Bellingham: ‘A vibrant community to come live, work and play’
A major housing project is being proposed on a piece of property that has had a tough time being permitted in the past.
Developer Morgan Bartlett is proposing a residential apartment building at 4413 Consolidation Ave. The site is an undeveloped area of the Puget neighborhood overlooking the Lincoln Creek Park & Ride and Interstate 5. The proposal, called CityView, calls for with one multi-story building with 408 bedrooms in 136 units. It is planning to have 395 parking spaces.
Six years ago a student housing development called University Ridge was in the planning stages for that property. That project proposed having 576 beds in four buildings. The applicant, Ambling University Development, had a variance request denied by the Whatcom County Hearing Examiner in late 2013. It was a controversial project at the time, with the city receiving hundreds of comments from residents who raised many concerns, including traffic and how the building would be out-of-character in terms of size and impact with the nearby single-family neighborhood.
In an email Bartlett said he studied the previous proposal at length before coming up with the current plan:
▪ His proposal has more parking spaces than the city requires in order to avoid any overflow parking on nearby streets.
▪ The building design plans would minimize noise impacts and car headlights, he said.
▪ He also noted that with one building instead of University Ridge’s proposed four, it would mean less land disturbance in critical slope areas of the property.
Bartlett also said he intends to rent the units out to anyone who passes the tenant screening process, so it will not necessarily be a place for college students. He noted that the project could help ease the lack of available apartment units. Last fall the apartment vacancy rate was under 1%, according to a survey done by the Runstad Department of Real Estate at the University of Washington.
Bartlett operates Madrona Bay Real Estate Investments, which has developed a variety of projects, including Bakerview Square. It also plans CityScape, a proposed apartment complex on Bakerview Road near Costco. CityScape would have 426 apartment units.
A public meeting to introduce the project is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, July 8, at Carl Cozier Elementary School at 1330 Lincoln St. Bartlett will attend the meeting to listen to concerns and said he’d be open to further ideas to minimize or mitigate impacts to existing neighbors.