Businesses and residents move in to Fairhaven's South Bay Suites

Gene and Connie Shannon, owners of Fairhaven Village Inn, parked their dumpster on the lot across the street from their hotel for 10 years before deciding it was one of “the most expensive garbage dumpster sites in the state.”

They acquired the lot in downtown Fairhaven as part of the purchase agreement of the Fairhaven Village Inn.

After considering their options (and moving their dumpster) they decided to build on the lot. Construction started in October 2013 on a four-story mixed-use building, which RMC Architects designed and Wellman and Zuck General Contractors built. In May 2015, businesses and residents began moving into their new building, the South Bay Suites, at 1140 10th St.

Two of six commercial spaces on the building’s first floor are already leased. OVN Wood-Fired Pizza (pronounced “oven”) moved into the South Bay Suites’ northeast corner and the owners are working on getting the restaurant ready for an August opening, said owner Matt Brawner.

The building’s other first floor commercial tenant is a clothing, housewares, gifts and accessory shop called 1 Paperboat, which will be in the south side of the building at the corner of 10th Street and Mill Avenue. Owners Royal and Diane Reinsch hope to open around the first of July. The Reinsch’s have 32 years of retail experience, mostly with a similar store they owned in Mill Creek called Belle Provence, they said in an email. They closed Belle Provence in April.

1 Paperboat will focus on “gifts, home goods and apparel with a decidedly relaxed coastal/lake/beachy/nautical feel,” they said. They plan to carry Brighton brand handbags, gifts and jewelry, as well as handblown candle holders from Glassybaby, a Seattle-based company.

Both the Reinsch’s and Brawner said they were attracted to Fairhaven before the building opened.

Several other retailers have looked at the building’s first floor and Connie Shannon said she expects more interest now that it’s finished.

“It really takes a visionary to have the stamina to move their business into a building that’s not yet completed,” she said.

The second floor has 22 offices. Current tenants include Pavlosky Accounting and Kerstin Martin, a web designer. Offices are separated into pods and tenants can lease either a single office or a whole pod, Shannon said.

Evidently the market for apartments in Fairhaven is tight, Shannon said, because the building’s apartments, which take up the third and fourth floors, have all been leased since October 2014.

The third floor has seven units ranging in size from 825 square feet to about 1,700 square feet and the top floor has four apartments ranging from 1,340 square feet to 2,590 square feet.

The Shannon’s moved into an apartment on the top floor. Beneath the building, a parking garage has 18 parking spaces for apartment tenants and nearby the Shannon’s built a more cost-effective spot for their dumpster.

Oliver Lazenby, associate editor of The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or olazenby@bbjtoday.com

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