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What’s the Deal With: The Bellingham Towers?

Bellingham's high-rise has history

The Bellingham Towers stands 150 feet tall on Commercial Street. The former hotel has been home to everything from fine dining to long-term residents.
The Bellingham Towers stands 150 feet tall on Commercial Street. The former hotel has been home to everything from fine dining to long-term residents. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)
By Hailey Hoffman Visual Journalist

Bellingham is known for its expansive waterways and daunting mountains, not its dramatic architectural feats, like other, larger cities. 

However, one building, and its history, stands above most others (literally and figuratively) — the Bellingham Towers. 

The Towers, a singular 15-story structure, was erected in 1929 as the Bellingham Hotel and a direct competitor to the Leopold Hotel. The art deco style features sandstone and brick masonry, according to the building’s website.

photo  A 162-foot neon sign reading “Bellingham Hotel” used to shoot into the sky from the top of the Bellingham Towers. (Photo from "Old Hotels of the Bellingham Bay Cities")  

For several years, it touted a massive, red neon sign reading “Bellingham Hotel.” It shot 162 feet into the sky from the top of the 150-foot building. It was the tallest neon sign in the world for the three years it stood, according to the book “Old Hotels of the Bellingham Bay Cities.”

Through the decades, the floors have served many purposes, housing temporary and long-term residents and offering fine dining and views from the top floor. In 1981, the building said farewell to its last resident and switched to fully commercial occupants. 

In 1997, the building was bought and renovated by local property developer Mark Hollander, according to the Hollander Investments website. 

WTD runs on Wednesdays. Have a suggestion for a “What’s the Deal With?” inquiry? Email us at newstips@cascadiadaily.com.

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