Threegrocery stores planned for Birch Bay

Published on Thu, May 19, 2005 by ack Kintner

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Three grocery stores planned for Birch Bay

By Jack Kintner

Three new grocery stores are now in the works for Birch Bay, with Brown and Cole’s announcement last week that they plan to proceed with construction of a new store on a five-acre parcel of land at the southwest corner of Birch Bay-Lynden and Blaine roads. Brown and Cole, the second largest grocer in Whatcom County after Haggen, has owned the parcel for 13 years, and according to company representative Sue Cole, recent growth in the area now merits building a facility.

Cole is reported to have described the new store as similar in size to their 39,683 square foot Food Pavilion store on Old Fairhaven Parkway, somewhat smaller than the 43,262 square foot Cost Cutter Grocery the company owns in Blaine. Cole was unavailable to comment when contacted for this story due to a family emergency.
Brian Finnegan, president of Westcom Properties and the head leasing agent for the new Birch Bay Square mall that’s replacing the outlet mall on Birch Bay-Lynden Road at exit 270 on I-5, said that they are “currently in discussions with a major grocery chain” to locate an anchor store in the 132,000 square foot facility.

“The entire center is going to be completely re-developed and re-invented,” Finnegan said, “to become the commercial center in the north part of Whatcom County. Its location out positions any other location out there.” He said that Brown and Cole’s plans won’t really affect them much because “they’re two different concepts. Birch Bay Square will be a major retail and commercial center. You take the synergy of all the other tenants, combine that with an anchor grocery store and it becomes a place where people will be shopping, visiting professional offices, going out for dinner or perhaps to a movie and so on.”

Finnegan said that while he could not yet talk in terms of specific clients, the mall is planned to be similar to Bellingham’s Sehome Mall off I-5 at exit 252. “Again, it’s right off the freeway,” Finnegan said, “and goes right into a couple of high growth neighborhoods. We don’t want people to think that we’ve got it all signed up, but in terms of look and feel and design, that’s what we’re planning to do.”

The third store, and probably the smallest of the three, is that planned by Goldstar Resorts in the middle of property they control at the corner of Blaine Road and Alderson Road, a mile south of Brown and Cole’s property. Goldstar president Bill Grant said that the 160 acres they control in the area will eventually have 2,500 residential units divided among 60 acres that are zoned residential and another 70 that are zoned multi-family.

The remaining 30 acres are zoned general commercial, “and we’ve thought of an 18,000 to 20,000 square foot store, a place where you can get the basics but also get a healthier kind of thing, an upscale place like Larry’s Market. We have the land and provisional zoning for that but we’re working out details.”