By Oliver Lazenby
The first model home is finished on a development that will eventually include 46 housing units on Semiahmoo spit. The Semiahmoo Shore project, originally a Trillium Corporation project called Seagrass Cottages II, was first permitted by the city of Blaine in 2006.
Once complete, the gated community will include 23 duplexes on just over 19 acres on Semiahmoo spit. Real estate broker and marketing manager for the project, Mike Kent, said it’s the only development of its size on the West Coast that is “low bank” waterfront – what real estate agents call properties with easy access to the water.
“It’s also the only project that we’ve come across where you have inland water to the east and deep saltwater to the west,” he said.
The model home, a duplex on the east side of Semiahmoo spit with an unobstructed view of Mount Baker and the Cascades, will also hold a leasing office for the development. Across Semiahmoo Parkway, construction is underway on six more homes that should be ready for purchase in October.
The first six homes will cost $1,079,000 each and are about 3,000 square feet. The homes are available in two different themes: driftwood and Northwest. Driftwood is a beach theme with a light gray color scheme, while Northwest has darker wood floors and somewhat subdued interior tones.
Later duplexes will range in size from 1,800 to 3,000 square feet
The project’s developer is DBW Whatcom, Roosendaal-Honcoop Construction is building the first units, JWR Design is the architect and Semiahmoo resident Markie Nelson is in charge of interior design.
Prices could change, but Kent thinks it is “very competitive.” Housing inventory has decreased for the past few years in Whatcom County and is currently in a range that real estate agents think of as a “seller’s market.”
Kent said he’s seen a lot of interest so far and he noted that $1 million doesn’t go very far just north of the border.
“If you put this in White Rock, it would cost $8 million,” he said.
In planning the project, Kent said he and the developers talked to a lot of people who have bought houses for similar prices in similar locations. Consequently, the project’s homes will have the highest-quality options. The model home has a kitchen with quartz countertops and soft-close drawers, outdoor fireplaces and lofted ceilings.
“Our thinking is if someone’s going to buy in this location for this price, they’re going to want it to be 100 percent beautiful,” Kent said. “If there’s a high-quality feature in a home today you’re probably going to find it in this development.”
An earlier version of the development that the city didn’t permit, called Seagrass Cottages (as opposed to Seagrass Cottages II), attracted public comments and concerns about how more impervious surfaces and human activity on the spit would impact bird and marine habitat.
City planner Michael Jones wasn’t working for the city when that permit was applied for and couldn’t comment on the difference between Seagrass Cottages and Seagrass Cottages II.
The current project complies with the city’s shoreline master program requirements, as well as Semiahmoo Resort Association’s requirements, he said. The project is part of the Semiahmoo Resort Association.
Project consultant AVT Consulting asked Blaine City Council in January 2016 to modify the project and reduce the total number of units from the 68 the city originally approved.
The development doesn’t change access to the water along Semiahmoo spit. The Semiahmoo spit trail winds along the water between the houses and the shoreline on both sides of the spit.
The model units will be open daily from noon to 5 p.m., starting Monday, May 9. For more information, go to semiahmooshore.com.