In 1943, a mysterious government complex called Hanford appeared in a tiny town named Richland. The residents did not know what it was for, but within a month the population of the town more than doubled. When the atomic bomb “Fat Man” detonated over Nagasaki, ending World War II, the veil of secrecy was lifted. Richland had contributed to America’s victory, producing the enriched plutonium needed to put an end to the conflict. Today, Richland is a vibrant city, the scientific leader among the Tri-Cities, and a perfect place to buy a home and relocate. …continue reading below.
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Richland’s Best Homes For Sale
The most “uptown” of the three cities on the Columbia, Richland has a reputation in the area for having an intelligent population, American patriotism, and enormous potential for growth in real estate. Richland ranks in the top 20 % of the state for per capita income, and high paying jobs are abundant for the qualified. It’s also heavily dense in PhD’s, with over 1600 doctorates and over 7000 high level scientists. And that’s not including the rapidly growing world class Medical Doctor facilities in the area. It is a place where you can leave your doors unlocked and let your children run free. Safety combined with a low cost of living, high standard of living, nonexistent traffic, and a wholesome community makes Richland, Washington, the location of choice for retirees and new families alike. While the median age is 38, individual ages range across the spectrum as families stay and grow together for generations—testimony to the stability of the region and the sunny future of Richland.
Richland was the last of the Tri-Cities to be built, founded in 1910 and always overshadowed by Pasco’s size and agricultural success. This changed when the Manhattan Project brought plutonium enrichment for our nuclear arsenal to southeast Washington State. Acres of houses were built overnight to house the thousands of government workers flooding to the area, and Hanford quickly became synonymous with Richland. The city has many houses from this era for sale, and anyone who wants to live in a piece of history can find it in here. In the Hanford days, those who did not wish to live in government owned housing founded the nearby community of West Richland, a town in its own right, although often confused with Richland. West Richland is a sprawling haven of houses of all sizes and architectural styles, as the elite of Hanford created the world they wanted to live in. After the war, Hanford continued to enrich plutonium, enlarging America’s nuclear arsenal and winning the arms race. When the Cold War ended and enriched plutonium was no longer in high demand, residents feared an economic collapse. Fortunately, that never happened. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 brought billions to Hanford, turning it into a massive environmental clean-up project and the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Exclusive closed tours of the B reactor and old town site are available if you get in early on the list.
Today Hanford and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory continue to bring prosperity to the region, along with research and technology jobs. As of this writing there are over 100 jobs available at PNNL, ranging from Microbial Engineering to Nuclear Risk Analyst. Richland’s proximity to the Hanford Site’s wealth of desirable jobs, and the city’s growing size, is creating a shift toward urban development and supportive amenities all across the Tri-Cities. The area has always had wealth due to Hanford, and that stability has allowed other sectors to grow along with the populace. A new business culture is arising apart from the traditional scientific jobs and agricultural employment. Small businesses are popping up everywhere, and existing family owned ventures are expanding and branching out.
This cultural progression is happening through a generational change in demographics, which is the result of being one of the fastest growing population bases in the northwest. Young families are moving in and buying a home in Richland WA, propagating a need for a wide array of services, products, and real estate development. This shift is diversifying the economy and has created a firm new economic base. The area has been steadily growing for years, and now outside industries and real estate developers are beginning to see the Tri-Cities’ and Richland’s growth as a legitimate call to investment opportunities, as the Tri-Cities is one of the last urbanely undeveloped cities in the northwest. The time is right for new residents to buy a house or rental property to take advantage of the future of Tri-Cities, Washington.
Purchasing a house here means settling in stunning hills under a vast sky. Just west of Richland, the Fitzner/Eberhardt Arid Lands Ecology Reserve is the largest tract of shrub-steppe ecosystem remaining in Washington. It provides a windswept venue for studying a dozen unique plants and animals found in the local ecosystem. The mild weather and open rolling landscape is perfect for retirees looking to buy a house away from stress while staying close to quality medical care and many golf courses. The skies are dark and starry, and star gazing is a prominent pastime for both old and young. To the west lies Goldendale Observatory State Park, housing the largest public telescope in the country. The Washington Park Service runs nightly shows of planets and nebulae, and daily viewings of the sun! Closer to home, the Tri-Cities Astronomy Club meets in a church to talk about the heavens. The astronomers share the night with the Cool Desert Nights classic car show at the end of June.
The city isn’t all research and innovation. Animal owners love the area for its rural country suburbs, where horses and riders are seen trotting along the street to the corner store. The 4-H clubs and fairs offer furry fun for kids, like any good city in this fertile farming region of Washington. The summer months bring a load of water play to the waterfront real estate. Boats, jet skis, canoes, and kayaks frolic across the waves from dozens of docks, both personal and public. Columbia Park straddles the river and is host to the Tri-Cities Water Follies the last weekend in July. The Lamb Weston Columbia Cup, one of six races in the American Powerboat circuit, features hydroplanes racing down the river at 220 miles per hour. Technology meets sportsmanship in this event as a unique propulsion system sends the boats skipping along the water. Houses on the Columbia are in high demand, but new development is opening up many new homes for those who wish to be right in the thick of the fun. Buying a house in Richland is still affordable, especially considering the ongoing expansion of the Tri-Cities and Richland’s place at the forefront of the job growth and income.
Washington State University Tri-Cities, a four-year branch campus of Washington State University, is located in Richland on the river bank. It offers a wide range of programs, and like Richland’s sister towns, WSU-Tri-Cities focuses heavily on quickly applicable skill sets. In this case, however, the fastest applied education is in biotechnology, computer science, engineering, and nuclear science due to the nearby National Labs and Hanford Site. The university employs a number of quality teachers, also drawn to the area by low house costs and high standard of living, showing that smart people know Richland is a good investment. WSU-TC offers a broad range of majors, including English, history, and other liberal arts in addition to the locally valuable sciences.
With three percent of Richland’s adult population holding Doctoral Degrees, continuing education is a priority. In addition to Kennewick’s Mid-Columbia Libraries, the City of Richland owns and operates Richland Public Library. Washington State University-Tri-Cities houses the Hanford Technical Library, where nuclear secrets are stockpiled for public perusal. These aren’t the only sources of literary entertainment, either. In a town full of scientists and independent minded people, it is unsurprising that Richland is home to one of the most diverse and extensive book/comics/music/games/coffee/toy stores in the country. Geeks and brainiacs unite at this gem of the uptown shopping strip. The establishment hosts table-top games and city-wide book events to draw the researchers out into the daylight.
Richland is a world center of high-tech and science based jobs, including cutting-edge energy research and development, cyber-security research, and carbon footprint reduction on the environment. Richland offers a fantastic combination of nature, suburban living, real estate opportunities, and advanced high-level technology and energy based jobs. Although Hanford’s role is over in developing the mightiest nuclear arsenal in the world, Richland continues to be a world player in nuclear research and remains at the forefront of many emerging technologies. If you’re looking to relocate, it’s a smart choice to rent or buy your next home in Richland Washington.