Plans nixed to build off-campus housing for WWU students in Bellingham

A developer will not build a proposed 216-unit apartment complex for Western Washington University students south of the Lakeway Fred Meyer.

Campus Crest Communities announced Thursday, Nov. 20, that it is selling the 15-acre site along Interstate 5, west of Lincoln Street, as it seeks to improve its financial outlook.

Campus Crest announced last year it would build The Grove at Bellingham on what is now a 15-acre wooded lot. The developer was taking applications for leases for the 2015-16 school year before announcing on Nov. 4 it would cease development as part of a business reorganization.

The Nov. 4 announcement left open the possibility that Campus Crest would eventually build the apartments. Then came the developer’s announcement that it would sell the site.

The North Carolina-based company is looking for a quick turnaround on the property. A statement issued Thursday by Campus Crest said it would accept offers on the Bellingham property, and eight other properties around the U.S., until Dec. 3. Campus Crest would give preference to buyers who could close the deal by Feb. 13, 2015, the statement said.

Land that has already been cleared along Lincoln Street, just east of the apartment site, is under development as a retail center. Roughly 25,000 square feet of commercial space will be available in multiple buildings, said Jason Loeb, the Windemere real estate agent who is brokering the retail portion of the property owned by Bellingham developer Derek Stebner.

Loeb said he was not concerned that the retail might be less attractive to potential buyers because the apartments fell through.

“It’s obvious that somebody’s going to build these apartments,” Loeb said. “It’s a prime site. There’s just not that many good sites in Bellingham (for student housing).”