Bellingham apartments for WWU students move forward

A new owner has breathed life into a dormant college-student housing project off Lincoln Street.

CA Student Living applied for building permits Friday, June 12, for seven buildings in what is planned as a 13-unit complex, according to city planner Kathy Bell. The complex would include a clubhouse and 248 units for 648 students.

The Chicago-based developer acquired a portion of the student-housing site in January from Campus Crest Communities. The new owner paid $2.5 million for 9.27 acres on the western half of the undeveloped strip between Interstate 5 and Lincoln, south of the Lakeway Fred Meyer, according to Whatcom County assessor’s records. Campus Crest in the fall canceled plans to build student apartments there.

The city plans to complete its reviews of the seven building permit applications by July 10. After that, it would be up to the developer to decide when it is ready to pay the permit fees and break ground, Bell said.

A representative with CA Student Living did not respond to emailed questions, including when construction would begin and when the apartments would be available. Plans refer to the development as Viking Circle Apartments.

The project would cater to Western Washington University students but is not affiliated with the school.

If the developer follows the same anticipated timetable it has in Fort Collins, Colo., students in Bellingham could move in for the start of classes in fall 2016. The company, a subsidiary of CA Ventures, purchased a property in February outside Colorado State University, with plans to open next year, according to StudentHousingBusiness.com.

The website says the Colorado apartments would go for market rate. The developer also has a building close to the University of Washington in Seattle. One type of two-bedroom went for $814 per person per month there.

Apartments at CA Student Living projects are fully furnished. The Seattle apartments have a washer and dryer, dishwasher, 42-inch flat-screen television, Wi-Fi and cable.

The eastern half of the property along Lincoln Street is set for commercial development. One building permit was approved in August 2014 for a single-story commercial space on the northeast corner of the property. Construction hasn’t begun yet, but the future building has been on the market, seeking tenants.

Reach Ralph Schwartz at 360-715-2289 or ralph.schwartz@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Politics Blog at bellinghamherald.com/politics-blog and follow him on Twitter at @BhamPolitics.