Correction: City requests input on proposed projects

Old Town, Samish Way development proposals under review

January 15, 2016 - by Darby Cowles, Planning Department

Update: The public hearing scheduled for Feb. 22 regarding a redevelopment proposal for the City-owned property at 315 W. Holly Street (known as the Army Street property) has been cancelled.  Staff determined it would be beneficial to allow the project team additional time to refine the feasibility of the project concept prior to soliciting community input and Council direction. Staff will provide a brief status update to City Council during the afternoon on Feb. 22 and the public will be notified when the hearing is rescheduled.

​The City of Bellingham is reviewing two redevelopment proposals, one for the Aloha Motel site (301 N Samish Way) and one for the Army Street site (315 W. Holly Street), in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued in November.

The proposal for the Aloha Motel site was submitted by the Bellingham Housing Authority. It includes approximately 154 mixed-income residential units, offices, and commercial uses along Samish Way. Under the proposal, on-street parking would be added and residents would be served by a central open courtyard. Parking would be provided in a two-story garage under the building. The Phase I residential units, which include a series of townhouses along Otis Street, would serve families that are currently homeless disabled individuals, as well as provide some market rate housing. Phase II would provide both senior, market rate and affordable housing.

The proposal for the Army Street site was submitted by AYGO, LLC, owned by Ken and Amy Mann. The “Balefire” development would include studio/loft residences, offices, a boutique hotel, restaurants, event space, light manufacturing, a pedestrian promenade overlooking the waterfront and under-building parking. According to the materials submitted by the proponent, the proposal will channel the historical character of the original building on the site, which was destroyed by fire in 1927, and provide an important connection from downtown to Old Town and the Waterfront District.

Both proposals maximize the height and building size envisioned under the adopted urban village plans and comply with the criteria requested in the RFP:

  1. A capable developer demonstrating financial strength, a performance track record and strong team.
  2. A development concept that is compatible with community goals (as adopted in the respective urban village plan), provides high-quality design, pedestrian-orientation and excellent site layout.
  3. A market-rate offer to purchase the property and a transaction structure that results in swift completion of the project.

A third submitted proposal, which expressed an interest in both properties but lacked any specific development concept, was deemed incomplete. City staff is recommending that the City Council proceed with negotiations for the two completed proposals.

“By putting these two properties on the market, we are helping spur interest and revitalization of these urban village districts,” Mayor Kelli Linville said. “These two projects would do a great job of supporting our community goals for these areas, and I’m excited to see them move forward in the process.”

Public comment

The community is encouraged to review and provide comment on the proposals. A public hearing for the Aloha Motel proposal will be held on February 8, 2016 and for the Army Street proposal on February 22, 2016.  Both hearings will be at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at 210 Lottie Street.

For more information, contact Darby Cowles, Senior Planner at or 360-778-8389.

Media Contact

​Darby Cowles, Senior Planner
Planning Department

More City News >>

Subscribe to City News