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More apartments in the pipeline as Bellingham deals with rental crunch

Construction crews work on the 145-unit Gather Bellingham on North Forest Street in January. Several proposed projects for additional housing units from different developers are in the works.
Construction crews work on the 145-unit Gather Bellingham on North Forest Street in January. Several proposed projects for additional housing units from different developers are in the works. eabell@bhamherald.com

More residential projects are on the way as the developers continue to address the shortage of rental units:

▪  An application was recently submitted to build 70 residential units at 126 Ashley St., near the Lincoln Creek Park & Ride in the Samish neighborhood. The two multistory buildings will have 30 studio, 30 two-bedroom and 10 three-bedroom units, according to the application. Improvements such as sidewalks and street widening to both Ashley Street and Byron Avenue are in the proposal. Written comments and requests for information can be sent to City Planner Kathy Bell at kbell@cob.org or by calling 360-778-8347.

▪  There will be a public meeting for a new residential project at 1314 Old Fairhaven Pkwy. The proposed building will have six three-bedroom townhomes with attached single car garages. The meeting will be at 6 p.m. in the Fairhaven Pavilion in Fairhaven Park on June 27.

▪  An application was submitted for a three-story mixed-use building at 525 Telegraph Road, near The Home Depot. The first floor will have commercial space while the other floors will have 14 residential units. Improvements including road widening, curbs, gutters landscaping and sidewalk work will be done on Telegraph Road in front of the project. Written comments and requests for information can be sent by email to City Planner Brian Smart at bsmart@cob.org.

▪  Two five-unit residential projects are being proposed at 2417 and 2427 Valencia St. The project involves keeping a single family home and adding two new duplexes on each lot. There will be a public meeting at 6 p.m. on June 28 at the downtown Bellingham Public Library to introduce the project to the community. For information about the meeting, call Ali Taysi of AVT Consulting at 360-527-9445.

These latest projects add to what’s already been a busy year for residential construction in Bellingham. Through May the city has approved permits for 192 apartment or condominium units, which is closing in on last year’s total of 232 units. The highest total of permit approvals in recent years was 424 units in 2015.

Bellingham residents discuss the high cost of housing at a Bellingham City Council town hall meeting Tuesday, June 13, 2017, at Bellingham High School.

With apartment vacancies remaining low in recent years, rents have steadily risen. According to the online real estate website Zillow, the median rent in April was $1,531 a month in Bellingham, up 4.8 percent compared to a year ago.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

Annexation proposal in the works

There is a proposal to annex 65 acres into Bellingham.

The proposed area is around 1323 Mount Baker Hwy. Water and sewer services were previously approved when the subdivisions were developed with the condition the area would annex into Bellingham at a future date, according to the public meeting notice. The 92 existing housing units have an estimated 208 people, according to the notice. The area has a development potential to add around 167 housing units and 377 people.

B&C Management, which owns the property at 1323 Mount Baker Hwy., is taking the initial steps in the process by hosting a public meeting at 7 p.m. on July 6 at the North Whatcom Fire District 4, 4142 Britton Loop Road. For questions about the meeting, contact Bill Geyer of Geyer & Associates at 360-224-6317 or bill@billgeyer.com.

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