As Cascadia Edit
In the late 1990's, there was a lot of buzz in Pierce County about a new planned development project. Cascadia's first phase of construction was to included 1,719 single and multifamily homes, an 80-acre business park, additional land for commercial use, and a conference hotel and golf complex with an 18-hole competition-quality golf course. It was to have housing for up to 10,000 people.
Two more development phases were to follow. Phase II would have totaled about 1,742 acres, which included 696 acres for residential use and 319 acres for business. Phase III incorporated the remaining 1,287 acres and would have been parceled out similarly, but with more flexibility to match markets and the community's needs at the time of the development.
It was supposed to start construction in 1999.
Construction began in 2005 when the community was known as Cascadia, with an estimated timeline for completion of 20 years. The town was designed by Patrick Kuo, who had purchased the land in 1991. Included in the original plan for Cascadia were 6,500 homes, a commercial district, an industrial park, schools, and recreational parkland for residents to enjoy. It was to become the state's largest planned community ever.
Construction halted in 2008, prior to the construction of any homes or commercial properties.
In October 2009, Cascadia Project LLC, the company behind the planning of Cascadia, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. According to HomeStreet Bank, which financed the project, over 72 million dollars of loans were non-performing. HomeStreet Bank had planned to foreclose and auction off the land of the community, which had been running behind schedule with only a school and some road-related infrastructure completed. The bankruptcy restructuring plan proposed by Cascadia Project LLC was rejected by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and HomeStreet Bank completed foreclosure of the land and held an auction September 24, 2010. As there were no qualified bidders, the property reverted to HomeStreet Bank ownership. Following the auction HomeStreet Bank intended to find another developer for the community.
As Tehaleh Edit
Newland Communities and North American Sekisui House salvaged the project in 2011 by purchasing 4,200 of the original 5,000 acres of land for 49 million dollars. The development was renamed Tehaleh, derived from words meaning “highlands” or “the land above”. The revised plan calls for constructing 5,900 houses and 4 million square feet of business property within the next 25 years. Included in the plan is a 419-acre employment center, a fire station and up to seven schools. The plan also retains the many parks and trails included in the failed Cascadia project. On 26 September 2012, Tehaleh opened its first ten model houses.
Due to its elevated geography on a plateau, several hundred feet above the adjacent Puyallup River valley, Tehaleh is not at risk of flooding from the Puyallup River unlike many communities in close proximity to Mount Rainier. In the event of an eruption of Mount Rainier, Tehaleh is not within the USGS delineated mudslides hazard zone. Because of its elevation and location outside of the Lahar inundation zone, a project has been proposed to construct a bridge from Orting to Tehaleh to provide Orting residents an additional evacuation route to the high ground on Tehaleh, in case of emergency.