Richard Seay is vice president and director of sales and marketing for the large – and growing – Suncadia resort. He was surprised by how many young people are buying homes in the Cle Elum development.

Richard Seay has worked on 43 master-planned and resort community developments. His latest project is the 6,400-acre Suncadia resort in Kittitas County.

He’s struck by who’s buying homes there: mostly young professional, some with kids.

“The money in Seattle is young. This is the youngest buyer I’ve ever dealt with,” said Seay, who moved his family from St. Martin in the Caribbean to Suncadia in 2013.

Seattle’s booming economy was beginning to fuel a comeback at Suncadia. The resort had a record year last year with 160 homes sold, a 21 percent year-over-year increase and nearly five times more than the number of homes sold in 2009.

EXCLUSIVE: Homebuilders return to Suncadia resort

This year, developers are planning to start building nearly 60 single-family homes and townhouses. The resort’s spending on infrastructure and amenities will hit $12.7 million, nearly double last year’s capital expenditures.

Seay- a self-described “South Carolina country boy” – has adjusted to life in the Pacific Northwest and sat down with the Business Journal to talk about what’s next for Suncadia.

What has changed at Suncadia in recent years?

Suncadia for years and years was known as the place to go buy a lot – a homesite. Now homebuilders are coming in and building on a speculative basis. This has really changed the way buyers are looking at Suncadia.

How so?

As a second-, third- or forth-home community, instant gratification is a huge part of it. If there’s a finished product, a home that fits their needs, they buy it. The vast majority of most of our spec homes are sold long before they’re finished.

How did you end up at Suncadia?

I had wrapped up a project on St. Martin and was just enjoying island life with my wife and kids. A friend called and said a property up in the Pacific Northwest was looking for a vice president of real estate.

What were your initial thoughts?

I had been with a company called IMI before, and we had done projects at Lake Tahoe, Sand Point, Idaho and Bend, Oregon, so I was very familiar with mountain resort communities. And we love Seattle and wanted to get off the Island. Cle Elum is a good place to raise children. It was an easy choice.

The tropic to the Cascades is quite a switch. What was that like?

We got off the airplane and all we had were shorts and flip flops and T-shirts. I spent a small fortune at REI the day we landed.

How many people live at Suncadia year-round?

Fifty-four families full time, which is about 120 people. We’ve got another 40 families that are at Suncadia for six to eight months. They live with us in the summer and go to Arizona or Hawaii during the winter.

Does anybody commute to and from Seattle?

Yes. Some people call us home and are commuting from Seattle. Seven or eight folks sold their homes in Seattle, downsized to a condo and bought or built something in Suncadia. They spend most of their time in Suncadia but keep a place in Seattle when they’re there during the week for work. We do have a couple that both work for Amazon and they commute daily.

What’s something that would surprise people about you?

I love to snowshoe. I’m a South Carolina country boy that came here via St. Martin and my goal was to never, ever snowshoe. I did it this year and have loved it. It is so quiet and so peaceful. It’s like you’re going where nobody else has gone. There’s not even animal tracks, and then all of the sudden you come up to a place and you’ll see a run where the elk have been.

What’s Suncadia’s biggest challenge?

Labor. Central Washington University in Ellensburg has been a savior to our resort. The kids in college come over and they do everything from cut grass to serve food to tend bar to lifeguard. And from the real estate side, it’s finding construction laborers, especially framers.

How much are you concerned about wildfires?

They were something very new to me, and it was scary when we had a fire down on the river. Suncadia has done a phenomenal job and I’m comfortable with all the plans in place. We have an onsite fire department, fire hydrants and water tanks. The homeowners association provides a fire watch tower that is manned 24/7 from spring to fall. Last year they actually spotted the fire on the river, which was put out using helicopters.

You’re in Seattle for business. Where would you go for dinner?

Either Chandler’s or Daniel’s in South Lake Union. I’d go to the new Thompson Hotel and have a drink on that beautiful rooftop. Which is one of the coolest things I’ve seen.

Richard Seay

o        Senior VP, IMI Resort Holdings LLC 1993-08

Marc Stiles covers real estate for the Puget Sound Business Journal


If location is everything, Trailhead Townhomes has an advantage right out of the gate. The highly anticipated townhomes are ideally located at the heart of Suncadia’s Village core, an easy stroll from the community’s bounty of activities and amenities. And Trailhead owners will have even more amenities to enjoy; the community has a private, just-for-residents pool, Jacuzzi, firepit and barbecue area.

So what else does Trailhead have going for it? A lot, according to builder Jeff Hansell of Swiftwater Custom Homes.

Hansell says he and his team were drawn to the opportunity to develop a project with the perfect combination of living space, bedrooms and bathrooms – for a relatively affordable price.

“Typically, we focus on luxury residences, remodeling and home additions,” says Hansell. “We’ve had the opportunity to build very special and distinctive custom homes in both Suncadia and Tumble Creek. Trailhead gives me the chance to apply what I’ve learned working at Suncadia to a move-in ready townhouse project. I’ve been able to integrate some of the cool details, finishes and features I’ve used throughout my custom projects. For Trailhead, we’ve chosen cozy lodge-style interiors with exposed cedar and stone.”

A Suncadia resident himself, Hansell has been building at Suncadia since 2004; this experience has given him a deep understanding about what the community and its people are about.

“Many people who buy here aren’t full-time residents; these are vacation properties or second homes. We make sure we factor that into the design.”

The homes offer 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, making them perfect for extended families and other large groups. And buyers interested in rental properties will appreciate the separate owner lock-off areas, where they can store private belongings.

Additionally, these homes will be among some of the first at Suncadia to offer Smart Home technology. Stay tuned for more details on Trailhead’s high-tech features.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning more about Trailhead, speak to a member of our sales team.

Homes in beautiful Miner’s Camp are selling fast. Today, Bill and Nancy Smith, the developers of Miner’s Camp share why buyers are jumping at the opportunity to join Suncadia’s newest neighborhood.

First and foremost, Bill Smith says, is the homes themselves. Tamarack Springs, the exclusive builder, is building only the highest-quality, most energy-efficient homes available. Each floorplan is scrutinized to maximize efficiency and functionality. “People in the Pacific Northwest are quite environmentally conscious, so these homes are well-suited to their values,” says Smith. “We make an effort to understand the unique visions and needs of our clients. Our team has a passion for customer service, and we’re always committed to developing lasting relationships in the communities we work in. One of the best ways of doing that is to understand the people we’re building for, and giving them what they want and need in their homes. That commitment to customer service is the cornerstone of our business.”

One of the things that their customers always want, Smith says, is quality. “There’s no substitute for excellent craftsmanship. We use only the finest building materials and we work with only the best-qualified interior designers. At the end of a project, we’re only happy if our customers are thrilled with their new home.”

The Miner’s Camp homes combine innovative design with a strong focus on comfort and relaxation – something homeowners seek at Suncadia.

They also seek big views – and the Miner’s Camp homes deliver. Each of Tamarack Springs’ 24 homes is designed to take maximum advantage of the community’s sweeping views of golf, open space, and mountain range.

And of course all the best of the Suncadia community is located just a stone’s throw from each Miner’s Camp doorstep.

It’s no wonder then, that homes in Miner’s Camp are selling quickly. Don’t miss out. Speak to a member of our sales team about opportunities to set up camp in Suncadia’s newest community.

2016 was a record-setting year for sales in the mountain resort community.


Those looking to the great outdoors to”get away from it all” had better act fast: one mountain resort town in Washington had a record-setting 2016 when it came to real estate and resort sales.

In 2016, Suncadia saw a 26 percent increase in real estate sales volume from 2015, according to a release from the resort. The resort also saw a jump in bookings, with 3,000 more guest room nights booked in 2016 than 2015. The planned community is about 80 miles east of Seattle and features more than 40 miles of hiking trails, a golf course, a winery and a 4-star-rated mountain lodge.


Since Suncadia properties became available in 2003, 928 custom homes and condominiums have been built. The community is made up of three neighborhoods, which include the Suncadia resort itself, Nelson Preserve and Tumble Creek.

There are currently 77 properties for sale at Suncadia. They range in price from $197,000 for a 450-square-foot condo to $2.05 million for a luxury home.

Scroll through the slideshow linked below to get a quick tour of Suncadia and a few of its homes.



That J.R. Staedler Construction’s new development of townhomes and single family residences has ‘village’ in its name is no accident. The new community was designed to evoke bygone days when people actually knew the people in their communities. “These days, people don’t know their neighbors. We want to change that,” says Dave Gintz of J.R. Staedler.

The doors of Talisman Village homes open onto a pedestrian-friendly common area with the feel of a shared yard or a village square. With no danger from passing cars – Talisman will forgo driveways for centralized parking – parents will be able to leave their kids to play outside, worry-free.

The village concept will inevitably turn neighbors into friends. And of course, these residents will be part of the broader Suncadia community as well. With our Swim and Fitness Center across the street and a number of other community amenities like the ice-skating rink just a short stroll away, the residents of Talisman will be well-situated to take advantage of everything Suncadia has to offer, year-round.

And did we mention the views? Talisman Village overlooks the Signature 10th hole of Prospector Golf Course, and panoramic mountain vistas beyond.

These views, paired with the community concept around which the development was designed, were what attracted J.R. Staedler Construction to the project. With many multi-million-dollar commercial developments, custom homes, additions and remodeling projects under their belt, the firm brings a well-established track record of exemplary craftsmanship to Talisman.

Does Talisman Village sound like your kind of community? Learn more here or by contacting a member of our sales team.