A new hotel is expected to bring even more evening activity into downtown Bellingham

A new downtown hotel is taking reservations for a Friday, Nov. 1, opening.

The Hotel Leo is split between the wing that was built in 1968 and the adjoining brick tower built in 1929 at 1224 Cornwall Ave. In total there are 40 hotel rooms, 31 of which are in the 1968 building. The tower has nine hotel rooms and is also home to 52 residential units called The Leopold Apartments. That makes it the first mixed residential and hotel property in Bellingham, something that is happening more often in other larger cities, said Peter Frazier, Hotel Leo’s managing partner.

According to its website, most rooms in November are in the $160- $220 a night range, with the water view grand full kitchen room going for $279 a night.

The location of this latest hotel is a big deal, said Sandy Ward, president and CEO of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism.

“We’ve been saying all along that we need a hotel like this in downtown Bellingham,” Ward said, adding that having visitors there will drive activity in the district, especially at night. “It’ll be great for the restaurants, shops and Mt. Baker Theatre.”

Hotel guests and apartment residents will share use of a fitness facility that spans several rooms, a lounge/library and the Clark Gable Theater, which will have a rotation of films. Hotel Leo will host weddings and parties with its ground-floor event spaces.

The Hotel Leo, 1224 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham, Wash., is taking reservations for its anticipated Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, opening. The hotel will share several facilities with the Leopold Apartments. Warren Sterling The Bellingham Herald

In some ways, it’s a return to the past for this property. In 1889 it was the site of the original Byron Hotel. Most recently the property was used as a retirement community.

The studio and one-bedroom hotel rooms were designed with furnishings from many local businesses, including the Greenhouse, Ideal, Mt. Baker Plywood and Judd & Black. Some of them have kitchenettes., offering Le Cruset cookware.

Frazier, his wife, Aimee and developer Bob Hall are the owners of the hotel. The Fraziers were part of a team that designed and developed Bellingham’s Heliotrope Hotel in 2016. Jamie Verkist is general manager of both hotels.

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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.