Ebenal is fixing up the century-old Waldron Building by constructing a building within a building.
By LYNN PORTER – Journal Staff Reporter
BELLINGHAM-BASED Waldron Development is doing a major renovation to convert an 1890s brick commercial building in the city’s Fairhaven District to condos.
Work on the four-story building is being done by Ebenal Homebuilders, which is owned by the development company.
The 23,000-square-foot Waldron Building at 1308 12th St. is being converted to six condos, with retail in the basement and first floor: As part of the $10 million project, Ebenal is constructing 14 condos and ground floor retail to the west of the Waldron, along with 57 underground parking stalls to serve both buildings.
The two-and three-bedroom condos will range from 1,000 to 2,000 square feet and sell from $360,000 to $1.4 million, said Wayne weed, vice president of operation for Waldron Development.
Ebenal is reinforcing the perimeter walls of the Waldron Building with steel and shotcrete. That system is being attached to the interior of the brick façade for a seismic upgrade and to strengthen the structure, Weed said.
“We are actually building a building inside a building,” he said.
Without Ebenal’s efforts, Weed said architects and engineers have estimated that the building would crumble in 10 to 15 years because of deterioration. In doing the work, Ebenal has taken out the west wall of the structure. The wall was in poor condition, it had been repaired so many times it didn’t fit with the character of the rest of the building and removing it helped in the renovation, Weed said. The company is also restoring the enterior façade.
The architect for the project is Hawthorne Haggen Architects.
Weed says he knows of no other Bellingham building that has undergone such an extreme renovation.
Waldron Development is headed by Bonnie and David Ebenal. Weed said it would have been more reasonable to raze the Waldron building and rebuild, but the Ebenal family likes to take on challenging buildings.
When the renovation was started, pigeons were inhabiting the Waldron, he said. The building, which was begun in 1890 by C.W. Waldron, a well-known Fairhaven promoter, had been constructed to house his bank, according to information provided by Weed.
The Building cost C.W. Waldron $33,000 for only the exterior shell roof and finished first floor and basement. The upper three floors were never completed because of the collapse of the Fairhaven economy in 1892.
On Jan 21, 1894, the Waldron Building was gutted by a fire. It has been occupied by businesses over the years, but the upper floors have stood vacant.
The Waldron project was started in January Weed expects it to be completed in the spring of next year.
Lynn Porter can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (206) 622-8272.