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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Local businesses told to move, lot on North State Street sold to Seattle-based company

By Hailey Jostmeyer

Tucked away on the side of North State Street rests The HUB Community Bike Shop — but not for long.

Kyle Morris, the creator and supervisor of The HUB, said the bike shop will likely be relocating along with other local businesses due to a change in property management.

According to the Whatcom County Assessor and Treasurer, 929 N. State St. and 903 N. State St. were sold for $3.15 million to North State Street LLC.

Located on this property are: The HUB, Positive Negative Photography Center, Bryan Wahl Hair Salon, Altility Art Studio, Plantas Nativa and Washington Divers Scuba Diving Center.

Business owners Bryan Wahl and Morris said they received a letter from Daylight Properties when the property was sold on Sep. 26 of last year. Morris said the letter guaranteed a six month lease for the current tenants and the new property management is allowing them to stay until construction starts in January 2019.

Kyle Morris opened The Hub with some friends nearly 16 years ago. The bike shop has racked up a large collection of bike parts, including wheels, seats and gears. // Photo by Taylor Nichols

Brian Billings, the owner of BBRP Motorcycle Repair located on 919 N. State St., said from what he understands, the entire block was sold from Plantas Nativa to the Divers building which includes his shop.

While the Whatcom County Assessor  lists 919 N. State St. as being owned by Billings, he said his business received notice they had to move like others located on North State street.

He said it was likely to be a year before anyone will have to move, keeping their shop open for another season.

“It’s been 27, going on 28, years that we’ve been here,” Billings said. “The businesses have kind of grown around us, and any kind of luck with moving would be great, but it is what it is.”

The property was formerly owned by Daylight Properties in Bellingham before it was bought by North State Street LLC. Daylight Properties chose not to comment when asked about this property.

North State Street LLC’s address is registered to Laird Norton Company, a real estate investment and holding company in Seattle. Jennifer Polson, the communications manager for Laird Norton, gave a statement in regard to the company’s involvement in this project.

“We don’t believe in cookie-cutter development. North Street [sic] is a great example of a site that offers a community development opportunity with the public trail behind the property and walkable proximity to the university and downtown.”

Gabriel Grant, Principal at Spectrum Development Solutions

“Laird Norton Properties can’t confirm any further details at this time, until we have more meetings with the City of Bellingham,” Poloson said. “We are working with Spectrum Development Solutions on that project.”

Spectrum Development Solutions is a real estate development and advisory company also based in Seattle. Spectrum has worked on multi-use housing projects, as well as buildings for clients such as Whatcom Community College, the University of Washington Bothell and the University of Oregon.

Gabriel Grant, the principal at Spectrum, said their aim is to build apartment homes that are integrated in the community with emphasis on sustainability and transit-oriented student housing. 

Shipping container turned mural outside of the HUB. // Photo by October Yates

“We don’t believe in cookie-cutter development,” Grant said. “North Street [sic] is a great example of a site that offers a community development opportunity with the public trail behind the property and walkable proximity to the university and downtown. The tenants were our first group meetings and we are working with them on the design of the project, including the HUB.”

The HUB, a local nonprofit organization, has been at the trailhead since 2002. Its employees build custom and refurbished bikes from donated parts to keep waste from landfills.

The community bike shop also partners with organizations like the Lighthouse Mission, the Opportunity Council and Rainbow Recovery Center to provide bikes to those in low-income situations who need help getting to school or work. When the relocating happens, Morris said his goal is to continue this program.

“Wherever we go, we are who we are,” Morris said. “We’ll take it with us and contribute to the fullest. We have been lucky to have the neighbors that we’ve had, and to work with the associations in town as well.”

In addition to being a part of the community, The HUB is also known for its unique character, from the murals on the outer walls to the mannequin heads hanging around the shop. Although most of the murals on the outside won’t be able to come in the move, Morris said, the shipping container covered in art will be able to move wherever they go.

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