Residential buildings in Bellingham’s waterfront district one step closer to reality

The Port of Bellingham and Harcourt are moving forward with plans to build the first residential buildings on the former GP waterfront property.

Port commissioners voted 2-1 Tuesday to allow plans to move forward for three residential buildings next to the Whatcom Waterway, near the restored Granary Building.

The $32 million project calls for three buildings that would have 70 residential units, underground parking, 26,000 square feet of commercial space and 15,000 square feet of public open space. This is also a step toward eventually selling 1.7 acres acres of property to Harcourt for this development. Dublin, Ireland-based Harcourt is the developer of this portion of the waterfront district.

The project plans now go to the City of Bellingham for design review and the building permit process. The proposed schedule has building permits being submitted to the city by July and construction beginning in August. The scheduled completion date is October 2019, according to documents submitted to the Port.

Commissioner Michael Shepard voted against the plan. He requested that the vote be delayed two weeks until the next Port Commission meeting.

During Tuesday’s meeting Shepard said he wanted to study the plans further to make sure what Harcourt was proposing was “consistent with our expectations.”

Commissioners Ken Bell and Bobby Briscoe were in favor of moving forward, with both noting that there has been enough delays. They also pointed out that the city has its design review process and a public comment period for residents to weigh in.

“I don’t believe Harcourt isn’t going to build something that the public won’t snap up,” Bell said.

The sale of the 1.7 acres to Harcourt is expected to take place in the next couple of months, said Mike Hogan, spokesman for the Port of Bellingham. The Port is currently in the process of finalizing the purchase and sale documents.

This residential project follows several other projects that are underway at the waterfront district, including the remodel of the Granary Building, the construction of Waypoint Park and the two main roads. The park is expected to be completed this spring, while Granary Avenue and Laurel Street is expected to be finished this fall.

Renovations of the Granary Building are nearly complete.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

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