Can’t find a place to rent? Help may be on the way


Apartment buildings are popping up all over the city, with more on the way.

The reason? Demand remains very high. Many apartments are snatched up within minutes of being listed as available.

In a recent report, the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington said the apartment vacancy rate this spring in Whatcom County was 0.8 percent. That’s an improvement compared with September 2015, when the vacancy rate was estimated at 0.2 percent.

In March 2015, the vacancy rate was 0.6 percent. By comparison, the statewide rate in March was 3 percent, according to the study.

A couple of student housing projects are underway that could help alleviate some of the apartment shortage. The Gather Bellingham project on North Forest Street will be a 145-unit, 423-bed facility that is expected to be ready by fall 2017. The North by Northwest facility on Lincoln Street near Fred Meyer will have 248 units and house up to 648 students, and is expected to be ready this fall.

Here’s a roundup of some of the bigger projects in the planning process:

▪ Public comments are being taken for a project at 425 W. Stuart Road, in the Cordata neighborhood. Plans call for the development of 88 residential units in a four-story building with parking and outdoor gathering areas on a 5-acre site. The full application is available in the Permit Center at City Hall. Comments can be sent to city planner Kathy Bell at kbell@cob.org or by calling 360-778-8347. Comments are due Thursday, July 7.

▪ Public comments also are being accepted for an 83-unit apartment building project at 775 Telegraph Road, near Home Depot. The building will be four stories, and the project will include 123 parking stalls, landscaping and private storage buildings. The full application is available in the Permit Center at City Hall. Comments can be sent to city planner Brian Smart at bsmart@cob.org or by calling 360-778-8355. Comments are due Monday, July 11.

▪ Building permits were submitted for what’s being called the Eleanor Apartments at 1510 N. Forest St., on the former Wilson Motors property. The project includes 80 one-bedroom apartments serving low-income seniors by Mercy Housing Northwest, with Dawson Construction as the contractor.

▪ Building permits were submitted for a 36-unit apartment building at 515 Telegraph Road, near Home Depot.

▪ Building permits were submitted for a 39-unit apartment building at 1300 McKenzie Ave., near the Fairhaven Haggen store. This project will include 20 parking spaces under the building.

▪ Permits were submitted for a 14-unit apartment building at 1117 N. Garden St. It will have 25 parking spaces near the alley in that area.

▪ A nine-unit apartment at 904 E. Chestnut St. is also in the building permit process.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz