Northwest Landing - Dupont, Washington
In DuPont, Wash., directly between Tacoma and Olympia,
the neotraditional neighborhood of Northwest Landing proves that good
things can come in big packages. At 3,500 acres, Northwest Landing is
one of the largest TNDs in the nation, yet it still manages to maintain
its human scale and decidedly Pacific Northwest ambience. Composed of
equal parts residential, commercial business and open space, its narrower
than-the-norm streets are lined with pocket parks, cottages, condominiums,
and largely Craftsman-style single-family homes with front porches. A
village green anchors the neighborhood and includes the iconic clock tower
and an amphitheater. Northwest Landing is a good place to live.
A clock tower anchors the village green in Northwest
Landing, one of the largest new traditional neighborhoods in the country.
Photo: Jason Miller
During the past decade, Northwest Landing has received
numerous national and regional accolades for everything from its community
and home design to its landscaping. In 1995, the Master Builder Association
named Northwest Landing "Community of the Year"; in 1996, the National
Association of Home Builders recognized Northwest Landing for "Best Community
Design" in the United States. Northwest Landing has also been rated as
one of the most walkable communities in the United States by Sunset and
But this sought-after neighborhood didn't just happen, says Greg Moore,
general manager of Northwest Landing and Vice president of Quadrant, the
project's developer. "We annexed into the city of DuPont, which is a very
small, 400-person village that was the old company town for DuPont Company.
So the fast-paced growth and the city being able to keep up with development
was a challenge. For us, the challenge was getting things approved with
their smaller staff and working with them for their growth and maturity
as a city, even as we tried to move our project forward."
The land itself was a challenge, too. Saturated with history, it includes
the 1833 and 1843 sites of Fort Nisqually. It is the historic land of
the Sequalitchew band of the Nisqually Indians. It's the site of the first
mission and school in western Washington. It was an encampment site for
the Buffalo Soldiers who came out west to Fort Lewis. And it is the preserved
location for the Wilkes Observatory, which was used for surveying the
Owned by Weyerhaeuser Company, the large plot was originally meant to
be used as a port and lumber milling facility. But because of market and
company changes, that plan was scrapped and in 1985 the property was turned
over to another arm of the company, the Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company
(WREC; Quadrant is the development subsidiary of WREC). That decision
led to a comprehensive plan by Calthorpe Associates, designed to incorporate
a mix of residential, commercial and offices uses into a single cohesive
development, rather than a series of suburban subdivisions and unrelated
office and industrial parks.
"Our challenge was to successfully integrate the northwest history into
the project," says Moore. The company spent more than $1 million surveying,
documenting and protecting the many historical sites and performed an
archaeological review of the entire community. "Even now, when new ground
is broken, we have archaeologists and a Nisqually tribal member monitoring
the site," says Moore.
But the land had one more trick up its sleeve. Since 600 of the 3,500
acres is the former site of the DuPont Company, which manufactured explosives
from 1900 to 1975, that portion of the site contained high levels of lead
that needed to be cleaned up. At press time, this cleanup - a process
that was monitored by the Department of Ecology - was essentially complete.
Next, the site will be capped with more dirt and become the location of
an 18-hole golf course surrounded by a 300-acre business and technology
park, scheduled for completion in September 2006.
On the residential side, approximately 1,500 single-family homes have
been built to date. About 700 multi-family or condominiums have also gone
up. Patriot's Landing, a military-oriented retirement complex, is under
construction and will offer a housing choice to retiring military personnel
from nearby Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base, as well as the general
Soon residents will be able to walk to Dupont
Station, a new downtown for Northwest Landing.
Photo: Jason Miller
Also under construction is DuPont Station, the new DuPont downtown. A
Liberty Inn hotel is up and running. A Park-and-Ride lot lets residents
take advantage of Pierce County Transit, the local bus line. Four retail/office
buildings are up. Venture Bank just announced it's moving its headquarters
to DuPont Station. When Viva Mexico, a new Mexican restaurant, is complete,
DuPont Station will boast 250,000 square feet of retail and office space
- all clustered around a 1-acre urban plaza.
The "becoming" of Northwest Landing is progressing well. While its newer
edges lean toward a conventional suburban fabric, the neighborhood as
a whole has adhered to its original plan and has become a popular destination
for visitors and residents alike. Community events are staged through
the Residential Owners Association and the city of DuPont. Everything
from a walking club, Fourth of July parade, concerts on the Village Green,
Halloween contests, picnics and more have become favorites with the community.
And that community is growing. Approximately 5,000 people call Northwest
Landing home; it has swelled by roughly 500 residents each year for the
past several years. By most accounts, Northwest Landing has earned its
place on the list of prosperous and successful TNDs nationally.
Location: DuPont, Washington
Size: 3,500 acres
Designer: Calthorpe Associates
Developer: Weyerhaeuser Real Estate
Percent complete: 55% residential 20% commercial/business
Single-family: $170,000 to $350,000
Condos: $140,000 to $220,000
Getting there: Northwest Landing lies on the west side of Interstate
5, 15 minutes south of Tacoma (exit 119) and 15 minutes north of Olympia
For more information: http://www.nwlanding.com
Jason Miller is a new urbanist writer, editor and plan book consultant
based in St. Paul, Minn. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org