News

Cascadia announces builders for the beginning of phase one

Bonney Lake officials review contracts for added help with roads

By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

Nearly 15 years ago county officials said “let there be development” in East Pierce County south of Bonney Lake, and now the homes are about to come.

Last week, the Cascadia Corporation signed up two homebuilders, Centex Homes and Shea Homes, to start laying foundations and framing walls.

The senior vice president of Cascadia, Chuck Lappenbusch, said Centex signed a contract to build 142 homes and Shea signed for 85 with an option for another 109.

Centrex is based in Dallas and Shea in Walnut, Calif.

“We are very excited that two nationally recognized builders are launching Cascadia,” Lappenbusch said. “We expect this to be a long term partnership.”

Lappenbusch said the first foundations are expected to be poured in the spring of 2007 with the first people moving in about six months later.

The 336 home commitment from the two builders are the beginning of phase one for Cascadia, which includes a total of 1,719 homes to built over a span of about six years.

According to Cascadia's design plans, the entire development projects 6,500 homes with phase two beginning in 2013. The project is expected to take 20 years for completion and includes a golf course, high tech and light industry with a 500-acre foreign-trade zone and seven schools.

Before the first yard of concrete can fill a form, Cascadia will need to get a sewer agreement with Orting worked out.

The city of Orting filed a suit in November 2005 in Pierce County Superior Court asking Judge Bryan Chushcoff to invalidate a sewer contract signed in 2002 between the city and Cascadia.

The judge agreed, throwing out the contract, but ruled Orting must provide sewer service to Cascadia since the development is in the city's sewer service area.

“Everything it takes to work this out we will do,” Lappenbusch said.

Cascadia is in the process of appealing the judge's ruling.

The impact of Cascadia on Bonney Lake is growing as the building and occupancy dates near.

The City Council met Saturday in a special executive session to consider traffic mitigation agreements that the city signed with Cascadia over the past several years.

“We want to determine what we can and can not do,” Mayor Neil Johnson said. “This will give us some direction.”

The mayor and the City Council will look at the impact of traffic coming out of Cascadia accessing 199th and 198th Avenue East to South Prairie Road and state Route 410 East and other north-south routes.

A major source of concern for the city is that a new Rhodes Lake Road corridor will not even begin construction until 2012 or later, after the first 1,719 homes are built in phase one.

At the Cascadia site, roads are being built, trenches for water lines are being dug and plans are moving steadily forward, although the first home construction is about a year away.

It is estimated that more than 16,000 people will inhabit Cascadia when it is completed, making the development a city nearly equivalent to the current size of Bonney Lake.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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