Development authority selects executive director

The Bellingham Business Journal

The Bellingham Public Development Authority (BPDA)  board of directors announced Tuesday, Sept. 1, that it has selected its first executive director.

The board has selected James R. Long, currently managing partner of TerraFirma Development Company  LLC of Boulder, Colo. Long has had a distinguished career in real estate development in Atlanta and Denver for more than 30 years.

The BPDA, a separate public corporation created by the City of Bellingham in July 2008 to focus efforts toward achieving sustainable redevelopment of City-owned properties, delayed hiring an executive director until the final quarter of 2009, due in part to a $150,000 budget reduction in 2009, and has relied on City staff for preliminary work on formation of the authority. The authority has now reached a point where it requires the expertise and services of an experienced real estate, property management and economic development professional to lead its redevelopment efforts.

As developer of Interlocken in Colorado, Long played a leading role in mobilizing public and private resources (both human and financial), which resulted in a  highly successful and vibrant mixed-use  development covering almost 1,000 acres in the Denver-Boulder Corridor, supported by significant regional infrastructure projects developed in public-private ventures. Ultimately, 4.4 million square feet of commercial, retail and industrial properties were developed on that property, bringing 8,500 new jobs to the community. In coordination with state and local governments, Long was able to attract new tenants and corporations to the project. These new tenants and corporations then served as partners in creating economic vitality for the region.

Long has  been described as a self-motivated individual who values well-planned place-making projects providing the community with a legacy of responsible development.  As one reference stated, Long’s legacy is “quality development projects and programs which provide communities with sustainable growth.”

In his application materials, Long said he “is not satisfied with just the profit side of development but firmly believes that if he can help shape  and contribute to the long term well-being of his community, that he will have fulfilled his primary professional mission.”

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