Business

Owners are making progress on historic downtown Bellingham building. Here’s an update

Aug. 1, 2019, update: There will now be 54 units at The Leopold Apartments and 40 units at Hotel Leo.

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Apartment units are starting to fill up and the hotel is close to being ready at the Leopold buildings in downtown Bellingham.

The conversion of a retirement facility to a 31-room hotel and a 61-unit apartment complex began earlier this year and workers have been making steady progress, said Peter Frazier, co-owner of Hotel Leo, in an email to The Bellingham Herald.

The Leopold Apartments in the nine-story building is the first to make the transition. Frazier said they’ve already had around eight people move and that leasing interest has been strong.

“We are turning apartments as fast as we can so we stay ahead of demand,” Frazier said. He added that, early on, the strongest interest is from working professionals 25-55 years old moving into the Bellingham area.

The owners are currently in talks with a group looking at the bar, restaurant and event spaces. The hotel will likely open at the end of summer, Frazier said, but they aren’t booking hotel rooms until they know exactly when they are opening. Details and updates can be found on its website thehotelleo.com.

Frazier said they’ve been busy buying new furniture and equipment, working with as many downtown businesses as possible.

Young_LeopoldLobby01.jpg
The updated lobby of the Leopold, on Friday, is part of the conversion of a retirement facility to a 31-room hotel and a 61-unit apartment complex in Bellingham. The owners of the building anticipate Hotel Leo opening by the end of summer 2019. Lacey Young The Bellingham Herald

Here’s a roundup of retail tidbits happening around Whatcom County:

A snowboard retail shop is going into the former Man Pies space at 1215 Railroad Ave. Boardworks Tech Shop is aiming for an opening at the new space on Oct. 1, according to its website. The store had been at 1012 W. Holly St., until it closed in May, according to its Facebook page.

A new bakery is setting up shop in downtown Bellingham. Kay Cake Designs is planning for an August opening at 1206 Cornwall Ave., in the former Opera bakery. According to its website, Kay Cake Designs will offer cupcakes, cookies, muffins and coffee along with cakes.

This is in addition to Saltadena, a bakery that’s expected to open at 111 W. Holly St. later this summer.

Moon Alchemy Wine had a grand opening earlier this month at 301 W. Holly St., in the Bay Street Village building. The business offers tasting flights, wines by the glass and bottles to take home, according to a company news release. Details can be found on its website or on Facebook.

Nimbus Real Estate is having a grand opening of its office in downtown Blaine. Along with being a real estate office the company also supports Wildbird Charity, which focuses on feeding hungry children through its countywide backpack program.

The grand opening celebration, with live music and food, goes from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3, at 225 G St. in Blaine. Details about the business can be found at on its website.

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Dave Gallagher has covered the Whatcom County business community since 1998. Retail, real estate, jobs and port redevelopment are among the topics he covers.
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