Downtown Bellingham is about to get 15,000 square feet of new retail space, but in a way that harkens back to the past.
With The Bellingham Herald staff moving to the second floor, Herald Building owner Bob Hall will have plenty of options when it comes to filling the street-level spaces. His plan is to convert the floor into six retail spaces, restoring much of the North State Street side of the first floor back to the way it was when the building first opened in 1926.
It'll mean quite a bit of remodeling work for Hall's company, Daylight Properties, but that's something he's used to doing, having restored several other buildings in Bellingham's downtown core.
"This will take years to complete," said Hall, adding that he views it as an opportunity to add retail to a part of North State Street that has few vacant spaces. Hall's other properties on the North State Street and Holly Street corridors have attracted interest from people looking for retail space.
"I think it's a healthy market right now," said Hall, referring to downtown retail.
Hall expects the newsroom area, which is in the center section of the first floor facing North State Street, to be available first. The fact it already has a fire sprinkler system in place in a concrete building could make it possible for a bar or music entertainment venue.
Since buying the building in 2009, Hall said Daylight has been filling the upper floors with new tenants. Once known for its medical and dental offices, recent new tenants include a computer software company and a call center.
Along with converting the first floor to commercial spaces, Hall is considering putting awnings on the North State Street side of the building, something that the building also once had in place.
What was formerly known as City Grill on 1319 Cornwall Ave. has a new name to go along with its new menu. It's now called Dragon River Chinese Cuisine, featuring a menu that focuses on items from northeastern China.
A tenant improvement permit was filed for 117 N. Samish Way (at the old Arby's restaurant) to convert the building into a nail salon called Happy Nails.
A permit was filed for the 400 block of West Stuart Road (near Cordata Parkway), to put in a foundation in preparation for a new two-story commercial building.
At 1926 James St. (near the Iowa Street intersection), plans are under way to demolish four houses to make way for a 6,446-square-foot AutoZone car parts store.
At 4781 Meridian St. (at the Horton Road intersection, north of Walmart), a tenant improvement permit was issued for a new store called Pacific Northwest Motorcycles.
A liquor license application was filed for the new restaurant at 1263 Barkley Blvd. (across Barkley from Lowe's Home Improvement) called Taqueria Tecalitlan. Applicants are Nancy Carrillo and Victor Garay.
Jack in the Box continues to remain active in Whatcom County. Earlier this year it filed a site plan in Ferndale for a spot near the Haggen store on Main Street. In the past few years the company has opened restaurants on Bakerview Road and in Birch Bay Square.
Ciao Thyme, known for its catering and its traveling dinner series, announced plans on Facebook to open a café in its Unity Street facility. The plan is to have the café ready later this year, starting with a lunch menu.
Downtown Bellingham retailers are getting ready for the annual summer sidewalk sale, which takes place July 13-15. Details can be found online at downtownbellingham.com.
Retail Tip Sheet runs each Sunday.
Reach DAVE GALLAGHER at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2269. Visit his business blog online at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/business or get updates on Twitter at twitter.com/BhamHeraldBiz.