State Street Creamery? It never existed, at least under that name.
The parcel in question was originally the site of a dairy whose building from 1949 still stands although now occupied by other commercial entities. Hence the name taken by the current owner, State Street Creamery, LLC and now the name of the proposed project, a 70 unit apartment building with 84 bedrooms planned for a portion of this lot bordered by State, Berry and N. Forest streets. RJ Group presented the architectural aspects of the apartment building to the mayor’s Design Review Board on June 16th. No land use application has yet been submitted to the Planning Department. This 70 unit (84-bed) building will be Phase I of this project and will develop only half of the parcel with one building on N. Forest at Berry St. The developers indicated that at a later date they have plans to demolish the existing commercial building at the southeast corner of State St. and Berry St. (facing State St.) where they will construct two multi-story, mixed-use buildings which are visible on the sight plan below (click to enlarge).
The initial five story multi-family apartment building will have 51 studios, 5 one-bedroom apartments, and 14 two-bedroom units. The developer does not see the complex as competition with the enormous private dormitory building (Western Edge) under construction across the street that will be marketed largely to Bellingham’s student population. That student complex will have nearly 500 beds. Also nearby, between Forest and Garden streets, is the behemoth (nearly 450 tenants) private student dormitory called Elevate (formerly Gather), guaranteeing that the State St. traffic circle will be well used.
This parcel is located in Area 16 of the Sehome Neighborhood, but designated Downtown District Urban Village. More specifically, the zoning is Commercial Transition meaning:
“... areas ... intended to allow commercial uses similar to the commercial core, but building height limits are reduced to provide a stepped transition to adjacent residential areas. Design standards in Chapter 20.25 BMC incorporate massing and aesthetic design measures to further reinforce the transition to residential uses.”
Given the presence of the massive Western Edge and Elevate student dormitory complexes, I will leave it to the residents of Sehome Neighborhood to attend any land use meetings to judge if the State Street Creamery fits in this area. Unfortunately, I am afraid it is already too late with the overwhelming 900+ student population soon to be present in buildings that replaced nearby small businesses, the lifeblood of the city. And we now create artificial canyons that shut out light and air… and relationships. Quō vādis, Bellingham?*
[From Lat. “Whither goest thou, Bellingham?”]