Parberry to sell recycling business, maintain Old Town plan

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Bellingham City Council members will be discussing possible changes to a 2019 development agreement with Parberry Inc. as part of city plans to bring affordable housing to the waterfront Old Town district.

Changes to the accord are being sought because the Parberry family wants to sell its Northwest Recycling Inc., which provides curbside recycling services in Bellingham and Whatcom County, CEO Kevin Moore told The Bellingham Herald.

“We are only selling the assets of the recycling center,” Moore said in an interview.

“We are here to stay. We are here to redevelop. We are only talking about this one portion of what we do,” he said.

A work session on the proposed changes is scheduled at 1:25 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, when the council’s Committee of the Whole meets online.

Tara Sundin, Bellingham’s community and economic development manager, told The Herald that wording on some of the 2019 agreement’s “milestones” needs changing.

Parberry and the city forged a deal to build a new “urban village” in the area of Old Town, which lies along West Holly Street in the lower Lettered Streets neighborhood.

Moore announced Parberry’s intent to sell Northwest Recycling during a Sept. 14 public hearing to consider changes to the 2019 accord, but City Council members wanted time to consider the sale and its possible consequences before making a decision.

No deal for a sale has been made, Moore said.

Any buyer would eventually be required to relocate, “hopefully within Bellingham or Whatcom County,” Moore told The Herald.

At the Sept. 14 council meeting, Moore said he expects that any buyer would continue its contract with Sanitary Services Co., to provide recycling services countywide.

In February 2019, Parberry agreed to move Northwest Recycling, leaving a nine-block area of Old Town available for development.

Parberry Inc. owns about 46 percent of buildable property in Old Town, according to the city.

In return, the city would invest about $2.5 million in public infrastructure, including streets, water and sewer lines.

City officials are hoping that redevelopment includes affordable “workforce housing” to help ease the city’s housing crisis.

“This is the last remaining urban village to be developed, or developable in the city of Bellingham, Moore said at the Sept. 14 council meeting.

“One of the things that we think it will bring to the city is some much-needed affordable housing,” he said.

Robert Mittendorf covers civic issues, weather, traffic and how people are coping with the high cost of housing for The Bellingham Herald. A journalist since 1984, he’s also a volunteer firefighter for South Whatcom Fire Authority.



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