Port hires new planning director

    The Port of Bellingham last month announced the hiring of Sylvia Goodwin as Port Planning and Development Director.
    Goodwin, currently Whatcom County’s Planning Division Manager, will begin her new position April 19.
The Planning and Development Director job is a new position at the Port. In the past, the position was combined with the Real Estate Director position. Earlier this year, when the Port acquired the 137-acre Georgia-Pacific site, the roles were split into two positions to address additional projects. Goodwin will be responsible for developing long-range plans for the Port’s 1,600 acres of property.
    Goodwin has worked for Whatcom County since 1997 and before that worked as the Community Development Director for the City of Blaine. She also spent more than 10 years as a planner in Alaska. She has a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from the University of Washington and is a member of the American Planning Association and American Institute of Certified Planners.
    In 1995, Goodwin was chosen as the Blaine Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year.

Clothing company snares former Apogee building
    Westcoast Contempo USA, also known as Mac and Jac , has signed a lease to use 48,500 square feet of the former Apogee building as a distribution center. The company is a wholesale retailer of men’s and women’s clothes.
    The former Apogee building is located at 3710 Irongate and has 51,000 square feet of space. Realtor Troy Muljat said the company had signed a lease and was planning to use the site as a U.S. distribution center and is expected to be in the Bellingham location in June.
The listing agent, Jim Bjerke of Pacific Continental Realty, would not confirm this bit of news, but did say there was a deal in progress at the location. A call to Mac and Jac’s Vancouver B.C. office was not immediately returned. Mac and Jac was founded in 1996 and has several clothing lines, including XOXO and Bisou Bisou.
    The building had been empty for about two years.

Local developer makes two major purchases
    Bellingham developer Bob Hall has purchased Chateau St. Helens in Chehalis, formerly known as the St. Helens Inn, for $1.4 million and the Mottman Building in downtown Olympia for $2.1 million. The 80,000-square-foot building in Chehalis is the largest mixed-use building in Lewis County. It was built between 1917 and 1921 as a hotel and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
    Hall said the exterior of the building is in good shape, but the interior is going to need a lot of finishing work that could take a few years. The building currently has retail and offices on the ground floor and residential units in the other five floors of the six-story building.
    The Mottman building in Olympia is located at Fourth Street and Capitol Way, and has 20,000 square feet of space. It was built in 1890 and was recently retrofitted and won’t require much remodeling work, Hall said.

Remote-control car-racing business building a bigger location
    Mike’s RC World plans to move to larger facilities and expand its services by December.
Penny Cooper, manager of the remote-controlled car-racing facility, said the company anticipates closing on 30,000 square feet of property at 3360 Airport Drive in mid-April.
    The business, which is currently located in a 3,200-square-foot warehouse at 2107 Iron St., plans to build a 6,200-square-foot warehouse at the new site. It will also build a new 60-foot by 80-foot racetrack for remote-controlled cars inside the warehouse.
    “We plan on being able to make it a fun facility for kids and families,” Cooper said.

Doug Starcher moves forward with Ellis Street project
    City Planning Commissioner Doug Starcher has plans for a mixed-use building on Ellis Street.
Starcher, who recently purchased approximately 15,000 square feet of property at 1805 Ellis St., envisions a two-story, six- to 10-unit building, with workspaces on the bottom floor and residential units on the top.
Starcher said he plans to utilize one of the workspaces but has no timeline for the project.
    This month, Starcher may work with a professor at Western Washington University and have students design plans for the site as a part of a class project.

Big month for property sales
    March was a big month for property sales, as The Whatcom County Treasurer’s Office reported 16 property sales, valued at more than $1 million each
    The largest sale of the month was 11 parcels of property near Lynden, at 2457 Halverstick Rd. Mar-G Real Estate sold the property to Lyle & Sue Rader for $3.35 million. Other notable sales included:
— The Peace Arch Factory Outlets in Custer were sold by Orix Capital Markets LLC to Far North Ventures, LLC for $2.59 million. Far North Ventures also purchased some nearby property on 8196 Portal Way for $1.525 million.
— In Bellingham, the largest sale of the month was the Ramada Inn at 215 N. Samish Way. The 66-unit motel was sold by Jeanne Anderson to Parminder and Jasbir Narwal of Surrey, B.C., for $1.72 million.
— The building on 427 Ohio St., which has Grainger Industrial Supply as a tenant, was sold for $1.666 million by the Abraham Kosokoff Conservatorship of Seattle to Leavit Wolff of Seattle.
— AT Investments LLC of Bellingham purchased a 20,000-square-foot warehouse on 800 Horton Rd. from Horton Properties LLC for $1.5 million.
— Two Bellingham apartment complexes were sold at the end of March. Mark and Ashlie Mitchell purchased the apartments on 27000 W. Maplewood Ave. from Robert and Mae Anne Beech for $2.25 million. At 3538 Northwest Ave., Cottage Creek Investment Group and John Couiure purchased the complex from Cottage Creek LLC for $2.6 million.
— Commercial Street Investments LLC, which lists its address at the Logos Research Systems building on 1313 Commercial St., purchased the building nearby on 1323 Commercial St. from North Sound Investors 1 LLC, for $1.4 million.
— Parkplace of Marysville, located in Lake Stevens, purchased the office building on 1609 Broadway from Asian American Enterprises Inc. of Woodinville for $1.215 million.
— Jeff Kent, president of Interlube International on 801 Harris Ave., purchased property on 104 4th St. in Blaine from Agnes Smith for $1.029 million.
— The Allsop family was involved in two property sales this week. They sold two parcels of land on 710 Birchwood Ave. (near Meridian Street) to LBG LLC for $1.059 million. They then purchased some vacant property on Squalicum Way for $1.55 million.

Ice cream shop gets TI permits
    Cold Stone Creamery, the ice cream restaurant that is planning to open at 3908 Meridian St. #108, was just approved by the city to do $130,000 worth of tenant improvements. The contractor for the project is Chinn Construction.

Nooksack Indian Tribe to open Bellingham office
    The Nooksack Indian Tribe will be opening an office in Bellingham May 1.
    The tribe will be leasing an 800-square-foot space at 1329 Lincoln St. to operate its Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which provides aid with welfare-type services. The office, said tribal administrator Pat Check, will allow the tribe to serve Nooksack tribal members and other federally recognized tribal members living in western Whatcom County.

Senior community planned for E. Bakerview Road
    Mountain West Senior Housing LLC of Salem, Ore., is moving forward with plans to build a 162-unit senior assisted living and independent community at 223 E. Bakerview Rd., near the First Christian Church.
    Susanna Owens, development manager for the company, said they were recently approved in the SEPA permit process and are currently going through the planning process with the city. Once that is completed, the company will purchase the property and apply for building permits. The company is planning to break ground later this year, and the area will be called the Spring Creek Retirement & Assisted Living Community.
    The community will have 81 assisted-living units and 81 independent-living units, as well as activity rooms, dining rooms, television/lounge areas, a community van, laundry facilities and a beauty salon.
    Mountain West has 23 similar communities in Washington, with the nearest one in Arlington, called Olympic Place. They also have four other communities under construction.
    “We analyzed all of the communities in Washington, and targeted areas that we felt there was a need for our type of product,” said Owens. “We are very pleased with this location in Bellingham. It is near the freeway, it’s a safe area, there is a church and shopping centers nearby.”

Bank Northwest plans Ferndale branch
    Bank Northwest is making plans to open a branch in Ferndale. The company has filed papers to take over the former Industrial Credit Union building on 5637 3rd St. ICU recently moved into its new $1.5 million building on 1739 LaBounty Dr.
    A spokesperson for Bank Northwest said if all goes according to plan they will be in the Ferndale location sometime in May. Scott Reed, Bank Northwest’s manager in Birch Bay, will also serve as branch manager in Ferndale.
    The bank will also officially change its name to The Bank of the Pacific on April 25. Bank Northwest was purchased by Washington bank in 2004.

One Mexican eatery out, another coming in on Meridian Street
    A Mexican restaurant will likely move into the former Cinco de Mayo Restaurant location at 4151 Meridian St. Suite 107.
Doug Meyer, an associate broker with Pacific Continental Realty, LLC, said his firm is negotiating with at least four local Mexican restaurants that are interested in moving into the 2,640-square-foot location.
    “I’d say it’s probably 80 to 85 percent certain (the next tenant will be a Mexican restaurant),” said Meyer. “We like the idea of a Mexican restaurant in there.”
    Cinco de Mayo closed at the end of March. However, the owners, Rosalio and Sahara Ibarra, plan on opening at 3040 Northwest Ave., across the street from Yeager’s Sporting Goods, in mid-April. The owners have applied for a liquor license at that location.

Sandwich shop prepares for Samish Way opening
    Quizno’s will be opening its third sandwich shop in Bellingham. The company has been approved for city permits for $75,000 in tenant improvements at the new strip mall at 102 Samish Way (next to McDonald’s). The other Quizno’s Bellingham locations are in Barkley Village and 4210 Meridian St.

Local company sells part of business
    Special-T Striping and Sign has sold its auto and truck accessory and installation division to Links Auto and Truck Accessorie. Tim Donnelly of Special-T said the selling of the division will allow Special T to focus on its commercial signage business and window tinting while allowing Links to expand its business.

Engineering firm expands into the Midwest
    GeoEngineers has expanded into the Midwest by purchasing Advantage Professional Services, Inc., a firm that specializes in horizontal directional drilling (HDD) technology. The new office, GeoEngineers’ 12th, is in Springfield, Mo.
APSI has used this technology on a number of projects in the oil and gas pipeline industry in the U.S., South America, Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa.
    “The addition of this specialized technology goes a long way in solidifying our capabilities for our pipeline and energy clients. We are excited about the expanded opportunities for its applications for our other markets and other clients,” said CEO Jim Miller.
GeoEngineers has an office in Bellingham, and is headquartered in Redmond.

New tenant announced for Public Market
    A fair-trade friendly business has agreed to lease space at the new Bellingham Public Market on Cornwall Avenue.
First-time business owner Karin Charrier plans to open Fair Trade Crafts in late April or early May.
    Charrier, a longtime environmental activist, who’s previously worked for a Fair Trade organization in France, says the goods found in her shop, such as clothing, baskets, bags, jewelry and instruments, will be alternatives to products made in sweatshops.
All merchandise in her store, she said, will come from producers around the world who offer fair wages for employees and practice environmental sustainability. In addition, goods will reflect cultural identity and include background information on how they were made.
    “I think people here are really sensitive to these types of ideas and philosophies,” Charrier said. “I’m amazed there isn’t a shop like this already in Bellingham.” Other announced tenants at the Bellingham Public Market include: Terra Organica, Chocolate Necessities, Moka Joe and Caf� Ohya.

Local restaurateur starts new project
    Fahri Ugurlu, owner of the Coppa Restaurant and co-owner of The Harborside Bistro, has submitted plans to the city to open a gelato-style dessert restaurant in the Harris Square building in Fairhaven.
Ugurlu said he hopes to have the new restaurant, called Sirena, opened by July at the 960 Harris Ave. location. He wants it to be an after-dinner type of place for people to drop by for dessert. He is spending $30,000 in tenant improvements to the location.
    “I just returned from a huge gelato conference in Italy and learned a lot about the process,” Ugurlu said. “Gelato is becoming more popular in the United States, but it is hard to find in Bellingham.”

Japanese restaurant to go in Fred Meyer shopping center
    A city building permit application has been filed for Oishii Restaurant to move in at 1315 W. Bakerview Rd., in the Fred Meyer shopping center next to Blockbuster Video.
This will be the second Oishii Restaurant in Bellingham. Oishii Teriyaki is located at 505 32nd St., in the Viking Center and owned by Helen Ok. She said the second location will be a full-service, sit-down restaurant. She hopes to have the second location open at the end of June.
    An estimated $99,800 will be spent in tenant improvements in the new building if the permit is approved by the city.
    Oishii means “delicious” in Japanese.

High-tech firm moving into new facility
    Gary Stephens, owner of Webreign Graphics and RocketRom , businesses that specialize in Web design, graphic design, CD duplication, DVD replication, and package printing, plans to open new facilities next month.
Stephens, who has been operating the businesses out of his home at 2608 S. Park Drive since 2000, recently purchased a new 2,000- square-foot manufacturing facility at 2120 Grant St., near the new 3D Computer Corp. location. He began work at the new location in early April.
    “Because of (expansion), we’re getting more automated and specialized equipment,” said Stephens, whose clients include Cessna Aircraft Company, Curious Pictures, Washington State University and several state governments.
Stephens said he’ll also likely add two new employees to his two-person staff.
    For more information about Webreign Graphics and RocketRom contact: www.webreign.com, www.rocketrom.com or 360-752-4377.

Triathlon store to open on James St.
    Local triathlete Maureen Trainor has plans to open what she believes will be Bellingham’s first store catering solely to triathlon-training needs.
    Trainor, 38, a qualifier for last year’s U.S. National Triathlon Championships, expects to open Train-Or-Tri in early May at 2004 James St., the former Jack’s Bicycle Center location. It will be Trainor’s first business.


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