Community providing input for Birch Bay retail center

Published on Thu, Oct 25, 2001 by Christine Callan

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Community providing input for Birch Bay retail center

By Christine Callan

The Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce and community members gathered at the Semiahmoo fire station to hear and discuss plans and ideas for developing the 80,000 square foot retail center on the southeast corner of Blaine Road and Birch Bay-Lynden Road intersection. Approximately 20 people came with ideas and suggestions for developing the center.

“What we want to do is hear what the Birch Bay community wants to see,” consultant Ron Bennett said. “We know this is the entrance to the town and we are creating a gateway.”

Tentative plans include a mid-size grocery store but concerns were voiced from the community about the store being just another convenience store.

“I know that they’re not going to get a Fred Meyer in there but this will be a grocery store that people will definitely use,” architect Doug Landsem reassured. “Plans are designed specifically for the Birch Bay and Semiahmoo community.”

Other suggestions were to put in a post office, a pharmacy, a hardware store, and an apparel store. “I think what we need in Birch Bay is an apparel/variety store,” said Cheryll Ryan of World Mark Resort.

“People always come in asking where they can get a swim suit. I have to send them down to the outlet stores, where they will spend $80 on a swimsuit, or all the way down to Bellingham. People often get here and realize they forgot something or they aren’t prepared for our lovely rain.”
Ryan said she would also like to see a home-style dining facility, a smoke-free place where families could go.

Sales are currently pending on the two parcels that make up the 12.65 acres of land. Gerald Stern is the project developer.

“Everything looked really good,” Landsem said. “Now it’s just waiting to see how soon Stern wants to push the button and let tenants show interest. Then we will work with Bennett and Whatcom County to decide further plans.”

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