The Bellingham Housing Authority (BHA) is the new owner of the property at 315 N. Samish Way in the Samish Way Urban Village, site of the former Aloha Motel. The City acquired the property in 2015 as a result of condemnation action in response to concerns about high levels of criminal activity and demolished the motel shortly after acquisition.
After a competitive Request for Proposals, the City selected the BHA to redevelop the property due to a progressive vision for transforming the site with a mix of over 150 housing units serving a range of incomes, new office headquarters for the agency, and commercial uses. The proposal fulfills the community goals for the Samish Way Urban Village, provides high-quality design, pedestrian-orientation and an excellent site layout.
"We look forward to being part of the exciting new Samish Way Urban Village," said John Harmon, Executive Director of the BHA.
BHA applied to the City's Home fund and was qualified for a loan to fund the property purchase, in the amount of $1.83 million. As is true in all City Home Fund rental housing projects, the majority of those housed will earn below 50% of the area median income, though some of the housing will be for those earning higher incomes. A portion of the housing will be set aside for those with special needs, such as physical or mental impairment, senior citizens, and homeless families.
"This project is a big win for the City," said Mayor Kelli Linville. "We've eliminated a magnet for crime and are now providing a wide range of housing options for the community, all while implementing the urban village plan."
The closing of the property allows for a more competitive pursuit of State and Federal funding for the project, which is anticipated to break ground next year.