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Harcourt Developments, the development partner for 19 acres on Bellingham’s downtown waterfront, announced plans this week to build four large-scale projects within the next several years.
Harcourt is currently renovating the iconic Granary Building and plans to start construction on waterfront condominiums with underground parking as early as next year. Additional projects soon to follow include a “Gateway” commercial office building near the Granary building, a retirement and assisted living complex, and the potential conversion of Georgia Pacific’s former Boardmill building into a hotel and conference center. The Boardmill project would require Port Commission approval to adjust the boundary of a redevelopment area currently reserved for Western Washington University.
“Harcourt has a strong reputation for developing successful projects around the world and we are excited to see their level of commitment to Bellingham’s waterfront” said Port Executive Director Rob Fix. “The mix of uses Harcourt is proposing will create jobs, increase property values and help rebuild our waterfront economy. The Port is already seeing increased interest from the business community in expanding to the waterfront to be near an increasingly vibrant downtown core. ”
In a presentation to the Port Commission, Director of Harcourt Developments Pat Power detailed their involvement in several projects similar to Bellingham’s waterfront including the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool, England and Park West, Ireland’s largest business park. Mr. Power emphasized the importance of parks and public art to Harcourt projects as well as their experience recruiting new companies and creating jobs. “Public art is something we like to do because what we try to do is create an environment where people can live, work and play but also enjoy their surroundings. Park West is a vibrant place with over 300 companies from a standing start. There are a lot of things we can draw upon from Park West that will favor Bellingham in terms of attracting companies into the region.”
Harcourt’s long-term vision for the downtown waterfront will require an adjustment to the layout of streets and parks planned for the future. Harcourt plans to work with the Port and City to amend the waterfront Sub-Area plan beginning in April 2017 in a public process anticipated to last about a year.
The Port recently finished the environmental cleanup work necessary to support mixed-use development in the downtown waterfront. The Granary Building, as well as the first waterfront road and park, are on track to be open to the public next year.