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Preservation and Partnership are Cornerstones of Fairhaven Tower Project

July 12, 2019

By Matt Benoit for WhatcomTalk | WhatcomTalk

Ria Van Weerdhuizen, Peoples Bank Fairhaven branch manager and HFA board president

On the corner of Fairhaven’s 12th Street and Harris Avenue, the past is rising to meet the future. Construction is underway on the new Fairhaven Tower, a retail and residential building with architecture paying tribute to the historic Fairhaven Hotel that once stood in its place.

This week, framing will officially begin on the five-story building, which will consist of 5,000 square-feet of first floor retail space and 35 apartments on the floors above. The project is on schedule to be completed next summer, and is supported by several local organizations, including property owner Alliance Properties, Peoples Bank—which is providing financing—and the Historic Fairhaven Association (HFA).

Ria Van Weerdhuizen, Peoples Bank Fairhaven branch manager and HFA board president, says it comes back to the responsibility of supporting the community and honoring history.

“As a community bank, it’s important for us to be part of efforts to create new local development while preserving the legacy of historical landmarks. We’re passing the history of this grand building and our village down to the next generation, and it means a lot to be part of it.”

Peoples Bank has actively supported the HFA since the Bank’s Fairhaven Branch opened over 20 years ago. As the fourth branch manager of this location and a ten-year veteran of Peoples Bank, Van Weerdhuizen has followed in the footsteps of her predecessors holding leadership roles in the HFA.

Resurrecting History

The Fairhaven Hotel operated from 1890 to 1899, a time that saw both growth and decline for the waterfront hamlet. The hotel was built in the hopes of convincing Great Northern Railway builders to make Fairhaven its terminus, but they chose Seattle instead. Read More...