Positioning an Agrihood Vision

Puget Sound, WA

One of the Puget Sound region’s major land owners/master developer of residential communities owned a 21-acre site for residential development as part of a larger, urban-edge holding. They had already installed some backbone infrastructure, predicated on a conventional subdivision of 90+ single family homes on cul-de-sacs. The land owner tasked our collective team (including Oranje LLC and Davis Studio) to craft a development concept and site plan alternatives, assess market opportunities, identify target buyer profiles and a responsive product mix.

Our creative vision embraced the biggest of the site’s constraints— a major utility corridor— into a food-producing landscape focus. We re-cast the diagonal zone through the site as a multifaceted asset, part of a central focus for food growing, ruminant grazing, natural stormwater management and passive recreation—rather than a void separating the site into undifferentiated fields of “snout houses” on single-family lots.

Equally important, Stephen Antupit’s research revealed the contours of the submarket’s buying power, new home inventory and pricing parameters. Our site plan alternatives responded to current demand and growing demographic opportunities, sensitive to submarket conditions. The recommendations emphasized a walkable, sustainable neighborhood design of efficient, affordable homes. Our concept also identified food-based enterprises as opportunities for community connection and gathering, offering “third place” destinations (local berry pie, anyone?). Kathryn Gardow identified viable food production alternatives and opportunities to leverage local partnerships.

The development concept, site plan alternatives, and efficient arrangement of modest home lots also reduced infrastructure demands. Minimized roadway length, avoided storm drainage conveyances, and reduced impervious surfaces cut the estimated site improvement costs by $1.5–2 Million below the conventional subdivision’s engineering estimate, representing an almost 50% savings. Taken together, the strategies Stephen Antupit presented in a narrative report captured a creative vision and positioned a unique residential community offering.

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