46-unit project in works for Birch Bay

Published on Thu, Sep 16, 2010 by By Tara Nelson

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During a time in which the construction industry has nearly grinded to a halt, one local developer is trying to make a go of it by capitalizing on one of Birch Bay’s not-so-niche markets – Canadian buyers.

Birch Bay resident and developer Duane Nelson said he is aiming to capture a segment of the market for Canadian buyers through his new project The Tides At Birch Bay, a 46-unit condominium project on 11 acres of gently sloping waterview property off Alderson Road.

A Birch Bay native and 1981 graduate of Blaine high school, Nelson estimates that nearly 60 percent of homes in Birch Bay are owned by Canadian citizens and as the value of the Canadian dollar rises, he expects the demand for second homes in resort areas such as Birch Bay will grow.

“It’s a great value for them, especially with the (loonie) being at 98 cents on the U.S. dollar,” he said. “It’s a market that’s still here even though people might not see it.”

The project features single and double story craftsman cottage style condominium units surrounded by seven acres of green ways and about two miles of wooded trails. Nelson said he was aiming to recreate the style of cottages that used to line Birch Bay Drive.

He added that because of the units’ minimal square footage – between 950 and 975 square feet – he was able to keep the prices modest between $195,000 and $239,000 and include upscale features such as porcelain tile, stainless steel appliances, vaulted ceilings and stone fireplaces.

He added that nearly all laborers and contractors were hired locally, including interior designer Tanya Thrift, of Birch Bay; Profile Construction, of Bellingham; Grynstad & Wagner architects, of Bellingham; and Wynwood Landscaping, of Laurel.
Nelson was also a partner in the development of The Sands condominium complex, an 18-unit, three-story condominium project on Birch Bay Drive that was completed in 2003.

The project should be completed by summer of 2011, he said.

For more information, visit www.thetidesatbirchbay.com