Rob Rice Homes Draws a Crowd at Steilacoom Ridge


Tents were readied out in front of the homes to welcome Brokers.

Realtor cars lined the street out in front of three new homes at Rob Rice Homes’ Steilacoom Ridge, where tents were set up recently for the community’s first Brokers’ Open.

It was a grand celebration in North Lacey, WA that drew more than 100 real estate brokers from the South Sound Region, not just for the amazing lunch of hot chili, warm corn bread muffins, Gotti Sweets cookies and prizes, but because they wanted to see for themselves the community and homes that are causing such a buzz.


Cookies from Gotti Sweets were a welcoming touch to the big event.

“We showcased our fabulous Rainier plan, with its 2553 sq. ft. and 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a large bonus room, plus an amazing kitchen,” says Christina Janis who, with Lucia Arroyo, represents Rob Rice homes at the community. “Next door, brokers viewed a 1942 sq. ft. luxury Redwood rambler and the hugely-popular master-down Spruce plan, with 2445 sq. ft.”

Along with Realtors Christina and Lucia, Rob Rice Homes staff, Rob’s superintendents, workers, and even the builder himself were on hand to welcome guests and answer question about the new, exciting community.

Local Builder Explains Steilacoom Ridge Attraction


Local builder Rob Rice and Jeff Pantier of Hatton Godat Pantier discuss the 12 year development of Steilacoom Ridge.

“Steilacoom Ridge is a great location,” remarked Rob Rice who explained he bought the property in 2004 and has worked on its development for the last 12 years. “You can be on or off I-5 in 5 minutes. There are many amenities coming to N. Lacey with the Gateway project and there is great shopping just 10 minutes away. Yet, it is quiet out here…you are not living next to some busy road.”

The location also conveniently neighbors Pierce County and Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“We are the most northern plat in Thurston County and are close to the Pierce County border at around the Nisqually bridge,” the new home builder said. “Here, we are about as far north as you can get.”

The area’s convenience has been an attraction for Rob Rice homebuyers for many years.

“Everything  we have built around here has sold,” Rob said as he points to the hill out beyond the new community. “We started building my project up there at The Ridge in the late 80s and it was successful.”

Part of his success is that the Best of South Sound builder consistently responds to what buyers look for in floorplans, especially hard-to-find ramblers and downstairs master plans.

Though he currently offers 6 options for homes with a downstairs master plan, Rob now sees the need to add another.


Helena Rice, who oversees home design choices and the builder’s unique pre-sale program, chats with brokers.

“Everyone wants a downstairs master. I am meeting with my designer tomorrow to work on a pure rambler plan, with everything on the main floor, no bonus rooms upstairs similar to the Juniper (1732 sq. ft.) and the Redwood (1942 sq. ft.). It will be something in between those two at around 1850 sq. ft. for both Steilacoom Ridge and our community at Campus Estates.”

Another reason for the new plan is that Rob Rice cares about the long-term value of his neighborhoods and wants to avoid monotonous streetscapes.

“People don’t want to live on a street where every house is the same. If there was a plan in one location and someone wanted the same house next door, we can’t do it. In the long term, that is not good for home values.”

And though ramblers have a larger footprint on a lot, Rob says that lots at Steilacoom Ridge are conducive to them.

“Relatively speaking, there are generous size lots here, averaging close to 5500 sq. ft., a bit larger than what you typically see. If they were inside the Lacey city boundaries, the lots would be, on average, 4500 sq. ft. We’ve got a little more depth to work with on some of these lots. With a rambler plan, that difference is huge. You can get a lot more house in there.”

Broker Response to Steilacoom Ridge


Brokers from Better Properties in Pierce County were excited to see the downstairs master plans, that are almost non-existent in their area.

“We have no ramblers” was a frequent comment from Pierce County’s Better Properties brokers whose office attended the Brokers’ Open. Sue Larsen, owner and designated broker of the DuPont office, noted that it is a lot of buyers 55 and older that want them.

Jana Ross from the same office said she has clients that want a rambler and will probably need to drive south to find them. “Most people really don’t want to move farther north or go in that direction because of the traffic and they like the North Lacey community.”

Kevin Burke noted that the new homes are ideal for the military because they are so close to the access gate for Joint Base Lewis-McChord off of Mounts Road.

Patty Campbell, whose husband is retired military, noticed the beautiful designer backsplash tile and was amazed that the special features are included in the price of the home.

“Everywhere else, everything’s an upgrade,” Patty said.

Comments from other attendees reflected the overall response to Steilacoom Ridge.

Jim Williams, a former construction company owner, and soon to be a home inspector remarked, “I have seen and done work on a lot of homes, and I know Rob Rice builds the best home in the area.”

Guy DuVall of John L Scott in Olympia wrote a note soon after the Brokers’ Open, “Thank you all at Rob Rice Homes. You build wonderful homes in beautiful communities.”

Open House hours at Steilacoom Ridge are Friday thru Tuesday from 12:00-5:00 at 634 Mandee Street Lacey.

Learn more about Steilacoom Ridge at Rob Rice Homes’ website.

For more information, please contact Christina Janis at or call (360) 888-2295 or contact Lucia Arroyo at or call (360) 489-7478.

Rob Rice is Thurston County’s largest local home builder and was voted the Best of South Sound for 2013, 2014 and 2015. He has built more than 3000 homes over the last 30 years. He and his wife Helena live in Olympia with their two sons; Alex Michael and Carson. Rob is a graduate of Washington State University with degrees in construction management and architecture.