Bellingham looks to breathe new life into Old Town

A serious redevelopment is proposed, however may it conflict with homeless companies which were within the neighborhood for generations?

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Searching over Bellingham’s Outdated City neighborhood, metropolis officers see alternative on the horizon.

“I see the bones of a really stunning future,” says Financial Growth Supervisor Tara Sundin.

Town needs to redevelop eight acres of Outdated City into an city village with as much as 1,100 houses and 400,000 square-feet of business house.

“So far as a chance, it is fairly unbelievable to have this a lot acreage below a single possession,” says Sundin. “We do not have a lot of that on this city.”

Six of these eight acres are owned by Northwest Recycling. The opposite two, by the town.

Northwest CEO Kevin Moore says the corporate has reached an settlement with the town to maneuver its noisy operations to a distinct a part of Bellingham, making room for a way more enticing addition to the neighborhood.

“We’re upcycling Outdated City,” he says.

Outdated City was as soon as the middle of Bellingham. It’s prime actual property with entry to parks, the waterfront and extra growth just like the outdated granary that may sooner or later home a Pike Place-style market.

However it’s inhabited primarily by mild trade nowadays, together with the Lighthouse Mission — a hub for homeless companies.

Some 400 individuals per day come by way of the mission’s 4 amenities day-after-day.

Govt Director Hans Erchinger-Davis says that quantity is predicted to develop by 10 p.c yearly for the foreseeable future.

He hopes the builders know what they’re entering into. 

“If individuals do not understand that we’re a homeless shelter, it may be irritating as a result of they declare it is our fault they cannot hire out their place. The fact is, we have been right here for many years.”

Town says the plan is to weave the Mission and its homeless into the material of the brand new neighborhood.

“We see Lighthouse staying in Outdated City,” says Sundin. “However we additionally see the diversification of the neighborhood so we now have a full vary of incomes dwelling right here.”

Erchinger-Davis believes two worlds can coexist, if finished correctly.

“What we love to do is have interaction the group, and get individuals to volunteer with us,” he says. “That means, when individuals see homeless on the road they begin to develop a way of compassion and so they see that a lot of our persons are simply attempting actually exhausting to get by.”

The settlement with Northwest Recycling should first be authorised by the Bellingham Metropolis Council. A public listening to on the problem is scheduled for January 28 at 7 p.m. within the council chambers.