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Bellingham Market Overview – There are 63 dedicated medical buildings located in the City of Bellingham. The 63 buildings incorporate commercial condominiums as single buildings, include dental office space, and exclude veterinary clinics. There is currently 1,724,318 square feet of total medical office space. This includes 59,553 square feet of dental office space. The vacancy rate for medical office space in Bellingham as of 2018 Q4 is 1.76%. The current vacancy rate for medical office space is less than 25% of the current national average of 8%.
In the City of Bellingham, the primary area for doctors and physicians to buy and lease medical office space is located within the area zoned under the Institutional Master Plan. The PeaceHealth St Joseph’s Medical Center (hospital) is central to the Institutional Master Plan and is the main campus for medical office space in Bellingham, WA. The PeaceHealth St Joseph’s Medical Center employs 2,600 people with over 400 physicians and 253 beds. The medical center is located on 42.4 acres of land with 585,800 square feet of office space. The Institutional Master Plan is separated into 3 separate zones; Zone 1, Zone 2, and Zone 3.
Zone 1 is classified as “Medical Support”. The medical support area is where the standalone medical office buildings that are not owned by PeaceHealth are located. This is the area near the PeaceHealth St Joseph’s Medical Center where dentists, OBGYN clinics, urology specialists, and other specialized medical practitioners typically locate when they want to be owners of their own medical buildings in Bellingham. The downside is that there are only 15 buildings located in Zone 1, which is wholly inadequate to service a primary population of 220,000. There is a total of 132,817 square feet of medical office space located in Zone 1.
Zone 2 is primarily the 585,800 square foot hospital owned and operated by the PeaceHealth St Joseph’s Medical Center, but this zone also includes the Medical Office Plaza, Willows Retirement Home, Medical Arts Building, St Francis Extended Health Care, Community Cancer Center, St Luke’s Health Education Center, and the Northwest Medical Center. The non-hospital buildings in Zone 2 add up to an additional 345,900 square feet. In total, there is 931,700 square feet of medical office space in Zone 2. The intent of this zone is to provide primary health care services associated with the hospital located in this zone, including acute care, in-patient and long-term care clinics, outpatient diagnostic and treatment services as well as medical support uses.
Zone 3 is the open space area located north of the hospital to Bug Lake. There are no medical buildings or land available to be developed in this area.
The area west of the hospital in Zone 2 is zoned Residential Multi-family/Institutional. This area was farmland and wetlands for many decades. In 2018, the Bellingham Plastic Surgery Center finished developing the land and completed construction of a new medical center on this property. There was some additional land for development within this property that is in the process of being built out. The area north of Bug Lake and to the west along the north side of Birchwood Ave is technically zoned Light Industrial, however there are 7 medical office buildings totalling 108,156 square feet on 10.7 acres located in this subarea. Also, the property directly north of Bug Lake is currently being developed with new land parcels that have recently been created and given access via a new road that is planned to go under Interstate 5 and connect this land with the hospital and east to James Street Road.
There is currently a shortage of medical office space on the hospital campus. The land surrounding the PeaceHealth Medical Center is completely built out.
Located in the Cordata Business Park, there is a large area (Area 9) zoned Planned Institutional, which is similar to the Cornwall Park zoning where the PeaceHealth St Joseph’s Medical Center is located. There are currently medical buildings located in this region. PeaceHealth leases the 2 largest buildings at 59,520 square feet and 23,653 square feet. SeaMar Community Health Center owns their own building at 4455 Cordata Pkwy. The SeaMar facility medical building is 19,822 square feet. Silverado Bellingham Memory Care Community owns a 41,035 square foot memory care facility that they built in 2005. There is also the Parkway Professional Building, which is a 11,898 square foot medical office condo building with 4 separate units. The building is located on the corner of W Horton and Cordata Parkway and occupied by Bellingham Eye Physicians, Bayside Vein Center, Birch Bay Dermatology, and Cordata Dental. This area in Cordata has room for growth within the medical industry as there are several parcels between 1 and 3 acres currently available to be purchased. It is important to note that space in this area is less desirable than near the hospital and as a result land values and medical office lease rates are substantially lower in Cordata. There is a total of 155,928 square foot of medical space in the Cordata Medical Zone.
Barkley Village is the third largest area in Bellingham for medical office space. Anchored by North Sound Family Medicine at 2075 Barkley Blvd, the largest medical building in Barkley Village is 41,860 square feet. This dedicated medical building that features a ASC (ambulatory surgery center) is also home to Barkley Women’s Healthcare, Bellingham Ambulatory Surgery Center, Bellingham Dermatology Clinic, Bellingham Spine Pain Specialists, FYZICAL, Whatcom Eye Surgeons, and Barkley Boulevard Dental Care. Additionally, there are several other smaller medical and dental office clinics located in Barkley Village. The medical building at 2075 Barkley Blvd is currently under expansion with 6,000 square feet being added. We will update our statistics once the new space is completed.
Barkley Village is also home to several dental related businesses. In fact, there are 8 dental clinics located in Barkley Village; Barkley Boulevard Dental Care, Barkley Village Family Dentistry, Moreno Dental, Newhaven Dental, North Sound Endodontics, Piper Family Dentistry, Piper Pediatric Dentistry, Schmidt Orthodontics. The two dedicated medical/dental buildings in Barkley Village total 47,430 square feet of medical office space.
Located directly off I-5 exit 250 is Fairhaven Plaza, which is a mixed use medical center. This property was originally developed as a neighborhood grocery store in the 1980’s and recently redeveloped into a medical office area with a Starbucks and Subway. The current medical tenants include Fairhaven Dermatology, Proliance Retina, and Cascadia Eye. The total medical space occupied by these three tenants is 8,474 square feet. The former grocery store is currently in the process of being redeveloped into an additional 16,000 square foot medical space with a large parking garage behind and 5 story residential building above it. This new medical center will provide much needed medical services to the residents of the south side of Bellingham.
The PeaceHealth St Joseph’s Medical Center also has a south campus located at 809 East Chestnut St in Bellingham with 42 beds. The south campus building is 82,665 square feet, which is the second largest dedicated medical building in Bellingham. PeaceHealth has slowly been closing down the services at this location and are in the process of moving the medical services offered at the south campus to the main campus. The south campus building was originally constructed in 1927 and is likely schedule for demolition in the near future. PeaceHealth owns over three entire city blocks in this region and at this time it is unclear what the future will hold.
Between Birchwood Ave and I-5 on the east side of Meridian Ave is a pocket of medical and dental office space. There are 8 buildings in this area with a total of 50,092 square feet. This area is heavy on dental space with over 19,000 square feet of dedicated dental office space located within a few blocks on Meridian Ave. This is an interesting area for medical expansion as the PeaceHealth St Joseph’s Medical Center continues to run out of space. The area along the east side of Meridian Ave is one potential location for medical office space to sprawl.
Currently anchored by the PeaceHealth St Joseph’s Medical Center – South Campus, there is 178,396 square feet of dental and medical office space in downtown Bellingham. Aside from the Whatcom County Health Department’s 21,080 square foot building, most of the space is spread out among stand-alone buildings ranging in size from 2,500 to 9,000 square feet.