Archive for May, 2010
No new news yet about coming to Bellingham, but Dick’s Sporting Goods sees the potential of increasing its store total from 424 to 800. Here’s a (Link) to a story about it from GlobeSt.com.
In January we had an article about Meridian Village trying to lease the former Linens-N-Things space to Dick’s, but nothing has been announced since then. It’ll be interesting to see if this is a market Dick’s is interested in during its expansion phase.
– West Coast Marine Services was chosen by Yamaha Marine to be the full line sales and service dealer for Whatcom County and the surrounding area, according to a company press release. This will be in addition to West Coast’s other offerings, which include Honda and Evinrude outboards, as well as Wooldrdge Boats, EZ-Loader trailers, Volvo sterndrives and Mercruiser sterndrives.
The company has been in Whatcom County since 1986. West Coast Marine is currently serving customers at 1001 C St., building L in the Colony Wharf boatyard while its new facility (at 1200 C St.) is under construction. For details, call 676-8020.
— A tenant improvement permit has been approved by the City of Bellingham to create a space for a new restaurant at 702 Kentucky St. on the west side of Interstate 5.
– A permit has also been approved for a new dermatology center at 12 Bellwether Way, Suite 219.
– Maurices, a women’s clothing store, will be coming to Bellis Fair. It has had permits approved to start doing tenant improvement work.
– Building permits have been filed with the city for the new elementary school going in at 4420 Aldrich Road.
O’Donnell’s Bellingham Flea Market is expanding into evening food service.
The Outdoor Food Market will be open 5 p.m. to midnight starting Friday, May 21, near the Bellingham Public Market building on Cornwall Avenue. It will be open Friday and Saturday evenings and feature a variety of food from local vendors, including On Rice Thai restaurant, Chihuahua’s taco truck, Redrock Fry Bread and Anker Cafe.
The flea market is open on weekends in the former Tube Time space at Cornwall Avenue and York Street. For details, click this (link).
Plenty of daily business news happening today. Here’s some of the stuff we’ve been working on:
– Bellingham-based Aluminum Chambered Boats has been awarded a $37.7 million, five-year contract with the U.S. Coast Guard.
The contract is to build up to 80 port security boats. The boats, at just over 32 feet in length, will operate in coastal areas throughout the world and are capable of conducting operations in as little as two feet of water.
With its ballistic protection, the vessel is designed to carry out missions in security and maritime law enforcement as well as search and rescue operations.
– Whatcom County’s unemployment rate plunged in April by a record amount as the number of people employed locally grew by nearly 2,000 people.
This area’s unemployment rate in April was 8 percent, down from 9.5 percent in March, according to the latest statistics from the Washington State Employment Security Department. That’s the biggest month-to-month drop since the ESD started keeping track with current methods in 1990. According to the ESD, 98,300 people were employed in Whatcom County in April, up from 96,390 in March. There were 8,520 people actively seeking work last month, down from 10,140 in March.
Much of the job growth was in seasonal work, such as agriculture, and commuting to jobs outside Whatcom County, said Jim Vleming, a regional labor economist for the state. The total number of non-farm jobs increased by 300 jobs in Whatcom County between March and April. Construction rose by 100 jobs, while manufacturing was up 200. Retail and government were each down by 100.
“While it is a significant drop, it’s important to keep in mind much of it is seasonal and not much of it was in non-farm jobs,” Vleming said. “I expected a bit more of an uptick in areas like construction, but that’s just not happening yet. Industries like construction are still conservative when it comes to hiring.”
– Mojo Music recently completed its Mojo School of Music expansion on Meridian Street, while Black Pearl is making preparations to open a second restaurant in downtown Bellingham.
As always, please let me know what else is going on, and I’ll hop on it.
Real estate sales were up in several Whatcom County communities last month, and it wasn’t just homebuyers trying to take advantage of a federal tax credit deadline.
Bellingham recorded 158 property sales in April, a 10.5 percent increase from March and a 19.7 percent jump from April 2009, according to data collected by First American Title of Bellingham. These property sales include residential, commercial, industrial and undeveloped land. Bellingham has tallied 473 property sales through the first four months of 2010, a 9.2 percent increase compared to the previous year.
While used single family homes were a big part of the April rise in Bellingham –100 sold last month, up from 80 in March and 84 in April 2009 – multi-family, condominiums and platted lots also posted year-over-year increases. The one category lagging behind is sales of new homes: Only two new homes sold in Bellingham last month and 16 for the year. That’s way down from the first four months of 2009 (30 new homes sold) and 2008 (67 new homes sold).
The huge drop in new home sales in Bellingham shows just how much new home construction has grinded to a halt, said Gragg Miller of Coldwell Banker Miller-Arnason.
Ferndale, Lynden and Blaine are posting similar growth numbers in property sales to Bellingham. Those three communities sold 154 properties last month, slightly higher than March but up 51 percent compared to April 2009. For the first four months of the year, the three communities have been able to maintain sales of new homes: 38 have sold in 2010, nearly matching the first four months of 2009, when 39 were sold.
Commercial and industrial property sales have been particularly active. Through April, 41 such properties have sold in Ferndale, Lynden and Blaine, compared to 23 for the same period in 2009. Overall, 529 properties have sold in 2010, up 26.8 percent compared to the first four months in 2009.
Last week I mentioned a tenant improvement permit application for a precision mold fabricator at 3870 Mustang Way, Suite 101. Fuller Building Design is the applicant for the permit, not Mustang Survival.
Mustang Survival moved its U.S. operations to 1215 Old Fairhaven Parkway, Suite C.
Government regulators shut down four banks in the South and Midwest Friday afternoon, bringing the total of bank failures in 2010 to 72. Details below. I’ll update with a new posts if there are closures later today.
No. 69: Satilla Community Bank, Saint Marys, Ga. was closed, then taken over by Ameris Bank of Moultrie, Ga. Satilla had one branch. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $31.3 million.
No. 70: New Liberty Bank, Plymouth, Mich. was closed, they taken over by Bank of Ann Arbor, Mich. New Liberty had one branch. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $25 million.
No. 71: Southwest Community Bank, Springfield, Mo., was closed, then taken over by Simmons First National Bank, Pine Bluff, Ark. Southwest had one branch. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $29 million.
No. 72: Midwest Bank & Trust, Elmwood Park, Ill. was closed, then taken over by Firstmerit National Association, Akron Ohio. Midwest had 23 branches. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $216.4 million.
A major Skagit County manufacturer has announced plans to build a facility in Utah to support its work in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
Janicki Industries’ new $19.5 million Utah facility will make precision composites for the military aircraft and expects to add about 50 people to the company in the next few years. The new facility will not have a significant impact on its two Skagit County facilities, which employs more than 350 people, said Kathleen Olson, marketing director for the company.
John Janicki, president of Janicki Industries, said in a press release its strategic alliance with companies like ATK, an aerospace defense company with offices in Utah, was a factor in locating the new facility there. The company also accepted a tax credit incentive offer of up to $316,275 from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development in Utah.
A decision about the exact location of the new facility has not been made yet.
Whatcom County posted fewer bankruptcies in April than March, but it still remains at a higher-than-normal level, according to statistics from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Western District in Seattle.
Last month 67 Whatcom County bankruptcies were filed, down from 81 filings in March. For the first four months of 2010, Whatcom County has had 293 bankruptcy filings, equating to about 2.4 filings a day. Total filings in 2010 are up 13.6 percent compared to the same period in 2009.
Skagit County had 40 bankruptcies last month, nearly matching March’s total (41).
Bayou on Bay is expansion mode.
The restaurant, on the corner of Bay and Holly streets, is expanding into the former Paris, Texas space in order to put in an oyster bar, said Owner Steve Crosier.
That portion of the restaurant will have a selection of local oysters and alcoholic beverages. The oyster bar will be a separate part of the business and will not be serving food from the regular menu.
“It’s a very New Orleans kind of thing to order a plate of oysters and something to drink; it’s something we wanted to try here,” Crosier said. He expects the oyster bar to be ready sometime in mid-June.