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Harcourt misses deadline, loses waterfront development rights

Unfinished Bellingham condos should have been done last month

A bicyclist rides past Harcourt Developments' unfinished condominium project on Bellingham's waterfront Nov. 2. Harcourt missed a deadline on completing construction of two condominium buildings
A bicyclist rides past Harcourt Developments' unfinished condominium project on Bellingham's waterfront Nov. 2. Harcourt missed a deadline on completing construction of two condominium buildings
By Ralph Schwartz Local Government Reporter

Harcourt Developments, the Irish company that was once the major player in reshaping Bellingham’s waterfront, will lose its rights to build on 7.7 waterfront acres, Port of Bellingham commissioners confirmed, after the developer missed a deadline on two condominium buildings near Waypoint Park.

All that’s left of Harcourt’s waterfront footprint is the Granary Building, which opened in 2019, and the 1.7 acres where the condominiums are under construction nearby.

Commissioner Michael Shepard announced in a Tuesday, Oct. 31 Facebook post that Harcourt had violated the terms of its contract with the port.

“Harcourt was notified of eight individual contractual defaults, including failure to complete the first two residential buildings within the contract’s timeline,” Shepard wrote.

Two five-story condominium buildings, still unfinished along the Whatcom Waterway, needed to be ready for occupancy by Oct. 19, according to an agreement Harcourt and the port signed in 2021. 

By missing the deadline, Harcourt loses the right to develop 5.3 acres along Granary Avenue, between Laurel and Chestnut streets. 

In 2021, Harcourt had already missed benchmarks for construction of the condominiums. The port granted a two-year extension, recognizing that COVID-19 disruptions had likely hampered progress on the buildings.

Still, Harcourt faced consequences for the missed deadlines in 2021. It was originally slated to build on 18.8 waterfront acres, but the port reduced that to the 7.7 acres Harcourt had the rights to until last month, which includes its Granary and condominimum properties.

Shepard said it wasn’t clear why Harcourt couldn’t finish its two buildings on time, even though the port “works with Harcourt every single week.”


“It’s not my interest to provide additional extensions at this point,” Shepard said in an interview. “I don’t think we’re going to see different results, just given more time.”

“I think Harcourt had the opportunity to bring more capital to complete this project in a more timely manner, and we just didn’t see it happen,” he added.

Harcourt could not be immediately reached for comment.

“There is high demand for housing in this community, from market rate to affordable housing. It is in their best financial interest to finish these buildings,” Shepard said. “We will continue to work with them and support them, to get them completed.”

This story was updated at 11:27 a.m. on Nov. 6 to correct the number of acres of development rights Harcourt lost last month. The area was 5.3 acres, not 7.7 acres. Cascadia Daily News regrets the error.

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