High-tech/ high-touch building open for business
Windermere Real Estate’s new 12,000 square foot two story office at Birch Bay Square opened at the first of the year, and has already generated a healthy increase in business according to Rob Washburn of Windermere’s Bellingham office and coordinator of the construction project.
Thirteen realtors are currently working out of the office and there is space for as many as 22. Wynden Holman is the broker and Wendy Elrod is the office manager.
Windermere owner Dan Washburn said “we’re convinced that’s the place to be in the county with what’s happening currently for Birch Bay, Blaine, Semiahmoo, and with Ferndale just down the road, plus all the Canadian traffic. We just thought it was the right thing to do to have a presence in the middle of all that’s happening and will be happening.”
Washburn said that even though the building is a little larger than their headquarters at 515 Bakerview, they will occupy only a quarter of the space. “Upstairs we’ll have the accounting firm of Larson Gross. They like the location for their Canadian and border-related businesses. Windermere Property Management is there, too, and we’re looking for other tenants who can provide services related to real estate like an insurance office or an immigration attorney.”
The other major tenant is Stewart Title, occupying the other half of the main floor. The firm’s data administrator, Elsie Roberts, said that besides her the title office also has an escrow officer and an escrow assistant.
The project began in October of 2005. Permitting took longer than expected so ground wasn’t broken until last March. Washburn said they used the same architect, Rich Lawson of Seattle, and contractor, the Franklin corporation, that they had for their first building on Bakerview Road in Bellingham.
Washburn called the style northwest craftsman, with exposed beams and cedar shakes, “homey but business-like.” The high touch/high tech office has a gas fireplace and plenty of exposed wood along with state of the art computer displays as well as their own fiber optic cable network that links all Windermere offices.
Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.