Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Tacoma welcomes its first eco-friendly affordable housing development

The plan for "The Preserve," Tacoma's first eco-friendly affordable housing community.
The plan for "The Preserve," Tacoma's first eco-friendly affordable housing community.

A new affordable housing development is coming to South Tacoma. It's called "The Preserve," and it includes more than 70 single-family homes to buy near Blueberry Park that will have access to trails and wetlands.

The development is open to Tacoma residents with a total household income of up to $75,000. Bill Rehe co-founded Green Harbor Communities, which is behind "The Preserve." He says a main goal was to help working families escape the renting cycle, and make both homeownership and environmental stewardship accessible to them.

"A lot of folks in this economic range, they don't have the ability to make the environmental choices that they want," Rehe said.

Rehe has a background in biology, and he's worked to find ways for developers to incorporate the surrounding natural area into the properties. They will even host regular walks through the nearby wetlands with the Audubon Society.

The homes are built with locally sourced, sustainable materials and outfitted with efficient appliances. "The Preserve" is the first Net Zero Ready development in Tacoma. It's also one of the largest in the country. That means the homes are efficient enough that a renewable energy system would offset all or most of owner's annual energy costs.

The first model home opens next month. Homeowners will move in gradually over the next year.

Rehe says his team has been talking with other cities that are interested in bringing similar developments to their residents.

Rebekah Way is an on-call news host at KNKX. She began her career in public radio as a news intern at KNKX, where she's also worked as an interim producer and reporter. Rebekah holds a life-long passion for music and also works as a professional musician and educator in the Seattle area.