Work has begun on a big residential project that will occupy a key corner of Fairhaven.
Crews from Bellingham’s Ram Construction recently began digging out the area on the corner of 12th Street and Harris Avenue, formerly home to a gas station. It’s the start of the Fairhaven Tower project, a five-story building with 35 apartments and some retail space on the ground floor.
The start of construction has come after some delays. It was scheduled to begin last spring, but there were some unforeseen issues with permitting timelines, said Travis Black of Alliance Properties in an email. Alliance Properties is the developer of Fairhaven Tower.
Now that the groundwork has started, the intention is to continue directly into constructing the building. It should take about 18 months to complete, Black said.
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This project has been a long time coming for Alliance Properties, which was founded by Travis Black’s father, Ralph. Part of the property was purchased in 2008 with the idea of recreating the Fairhaven Hotel. That hotel was the centerpiece of Fairhaven when it opened in 1890. It was demolished in 1956, nearly three years after it was heavily damaged by fire.
Market demand has led to changes to this current project, and while it will no longer be a hotel, the Black family planned the current design to pay respect to the previous structure. Designed by Bellingham’s Zervas Group, Fairhaven Tower will have similar exterior features as well as a clock tower that is 93 feet above the ground.
“It (Fairhaven Tower) has become more of a legacy project for the family and we want to do it well,” Ralph Black said in a February 2018 interview.