A family with a strong track record of real estate development has purchased property on the Bellingham waterfront.
The Cohanim family of Seattle recently completed the purchase of three buildings and one undeveloped spot on Bellwether Way from Bellwether Gate LLC, which is managed by David Ebenal. The total purchase price was $30.8 million and includes the office/retail buildings at 19, 21 and 23 Bellwether Way, according to data from the Whatcom County Treasurer’s Office.
The family has developed several commercial and residential projects in the Pacific Northwest since the 1970s, according to a news release from the Port of Bellingham. One of the recent Seattle projects, led by David Cohanim, was converting the Palladian apartment building in Belltown into a 97-room hotel in late 2014.
While unavailable for comment for this article, Cohanim family members did tell the port earlier this month that they were looking forward to growing and enhancing the property.
One of the buildings they purchased was home to engineering firm CH2M Hill, which is closing that office. According to the port, the new owners are looking at different options in how to fill the space being left behind by CH2M Hill, including possibly converting the office space into residential units.
Adding residential units to Bellwether has been a topic of discussion ever since the area was being redeveloped 15 years ago. During the development of the Bellwether Gate buildings in 2009, adding residential to upper floors was considered, but it was difficult to get financing in that economic climate.
The port is open to the idea of some residential units in the area, said Shirley McFearin, the Port’s real estate director. She said having people living in the area would increase economic activity there.