Bellingham News: Saving “The Granary”

Today, a shout-out to the folks at Save The Granary.

When I posted the following photo in the Photoblog section of Fish & Bicycles, back in June 2011, I liked how it captured the charm of Bellingham’s historical working waterfront:

While the largest industrial presence on Bellingham Bay, a Georgia-Pacific paper mill, closed in 2007, leading to demolition of most of its facilities as part of a massive waterfront redevelopment effort, other historic buildings remain, including what’s commonly referred to as The Granary, the large white structure in the photo above, home to the Washington Cooperative Egg and Poultry Association from approximately 1920 to 1960.

The Bad News
Earlier this year, the Port of Bellingham announced that it planned to demolish The Granary as part of a new, scaled-back redevelopment plan for the waterfront. The Port claimed that rehabilitating the long-vacant building and using it for other purposes would be cost-prohibitive.

The Good News
Almost immediately, there was a groundswell of community opposition to the demolition, including some who accused the Port of inflating estimates of how much it would cost to renovate The Granary. This groundswell was joined by some key community leaders, along with architects and developers who disagreed strongly with the Port’s assessment, and who set about advocating for a variety of renovation options, ultimately succeeding in convincing the Port to decide against demolition.

It’s a hope-inspiring story of a community united against a threat to the things we hold dear, and one can only hope that we’re as successful in opposing a proposed coal shipping terminal that I’ve previously written about.

As for The Granary, perhaps the most exciting recent news was the unveiling of $5 million renovation plan, submitted to the Port for consideration, a plan that included this awesome-looking artist’s rendering (clicking the image to enlarge it is a must!):

I’m reminded of another post I did from June 2011, this one titled Waterfront Inspiration: A little goes a long way, a post that highlights a clever waterfront redevelopment project in Philadelphia, while advocating a similar approach here in Bellingham, and it seems to me that this new vision for The Granary fits the bill perfectly.

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