TEHALEH, Wash. -- Bonney Lake has been around since 1949. Sumner became a city more than 100 years ago. But a neighboring community, Tehaleh, could surpass them both in size in a just few more years.
Developers actually bought the nearly 5,000 acres for Tehaleh from Weyerhaeuser nearly 30 years ago, but homes just started being built there in 2011.
When Christina Groven began a part-time pet-sitting business, she never imagined she would be working full time hours, with several employees, and building a full scale dog spa and kennel to accommodate all of the dogs now living in Tehaleh.
“Everybody seems to have a pet here,” said Groven as she overlooked the construction of her new kennel. “I thought I’d just walk a few dogs a week, and it just exploded from there.”
Scott Jones is with Newland Communities, the development company behind Tehaleh, and he says while there are plenty of dogs there, families are also fighting to get in.
“Simply put, it’s the opportunity to live in the forest,” said Jones. “We’ve designed a community to feel like the smaller little neighborhoods nestled in the forest."
It’s a community that already has 5,000 people. In eight years, Tehaleh has become the largest planned community in the state and one of the biggest in the nation.
“It’s peaceful, and a really tight knit community,” said Karen Bradley, who has lived there since the first home went up. “The houses sell like crazy. Everybody wants to be up in this new community.”
Of the 150 homes under construction right now, most are already spoken for. Developers say it’s not necessarily people being priced out of the Seattle area moving there, but rather the jobs being created in Seattle and Tacoma that are attracting families to this neck of the woods.
“Just the consistent and significant job creation, and over time that creates demand for additional housing,” said Jones.
But that demand can create other things, like traffic congestion. There is already a new four-lane road being built to get in and out of the community.
There are also two schools already on site, and the plan is to incorporate retail, office space, and an industrial area, and eventually become an incorporated city.
It already feels like a city to Christina Groven, as she tries to keep up with the demand of pets and people in her new community.