  • New walking tours scheduled for the spring with the Audubon Society and GHC’s Chief Sustainability Officer.  
  • Inclusion in The City of Tacoma’s “Adopt-a-Spot” Program, a year-round partnership between the City and The Preserve, and local residents to help reduce litter and keep public spaces clean.
  • A new partnership with America’s Preferred Home Warranty that will provide a comprehensive 4-year Home Warranty on all cottage homes instead of the standard 1-Year builder provided warranty.

Some 500 potential home buyers have reached out to GHC since it was first announced, according to Michael Pressnall, co-founder of Green Harbor Communities. “What GHC is doing in Tacoma is creating a model for the nation. By building high quality, sustainable Cottage homes for a segment of buyers that are often overlooked and outpriced, we are delivering hope to those who want to own a home but have no other alternative but to rent. The Preserve proves we can change this,” he says.

According to Pressnall, Preserve Cottage homes will be more affordable than most two to three-bedroom rentals on the market today. “Based on your down payment, you will likely see a mortgage between $1450-$1750 for a home you will love and one you can afford to buy and own long term,” he notes.  

Hope for new owners

The hope for homeownership is becoming a reality for Jaime D. A career lawman turned Security Officer who has been a renter for over two decades, Jamie’s move to own his own home near Charlotte’s Blueberry Park is now coming to fruition. 

Jaime’s journey to homeownership is unique. After years of paying tens of thousands of dollars in rent, The Preserve is giving Jaime the opportunity to start building equity, buying a brand new home in a brand new community. “Like many in my situation, I am readjusting my credit after years of not thinking I would be able to be a homeowner,” he explains, then adds with excitement, “It’s very rare that something like this pops up in life.” 

Homeownership in The Preserve is now also part of Naomi E.’s story. A registered nurse in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at Tacoma, Naomi has been struggling to find the right home. “I have rented an apartment for the last two years. I am tired of renting and seeing my money going down the drain instead of being invested in something I own, love and can call my own,” she said emphatically. At The Preserve, Naomi’s pursuit of homeownership is becoming a reality, as the Cottage homes are within her price range, and with the added sustainability features and wide open space, Naomi says, “It’s more than just buying a home, it’s buying into a community.” 

Renters and retirees looking to buy a home in Tacoma’s The Preserve can find information on the new community at greenharborcommunities.com and facebook.com/greenharborcommunities.

Building beyond Tacoma

The Preserve is the first of many workforce housing developments GHC plans to build with its innovative, community-partnership focused, sustainable Cottage homes model. Pressnall has received preliminary inquiries from cities and states about creating similar communities throughout the U.S. GHC has identified 50 cities nationwide challenged by similar issues for housing workforce families. 

GHC announced its interest in working with cities that have current cottage housing codes in place or are willing to update current code to include cottage housing to support its developments. GHC plans to begin active engagement with other cities at the beginning of 2020. 

“We are asking forward-thinking housing officials across the country who have an interest in bringing sustainable cottage housing to their cities to contact us. We want to help others solve the local workforce housing challenges they are facing,” Pressnall said. He notes that interested cities can contact GHC through its website or by email at info@greenharborcommunities.com.

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