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Posted on: March 17, 2015

Port Commission Considers Master Development Agreement with Harcourt

The Port of Bellingham is nearing an agreement with Ireland-based Harcourt Developments to develop a new commercial and residential area on 19 acres of Bellingham’s downtown waterfront.

Port Executive Director Rob Fix presented the details of a tentative Master Development Agreement to the Port Commission today. The agreement is available below and a special Commission meeting has been scheduled on March 31st for Commissioners to weigh-in on the proposed transaction. The Commission will listen to public comment at both 3 pm and 6 pm on March 31st before taking action on the proposed Master Development Agreement.

"We have reached a tentative agreement with Harcourt which would provide a reasonable schedule for private investment on the waterfront,” said Rob Fix. “Harcourt has built many successful projects around the world and has a concept for our downtown waterfront consistent with the Port and City’s Master Plan which was developed over many years in close collaboration with the citizens of Whatcom County.”

The Port began negotiating with Harcourt at the unanimous recommendation of an evaluation committee which included representatives from the Port, City of Bellingham, Whatcom County, and Western Washington University.

Under the terms of the proposed Master Development Agreement, Harcourt would complete two major building projects on Bellingham’s central waterfront no later than the end of 2021. Harcourt would adaptively reuse the Granary Building by 2019, and complete construction of a second building with a minimum of 40,000 square feet of mixed-use space by 2021. Development of the first two buildings could likely occur faster, but no later than the deadlines specified in the agreement.

The Granary Building, built in 1928, is located at the entrance to the downtown waterfront redevelopment area and is distinguished by an iconic cupola structure.

In total, Harcourt would develop 1,000,000 square feet of mixed-use buildings by 2034. The Port could terminate the Master Development Agreement if performance standards are not met, however extensions would be granted to accommodate fluctuations in market conditions.

Beginning this summer, the public will see a significant amount of construction activity on Bellingham’s central waterfront as the Port continues extensive site preparation and environmental cleanup activities.

The City will build new roads and parks for the public to access the downtown waterfront beginning in 2016. The agreement with Harcourt would allow building construction to begin as early as 2016.

“This is an exciting time for Bellingham’s central waterfront as we transition from planning to construction,” commented Fix.

Proposed Master Development Agreement
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