Hertz planning pair of north-city projects

This rendering shows Ken Hertz’s planned Bellis Ridge condominium project, slated for a lot behind Pier 1 Imports on Guide Merdidian.

Heidi Schiller
   Ken Hertz and his wife, Kathy, owners of Blossom Management Corp., have proposed two new projects in north Bellingham.
   One is a 60-unit condo building on Meridian Street and the other is 35,000 square feet of work studios on Cordata Parkway; local architect David Christensen is designing both projects.
   The four-story condo building, called Bellis Ridge Condos, will be located behind the Pier 1 Imports store on Meridian Street and will feature 60 condo units ranging from one to three bedrooms, said Debbie Turk, marketing and property manager for Blossom Management Corp.
   “The market for this type of development will likely be empty-nesters or folks looking to be conveniently located to shopping, dining and medical services,” Turk said. “In fact, the folks that end up living in a place like the Bellis Ridge Condos won’t need to be too concerned about gas prices since everything they’d really need will be within walking distance or an easy hop on the bus.”
   The 60,000-square-foot building will include common areas for residents, including exercise facilities and meeting rooms, she said.
   The city has already approved Bellis Ridge’s concept and Hertz is waiting for the city to give him a planned development contract in order to begin building, hopefully by this fall, he said.
   Hertz’s other project, Cordata Work Studios, will be located on what is currently a vacant lot on the corner of Cordata Parkway and Stuart Road, north of the Trillium Corp. building, Turk said.
   The proposal is for a pair of two- and three-story buildings containing work studios, Turk said. The project will be similar to Hertz’s other Work Studios building, at 112 Ohio St., which has 28 small commercial spaces that lease for $1.40 per square foot, which Turk said is the only building of its kind in Bellingham.
   The Cordata Work Studios will be more high-tech than its Ohio Street counterpart, and its spaces will lease for $1.50 per square foot.
   “There isn’t a good supply of high-tech office (space) there now, and because of Cordata’s growth…surrounding communities will be able to support the type of small businesses that will benefit from a facility like work studios,” Turk said.
   The work studios concept caters to small, startup businesses and entrepreneurs, such as artists, Web designers and massage therapists who want to go a step further than working out of their homes, but who do not need large spaces or storefronts, Turk said.
   Monthly rent for the spaces includes all utilities, and the tenants share common waiting areas, restrooms and a conference room.
   “They are a great stepping stone for businesses ready to go from their infancy stage to their next professional setting,” Turk said.
   John Mortensen, owner of a video production company, Think-A-Tron, located in the Ohio Work Studios, said the size and price are unique in Bellingham and that he appreciates the building’s security, nice environment and shared community space.
   “For me, its important to have an office to legitimize my business, even though I could work from home if I wanted to,” he said.
   Sometimes the businesses work together on projects or refer customers to each other, he said.
   Colette Higgins, owner of Cloud Nine Skin Care Studio, said her $175 a month rent for her small space in Ohio Work Studios was the cheapest rent she could find in Bellingham for the nicest space.
   The Cordata Work Studios will have more spaces than Ohio Work Studios, ranging from 280 to 500 square feet.
   “This is not a big money-maker,” Turk said. “Ken and Kathy have a big affection for small businesses and artists in Bellingham. They love their tenants.”
   The project is under review at the planning department.

Cabochon to build Bakerview condos

Heidi Schiller
   Cabochon Construction and Development is revealing itself to be one of the next major development players in Bellingham after reaching an agreement with the city this month to move forward with another large condo project, in addition to its recent Cornwall Place proposal.
   The new 126-unit condo development will be located on a 10-acre parcel of land on the north side of West Bakerview Road, halfway between Northwest Road and Eliza Avenue, according to a press release.
   Cabochon discussed the unnamed project with the city for two years before agreeing on a planned development contract for the site, said planner Kathy Bell. At issue was the site’s wetlands situation, which Bell described as complex.
   The development will feature a trio of three-story buildings, each with 42 residential units and underground parking; most — and possibly all — will be marketed as condos.
   The two-and three-bedroom condos will average 1,000 square feet each, said vice president Chris Benner.
   The development will also include a commercial lot that will be built to suit the needs of its future tenant, Benner said.
   The construction will follow the company’s green design and sustainability guidelines, Benner said.
   “Multi-story structures minimize building footprints, facilitating preservation of wetlands and open space,” he said. “We’ll also use building materials with recycled content and low chemical emissions in an effort to improve indoor air quality.”
   The company expects to begin construction of the site in 2007 after receiving building permits from the city, and will also begin construction of a 30-unit condo project, The Outlook, near the intersection of Telegraph and Deemer roads this summer, according to the press release.
   Dave Christensen of Christensen Design Firm will design both projects.
   Cabochon Construction and Development, founded in 1997 by Bill Maris, submitted a pre-application plan for a 15-story condo and office building on the corner of Cornwall Avenue and Maple Street, called Cornwall Place, last month.
   In the last year, the company completed and sold approximately 150 residential units including the Cottages at Cordata, Lincoln Creek Condominiums and Bedford Homes projects, Benner said.


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