By Jack Stubbs
As the Puget Sound region continues to expand, local- and out-of-town investors and homebuilders alike continue to capitalize on opportunities in the region’s homebuilding market.
On August 8th, a swath of vacant land in Gig Harbor—which is slated for development and consists of the final 65 single-family lots from its Harbor Hill project—sold for $12 million, King County records show. The buyer of the property was Arlington, TX-based home construction company D.R. Horton Inc. The seller was Poulsbo, WA-based Pope Resources, a publicly-traded limited partnership that owns and manages timberland and development throughout along the West Coast.
According to a recent press release on the seller’s web site, the sale included the final 65 single-family lots from its Harbor Hill project in Gig Harbor, which is a planned mixed-use community consisting of residential, retail, business park, and commercial properties.
The recent transaction marked the latest chapter, both for the Harbor Hill project in Gig Harbor and for the company’s presence in Gig Harbor—a city which sits just west of the Point Ruston waterfront resort in Tacoma. “This transaction is a fitting capstone to our single-family lot sale program in Gig Harbor,” President and CEO Tom Ringo said. “We have sold 546 lots in our Harbor Hill project over the last six years, a testament to a very strong Puget Sound housing market and homebuilders’ enthusiastic response to this product.”
The Harbor Hill community, located at 4012 Athena Ave. and easily reachable from Hwy 16 or via Peacock Hill Avenue, is an in-the-works mixed-use project described as “Gig Harbor’s newest community combining new homes for sale, new rental apartments, new senior living, shopping, dining and activities” on D.R. Horton’s web site.
Residents of Harbor Hill will be able to capitalize on the scenic location of Gig Harbor right on the edge of the Puget Sound. “When you live here, you can stay active on the scenic trail system, do that quick Costco run, enjoy Gig Harbor’s new state-of-the-art YMCA, dine with friends at the Shops at Harbor Hill, pick up groceries, and make memories in your neighborhood,” the web site states. “These new two-story, 3-5 bedroom homes showcase stunning exterior finishes, customer inspired living spaces and thoughtfully designed interiors-all complete with unmatched details and quality.”
Gig Harbor, and the neighboring city of Tacoma connected by the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, has seen a few properties change hands over the last few months. In late June, Gig Harbor-based Peninsula Metropolitan Park District (PenMet Parks) spent $13 million, or roughly $382 per square foot, to acquire the Harbor Christian Center property located at 8502 Skansie Ave. from the Boys and Girls Club of South Puget Sound Inc. based in Tacoma.
The Harbor Christian property is roughly eleven miles from the Point Ruston waterfront resort in Tacoma via State Route 16, where a number of properties changed hands in a sizable transaction last fall. In mid-September 2018, California-based CWS Capital Partners acquired six different properties at the Point Ruston Resort—including the 173-unit Copperline at Point Ruston Apartments—for a combined $101.3 million from Bellevue-based JLW PR Management Inc.
Founded in 1978 in Fort Worth, TX, D.R. Horton has operations in 79 markets in 27 states across the United States and closed 32,504 homes in the twelve-month period ending in March 2015, according to the company’s web site. The company focuses on the construction and sale of high-quality homes through its diverse brand portfolio that includes D.R. Horton, Express Homes and Emerald Homes with sales prices ranging from $100,000 to over $1,000,000. D.R. Horton also provides mortgage financing and title services for homebuyers through its mortgage and title subsidiaries.
Pope Resources has a heritage as a land and timber owner in the Pacific Northwest that goes back for over 150 years, according to the company’s web site. Today, its assets include 120,000 acres of productive fee timberland, and a 12 percent co-investment in 141,000 timberland acres owned by its Timber Funds. In addition, the company own 2,000 acres of development property, most of which is within a 50-mile radius of Seattle.