Marriott to be largest hotel in county


The new Marriott hotel proposed for Northwest Avenue would be the largest in the county with 204 rooms and parking for 204 vehicles. Site plan courtesy of the city of Bellingham.


The Lynnwood-based 360 Hotel Group has applied for planned-development and State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) permits to construct a five-story, wood-frame, 204-room hotel on Northwest Avenue.

The hotel would include a total of 125,479 square feet above a 37,629-square-foot basement parking garage and be located at 4034 Northwest Ave., which is on the right side of the street approaching W. Bakerview Road.

The proposed hotel’s 204 rooms would put it just larger than the Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, which has 194 rooms, to become Whatcom County’s largest hotel.

According to the developer’s application, only 2.61 acres of the 3.81-acre site would be developed and the rest would remain wetlands and associated buffers. The property also has an existing single-family house that would have to be demolished.

The hotel would have two wings: one wing called SpringHill Suites and another called TownPlace Suites, which are both Marriott brands, but they each have small differences in layout and room size.

In 2006, Idaho-based Charter Builders and D’LaShaye Development owned the property and had planned-development and design-review permits for the proposed Admiralty Place, which was to include a 14-story retail, office and residential building, an 11-story office and residential building, and a two-story retail and office building.

In January 2008, The Bellingham Business Journal reported that Charter Builders and D’LaShaye Development sold the property to Idaho Mutual Trust.

According to recent county property records, Idaho Mutual Trust sold the property on May 1 to Bellingham 1, an LLC that links back to 360 Hotel Group, for $2.45 million.

Shaiza Damji, managing director for 360 Hotel Group, said her company has been working on the proposed hotel for the past year and she is excited about the project’s potential.

“We think it is a terrific site and it (the hotel) will be a great amenity for the community,” Damji said.

While the 360 Hotel Group has private and corporate hotels in Lynnwood, Everett, Seattle and Mukilteo, this will be the company’s first hotel in Bellingham.

“We are really excited about being and working in Bellingham. We are very community-oriented in every city we work in,” Damji said.

Chris Comeau, transportation planner for the Bellingham public works department, said the proposed hotel would draw approximately 130 additional vehicle trips during the average weekday peak traffic hours between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

To mitigate these effects, developers are dedicating a 10-foot-wide right-of-way, which would extend the right-turn lane at the Bakerview-Northwest intersection south in front of the property. This would allow for more traffic to make a right turn more efficiently and free up more capacity for vehicles going north or turning west at the intersection, Comeau said.

Comeau also said these frontage improvements would be happening concurrently with a city project that will resurface and add bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and a single-lane roundabout on Northwest Avenue between I-5 and W. Bakerview Road this summer.

“It would be best for everyone involved if all of those components were constructed at the same time,” Comeau said.

Damji said her company is currently working on getting all the proper permits in order and they do not have a firm date for when construction would begin.

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