University Place / Fircrest
One hundred years ago, University Place was to be the site of Puget Sound University (now University of Puget Sound, which is actually in nearby Tacoma). A financial panic and drop in property values caused plans to change and the campus was never constructed. The community name stuck and a century later University Place became a city. The population is roughly 30,000. Many of the homes are newer and unlike neighboring Tacoma to the north and east there are currently communities of new homes being constructed. The average recent sale price was $330,000.
University Place offers scenic settings along the Puget Sound with views including the Narrows Passage and Olympic Mountains beyond. University Place is in development of a pedestrian-friendly Towne Center with a mixture of retail, restaurants and residential homes. Many buyers who are looking for homes in University Place cite excellent schools as the number one motivating factor for wanting to live here.
Another strong selling point of U.P. is Chambers Bay golf course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. It opened in 2007 and was quickly known as one of the finest municipal golf courses in the country. It played host to the 2015 U.S. Open during an unusually hot stretch of weather for this area. Meandering around the golf layout is a great and scenic walking trail, an adjacent park, an off-leash dog park, and a public beach.
With a population of 6,600, Fircrest is a small but charming city abutting south Tacoma and central Tacoma, as well as University Place. It is known for tall trees. Running through the middle of Fircrest is a commercial core of retail, shopping, dining and office. Fircrest is home to the Fircrest Golf Club, an outstanding private 18 hole course. Additionally, Fircrest operates an extensive Parks and Recreation Program. Facilities include tennis courts, swimming pools, basketball and volleyball courts, soccer and baseball fields and a gymnasium, to name a few. The residential homes of Fircrest were constructed between 1900 and the present, encompassing a wide range of styles. Some of the common styles include Contemporary, Ranch and Craftsman style homes. The average selling price for Fircrest homes is about $300,000.