Tehaleh marks five years with a second elementary school. Are more businesses on the way?

New elementary school breaks ground in Tehaleh in Sumner

The $28 million school will be built to serve 550 students, kindergarten through fifth grade
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The $28 million school will be built to serve 550 students, kindergarten through fifth grade

It’s been five years since Tehaleh came into its own as the area’s largest planned community.

Since then, about 1,000 homes have sold in the development south of Bonney Lake.

In addition to the homes, the development has 11 parks, 10 miles of trails, a public elementary school, a cafe and the private Seven Summits Lodge for ages 55 and older.

“We have about 2,500 residents, and they’ve come together as a community,” said Scott Jones, senior vice president of Newland Communities, which is developing Tehaleh.

When complete, Tehaleh will have “up to 9,700 homes, a 419-acre employment center, fire stations, and over 1,800 acres of parks, trails and open space,” according to a recent news release.

And it’s still coming together.

The community just celebrated completion of the northern half of the 198th Corridor, which “was part new road, part road widening,” Jones said.

“That was a long project and we’re glad the orange cones are gone,” he said.

It also recently transferred 3.3 acres to East Pierce Fire and Rescue for a new fire station.

In addition, the Sumner School District recently held a groundbreaking for a second elementary school in Tehaleh, designed for about 550 K-5 students and with STEM at its focus and classrooms for specialists.

Beyond all of this, Jones noted Tehaleh’s plans to be an employment-based community.

“Ten percent of the land is set aside for employment,” he said. “In March, we sold a parcel to Kahne Corp. self-storage of Enumclaw. I think the biggest story there now is (the community) is starting to create its own demand.”

As for more retail or business: “Several other things are in the works,” Jones said, adding the developer hopes to announce more new businesses soon.

Residents have expressed interest businesses such as restaurants, RV storage and grocery stores, he said.

“While the team at Tehaleh is actively working to deliver these and other services, they really aren’t able to speculate on potential businesses at this point, though, because a lot could shift between now and then,” Jones said.

Which is growing faster, Tehaleh or the Trilogy neighborhood for residents 55 and older?

“Trilogy is 30 percent of (home) sales; it’s been fairly consistent since 2013,” Jones said. “It’s a strong market with the baby boomers ... But the more general (housing) side is moving along quite quickly.

“The primary reason folks buy is because they want to live there and people move within the community — they moved into a larger house, or they downsized, or moved into Trilogy.”

What’s next for Tehaleh?

“The employment center will start to take off,” Jones predicted. “Now it will start to meet (employers) metrics or service area in their business and will take off.

“We’re looking forward to a small retail, town-center type of development.”

Other plans?

More parks and trails, plus additional housing, which could be multifamily rental or condos, townhomes for sale “or more creative small home products,” he said.

“Our expectation is interest rates will rise, exacerbating affordability, so we’re looking at bringing in lower-price products.”

And, what is probably top of mind for all residents, any signs of a grocer coming?

“I think we need about 5,000 (Tehaleh residents) for a grocer and a new road ... maybe five to six years,” he said.

As always, Jones and Tehaleh’s residents would note: Trader Joe’s, you’re welcome to a site visit.

Debbie Cockrell: 253-597-8364, @Debbie_Cockrell

Christmas at Tehaleh

Children living at Tehaleh can meet Santa at The Post from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 9. The community also will have a giving tree to help children from neighboring schools for the holidays.