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Homestreet Bank Sells Cascadia Development for $49.1 Million

Today, Homestreet Bank announced the sale of the 4,218-acre Cascadia community to Newland Real Estate Group, LLC.

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.

David Coutts March 23, 2011 at 06:17 PM
I still think it's going to be a mess for the residents, the city and the county if something like this moves forward. I hope it will turn into just big neighborhoods without all the grand visions of major shopping centers, commercial development and all the other pitfalls of "self-contained" projects. Anyone remember South Hill when it was a nice, residential upstart? How about now with Sunrise and Gem Heights? Ouch!
CoreyAnn March 23, 2011 at 10:00 PM
I think the difference is the master plan neighborhood vs. the "just big" neighborhoods like those David mentioned. I loved living in Lakeland for the parks, schools, and walkability that was built into it. Well I just moved to the Bay Area and here there is a development here called Mountain House that even the developers of Cascadia couldn't have envisioned. Their build out will be about 15,000 homes and they have their own police/fire/school/water/water treatment districts to be all self-inclusive despite that they are really residents of a larger city. They have one K-8 school for every 1,000 home built in. I think that is what a master development plan should include. Plans for commercial use, utilities & services, mini-school systems where children can thrive, and a strong connected community. I know over 100 families in my old neighborhood of Lakeland and I desperately miss the camaraderie and true neighborhood feel. I grew up on farmland on 214th as a child and right off the lake in my teens and have seen the area grow. We can all agree that it is not the same as it was back in the 1970s and 1980s. But the only thing that I can say is that while I looked at Lakeland in the early phase as a monstrosity that was going to "ruin" the West Lake Tapps area, I soon grew to love it and actually prefer it over acreage living because of the strong community that a close neighborhood fosters!!!
Kelda Miller March 24, 2011 at 12:58 AM
I"ve got a question. Do we need more new houses? Or, if we need more houses, aren't there abandoned paved over places to build on? (aka Brownfield, versus this type of 'Greenfield' construction). Just wondering.... Yes census says our population went up, (though not as much as expected) but still seems like there' s plenty of houses for sale or places that can be upgraded.
CoreyAnn March 24, 2011 at 01:21 AM
This is an abandoned, paved over place. The previous developer had already cleared the land and built the basic road infrastructure/utility structure throughout the community. In fact, that is where the "ghost town" elementary (Donald Eismann Elementary) is already up for kids to be bussed in from the MacAlder school (which will be shuttered) in the 2011-2012 school year.
Kelda Miller March 24, 2011 at 01:37 AM
ah yes, damage is already done. As far as the general conversation goes though...
CoreyAnn March 24, 2011 at 02:06 AM
While I would wish that everything could be a wave-of-the-future Treasure Island-type development (http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/4239381) or return to Tiny/Simple home living (http://tinyhouseblog.com/), I'm not so sure how to do that in this economic climate (TI homes are going to be STARTING in the millions) or how feasible it is to ask large families to squeeze into small spaces. I am glad that the belief of "bigger is better" is going by the wayside somewhat and that people are starting to look more at what is needed vs. what is wanted. In fact, last year we downsized from a 3500sqft home on 1/3rd acre into a 650sqft one (there are only 3 in our house). I'm all for education and training people on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle but I don't feel that it is something that I can force on anyone. I rather applaud master planned community living over the sprawling acreage lots that have no cohesion around the lake. That at least is getting more people into a smaller footprint and building in necessities in a less impacting way. I'm all for reclaiming brownfields but how many areas like that are there in the BL/Sumner region that can accommodate a development? Not many :(
Lloyal Mellott March 24, 2011 at 03:17 AM
Lloyal Mellott The question was, should they rethink the development or move forward with Kuo's planned community! There is plans and commitments between Pierce County and Cascadia. There is also commitments that were made between Cascadia and it's neighbors. Most definitely they should move forward as planned prior. It's their land now and it's their money , but they should honor the commitments! Kuo always wanted to be a good neighbor!
Kelda Miller March 24, 2011 at 05:57 PM
Great thoughts, CoreyAnn, and all. The Treasure Island article reminds me of other master-planned ideas like West Seattle's High Point, Davis's Village Homes, and in a not-quite-so-radical but still heartwarming Tacoma's Salishan. I didn't see price of homes mentioned in the TI article, but if it's multi-family and the city is involved, I would guess that it would be mixed income like High Point and Salishan. Though I heartily support all the village scale food-growing, water-cycling, energy-harvesting, my main beef with master planned communities is that they are NOT villages. You have to have an economic base and central downtown (even if small like Orting) for people to walk to. And the design needs to be for cars not for people. And that creation of villages is often much more beautiful and lasting if created by the people who live there. (an article I wrote on the subject: http://www.divinearthgp.com/?page_id=622) I haven't seen the Cascadia site yet, and maybe it really could be a complete village. But given what I've seen of Bonney Lake I have a strong feeling it will be car-based. Am I right? And my current thought is that if its car-based its more of what we don't want. Also, CoreyAnn about the housing size you're absolutely right a lot of us can do fine in smaller houses. And we of course can't 'regulate' people to live in smaller houses. I think we need better options that are done Tastefully. And land/yards for people who actually want land to steward.
Mark Hester March 27, 2011 at 06:24 AM
I don't mind so much the fact there is a new 'self contained' community being planned. What really boggles me is when these communities are planned, cities seem to act like deer in headlights and the end result is no better than the road planning from our state DOT. It wouldn't surprise me a bit to see this community being built and Bonney Lake improving roads in a 'reactive' manner instead of a 'proactive ' manner. We've all seen the mess from road infrastructure taking a back seat to a community build out. If Bonney Lake was forward thinking at all, they would annex sooner than later, seek the funding AHEAD of time, and have the roads ready for the growth to come. By annexing ahead of time, they can sooner collect the taxes needed to pay for the infrastructure going in.
PC Boy March 27, 2011 at 02:57 PM
Great point, Mark. I think the city would like to annex, but right now the CUGA needs to happen first. Otherwise, Cascadia would be an island of Bonney Lake in the middle of the county. Unfortunately, Pierce County has lower impact fees (to pay for infrastructure) so the developers want it to stay county. Also, the county doesn't want to give up the "cash cow". Once it's all developed, and all the fees have been collected, they'll be more than happy to let Bonney Lake annex whatever they want. Then the burden will be on the citizens, rather than the developers...
Kelda Miller March 27, 2011 at 05:37 PM
Why would it need roads? I thought it was self-contained? (Yes this is just a sassy comment, but not really, it points out that the community is not Truly self-reliant needing a small road in and out. Not in the sense of 'self contained' that I think about as being truly environmentally friendly. And if it's not, if it's still based on car culture, than why does it get to be called self contained?) But also, the developer should pay the true cost of impact fees whether its in county or city. I think in this county our impact fees are too low. If developers couldn't externalize the costs of roads and schools and utilities and environmental damage, than they wouldnt be making such big profits and they'd plan to locate where our existing infrastructure makes most sense. Why are we letting them externalize all these huge huge costs on us? It doesn't make any financial sense. If it was a 'greater good' maybe, but it isnt!
Mark Hester March 27, 2011 at 10:12 PM
I certainly hope the city council reads this. I agree with both of you. There has to be a way for the city to recoup the costs of building adequate roads BEFORE housing goes in. Either from the builder, county, or a combination of the two. I hate to even mention it because I'm for less government and involvement, but as a last resort maybe the city going to court or a class action suite from the citizens is the only way Bonney Lake tax payers won't have to absorb the entire bill on building roads for the future housing area. Even if Bonney Lake never annexes the area, Bonney Lake still takes a hit on roads because they go right through our area's.
Pam Weekley March 31, 2011 at 06:01 PM
I am very pleased that Cascadia has been sold to one developer. After 20 years of infrastructure and improvements to get this community going, it's one of the first times something this large has actually It's wonderful that Cascadia still lives. Now that there is enough financing behind it, things should go well. And I just happen to have a five acre parcel surrounded by Cascadia. It is very close to Lake Orting and the bluff overlooking the valley with Orting right below. There are only 3 private parcels withing the boundaries of Cascadia, and this is one of them. If anyone is interested in purchasing for the future, now is a good time. If you are interested, please contact us at pamweekley@comcast.net. thanx.
Andrew February 24, 2013 at 06:23 AM
We don't need all these houses here. I live in a home built in the 1970's and have been here all my life. Build no more than 100 houses (not 6,000) with large woods surrounding them. No homes in the area? Too bad. Go back to California where you came from.

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