By BBJ Staff
The historic Leopold Hotel building in downtown Bellingham is turning into a hotel and apartments this summer.
The Leopold Apartments will have 61 units and include studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, according to a press release. The 31-room Hotel Leo will share the building at 1224 Cornwall Ave. The apartments will be leased through Daylight Properties, beginning June 1. Reservations for hotel rooms will be accepted beginning May 1. The hotel is expected to open July 1.
Aimee and Peter Frazier, as well as Bob Hall, are co-owners of the hotel. The Fraziers and Hall are also part of the team that renovated the former Lion’s Inn Hotel on Elm Street in Bellingham and relaunched it as the Heliotrope Hotel in 2016. Jamie Verkist is manager of both hotels.
The apartments will be on the nine-floor tower originally built in 1929. The hotel will be in the three-story motor inn added on to the building in 1959. Peter Frazier and Michelle Banks of Bellingham’s Spiral Studios are designing the hotel rooms. Another tenant will bring a restaurant, bar and event venue to the building’s ground floor. The name of that tenant was not released.
Previously, the Leopold had served as a retirement community for senior citizens. In December, the Bellingham Herald reported that The Leopold Retirement Residence would cease operations and its 79 residents would be relocated. The last resident moved out in March. The owners cited rising costs and increasing vacancy as reasons for closing the retirement community.
The building is the site of what was originally the Byron Hotel in 1889. Leopold F. Schmidt purchased it in 1910. The current tower was built in 1929. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.