Homestreet Bank announced the final sale of , the largest development venture in Pierce County’s history.
The development just outside the Bonney Lake city limits would have 6,000 new homes, an employment center and be a "self-contained" community. In September 2010, former owner Patrick Kuo declared bankruptcy and the property defaulted to the lender, Homestreet Bank. The sale to Newland Real Estate, LLC finalized March 23.
The gross selling price of Cascadia equalled $49.1 million.
"We’ve been looking at the Puget Sound market for a number of years [...] we’ve identified that as a growing market," said Dave Wood, Regional President of the Northwest region for Newland Real Estate. "I had looked at Cascadia years ago, before it was purchased by Kuo [...] It has a good entitlement and provides for wide range of uses on that property."
Wood said that Newland Real Estate is sitting down next week to strategize and build its local team; he was hesitant to say what plans the company has for the property, other than it's still in its early stages and will fill out details soon.
"Our next steps are to get our internal house in order," said Wood.
He also mentioned that while the market has been down, Newland sees things as looking up in this region.
"We’re seeing an uptick across the country in terms of activity. The Northwest was a little slower coming out [of the recession] but we’re optimistic over the short term and expect to see progress in the next three years. There is a shortage of product up there, for master-planned communities."
Pierce County and Bonney Lake officials spent almost 20 years planning for Cascadia and surrounding road mitigation.
After a period of uncertainty, Bonney Lake is pleased that Cascadia has been picked up by one developer, not split into multiple pieces.
"The city was pleased that the development was sold to a single buyer. One of our fears was that the project would be split up among multiple owners," said Don Morrison, Bonney Lake's city administrator. "Having the development under single ownership should facilitate the planning and development of the area, and allow the project to proceed as planned."
While Cascadia falls outside the city of Bonney Lake's urban growth area and recent annexation proposal, the development is still on Bonney Lake's future growth radar.
"Over time, the Cascadia project area will likely be included in our comprehensive plans as a future annexation area," said Morrison. "That would be consistent with the goals of the WA Growth Management Act as well as adopted planning policies of the Puget Sound Regional Council.”
While Newland purchased Cascadia knowing that almost two decades of planning went into the Cascadia project, Wood mentioned that designs could potentially be modified, if the company sees the need to.
"The entitlement in place will provide a framework [...] which hopefully will work for what our vision might be. I'm not saying that the vision might not need modifications or requests but we're prepared to work within that framework."
Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy called it “great news” for the regional economy.
“This development is poised to accommodate a significant amount of the county’s future growth in housing and jobs,” said McCarthy. “Pierce County has invested a great deal of time and effort into the planning and permitting of this project, and we are committed to its success. This community will be a jewel in the region.”
Wood said Newland is "keenly aware" of its Bonney Lake neighbors; it is prepared to work with the county and surrounding cities moving forward.
Newland’s mixed-use development business, Newland Communities, is one of the largest privately held land developers in the U.S., currently developing master-planned communities in 14 states. In the Northwest, in addition to Fisher’s Landing, Newland Communities developed and sold out River Rim in Bend, Oregon, and is currently developing or entitling five additional projects in the region, two in Washington and three in Oregon.