Several empty buildings filling up in Whatcom County


Carpet Liquidators

The future home of Carpet Liquidators at 4160 Meridian Street in Bellingham on August 5, 2013.


Filling up longtime vacant buildings appeared to be the theme in July from an economic activity standpoint.

With the announcement of Carpet Liquidators going into the former Good Guys building and Sears Hometown going into half of the former Michaels craft store space near Cornwall Park, Bellingham can cross two more significant spaces off the vacant list.

Add in the re-opening of Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, the opening of WinCo in the former Joe's Sporting Goods building in Bellingham, and the opening of the Loft Restaurant in the old Bayside Café space, and it looks like this summer is turning into a good season for revitalizing/reusing old buildings. In the not-vacant-long category, Sports Authority was able to open its store in the former Sears space at Bellis Fair earlier this month, seven months after Sears closed.

Significant local business events that took place in July and early August:

• Larry and Toni Clark announced that they were going to retire to spend more time with family and friends, closing Bakerview Nursery & Garden Center on Monday, Sept. 30. It will end 42 years of business for the popular nursery.

• Logos Bible Software CEO Bob Pritchett has talked to city staff about building an 18-story, mixed-use building on the corner of Commercial and West Magnolia streets, near the Mount Baker Theatre. Next to the building would be a parking garage that the city would construct in what Pritchett is proposing as a private-public partnership. Pritchett stressed that the proposal is in the preliminary phase.

• Taco Bell is making plans to return to Sunset Square after a two-year hiatus. The company submitted building permit plans to the city on Friday, July 19 to build its own restaurant with a drive-through at the southeast corner of the shopping center, on the corner of East Sunset Drive and Orleans Street.

• A local boat manufacturer will receive a nearly $1 million federal grant that could mean expansion and additional jobs. All American Marine will receive $999,100 from the U.S. Maritime Administration's Small Shipyard Grant Program, according to a news release from U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett.

• The Port of Bellingham will be able to draw on local, regional and international perspectives as it begins the process of selecting a developer for The Waterfront District. Port of Bellingham staff presented eight different proposals at the port commissioners' meeting Tuesday, July 16. The proposals were focused on the first phase, a 10.8-acre parcel around the Granary building. Three of those eight proposals were for the overall project; three were for the Granary building and two were for specific buildings.

Whatcom County quarterly retail sales

Q1 2013: $757.1 million

Q4 2012: $891.5 million

Q1 2012: $716.1 million

Quarterly change: down 15.1 percent

Year-over-year change: up 5.7 percent

Seven-year quarterly high: $891.5 million, fourth quarter, 2007

Seven-year quarterly low: $624.4 million, first quarter 2009

Whatcom County bankruptcies

June 2013: 39

May 2013: 38

June 2012: 48

Monthly change: up 2.6 percent

Year-over-year change: down 18.8 percent

Seven-year monthly high: 83, February 2010

Seven-year monthly low: 11, February 2006

Whatcom County new auto sales

June 2013: 318

May 2013: 411

June 2012: 326

Monthly change: down 22.6 percent

Year-over-year change: down 2.5 percent

Seven-year monthly high: 553, May 2006

Seven-year monthly low: 140, December 2008

Whatcom County residential sales

July 2013: 323

June 2013: 275

July 2012: 224

Monthly change: up 17.5 percent

Year-over-year change: up 44.2 percent

Seven-year monthly high: 398, August 2007

Seven-year monthly low: 104, February 2009

Unincorporated Whatcom County building permit values

June 2013: $16.3 million

May 2013: $10.1 million

June 2012: $8 million

Monthly change: up 61.4 percent

Year-over-year change: up 103.8 percent

Six-year monthly high: $65.3 million, July 2011

Six-year monthly low: $2.6 million, January 2012

Whatcom County foreclosures

June 2013: 25

May 2013: 45

June 2012: 35

Monthly change: down 44.4 percent

Year-over-year change: down 28.6 percent

Seven-year monthly high: 153, April 2009

Seven-year monthly low: 17, September 2007

Median price of homes sold in Whatcom County

July 2013: $252,000

June 2013: $248,000

July 2012: $254,800

Monthly change: up 1.6 percent

Year-over-year change: down 1.1 percent

Seven-year monthly high: $280,450, May 2007

Seven-year monthly low: $208,000, November 2011

Whatcom homes newly listed for sale

July 2013: 511

June 2013: 487

July 2012: 399

Monthly change: up 4.9 percent

Year-over-year change: up 28.1 percent

Seven-year monthly high: 707, May 2007

Seven-year monthly low: 131, December 2011

Bellingham airport traffic

June 2013: 52,884

May 2013: 54,712

June 2012: 49,573

Monthly change: down 3.3 percent

Year-over-year change: up 6.7 percent.

Seven-year monthly high: 61,402, March 2013

Seven-year monthly low: 12,597, September 2010

Canadian dollar

End of July 2013: 98 cents

End of June 2013: 95 cents

End of July 2012: $1 cents

Seven-year high: $1.07, November 2007

Seven-year low: 77 cents, March 2009

Southbound Canadian border crossings into Whatcom County

May 2013: 1,371,393

April 2013: 1,235,033

May 2012: 1,317,092

Monthly change: up 11 percent

Year-over-year change: up 4.1 percent

Seven-year monthly high: 1,676,071 August 2012

Seven-year monthly low: 645,792 October 2006

Bellingham building permit values

July 2013: $8.8 million

June 2013: $16.4 million

July 2012: $44.8 million

Monthly change: down 46.3 percent

Year-over-year change: down 80.4 percent

Seven-year monthly high: $47.3 million, December 2009

Seven-year monthly low: $1.1 million, November 2008

Ferndale building permit values

July 2013: $6.9 million

June 2013: $3.7 million

July 2012: $2.7 million

Monthly change: up 86.5 percent

Year-over-year change: up 156 percent

Six-year monthly high: $12.9 million, July 2007

Six-year monthly low: $0.2 million, January 2009

Whatcom County construction jobs

June 2013: 6,400

May 2013: 6,300

June 2012: 5,800

Monthly change: up 1.6 percent

Year-over-year change: up 10.3 percent

Seven-year monthly high: 8,600, September 2006

Seven-year monthly low: 4,900, January 2013

Whatcom County unemployment

Whatcom June 2013: 7.5 percent

Whatcom May 2013 (revised): 7.1 percent

Whatcom June 2012: 7.5 percent

State June 2013 (seasonably adjusted): 6.8 percent

Nation June 2013 (seasonably adjusted): 7.6 percent.

Seven-year monthly high: 10.4 percent, February 2010

Seven-year monthly low: 3.7 percent, October 2007

Sources: Washington State Department of Revenue; U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Washington; Cross-Sell; Washington State Department of Licensing; Northwest Multiple Listing Service; Whatcom County Planning and Development Services; Bank of Canada; Port of Bellingham; RealtyTrac; Center For Economics and Business Research, Western Washington University; City of Bellingham; Washington State Employment Security Department.

Market Report runs each month.

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or Read his Business Blog at or follow him on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.

Bellingham Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service