It was only a matter of time, said local developer Charly Myers, before Bellingham’s building boom found its way into the Lettered Streets.
Now, Myers, owner of Myers General Inc., a builder of many neighborhood homes around town, could be among the first to develop in the area.
Myers General is currently in the process of purchasing the former Buck’s Texaco site at 1315 Dupont St. Within the next year or so, Myers, a 1986 Bellingham High School grad who grew up in the neighboring Columbia neighborhood, would like to begin construction of a mixed-use building at the site.
“It feels good to see some interest starting to occur in the Lettered Streets,” Myers said. “It’s got a nice diversity of buildings, but in the last 20 to 30 years nothing’s really happened there. I guess, with the building cycle, builders and business owners migrate, and now they’re migrating to the Lettered Streets and Old Town area.”
Myers said he envisions constructing a three- or four-story building on the site and plans to hire an architect in the next few weeks.
The bottom floors would likely each have around 4,500 square feet of office space and the top floor would have about 4,500 square feet for condominiums, possibly a four-plex.
Myers, who hoped to finalize the purchase from longtime property owner Buck Edwards by the end of last month, has hit a bit of a snag, however.
In doing remediation work on the site, where a gas station had been located since around the 1930s, Edwards said, Whatcom Environmental Services recently discovered four gas tanks no one previously knew were there. The discovery will likely lengthen the environmental cleanup process by a couple of months.
Edwards has hired an attorney to attempt to get Chevron or Texaco to aid in the cleanup but has yet to hear from company officials about that proposal.
A Whatcom Environmental Services official this week said the company is also doing remediation work at nearby 1415 Dupont St., but did not have any further information about the environmental health of the property.
Despite the setback, Myers is still enthusiastic about the project.
He said his building, which will be located across from the Bellingham School District’s headquarters at 1306 Dupont St., and near the brick Broadway fire station, will have a “traditional” design to complement its surroundings.
Edwards, 65, who had owned the gas station since 1980 and leased it since 1965, said he closed his business, in part, due to health issues, and believes Myers’ building will be successful.
“(Myers) said, ‘Wait 10 years and this whole area will be completely different,’” Edwards said. “He said, ‘In 10 years it will all be office buildings.’”