Raelcorp Spotlight: Bellingham Student Housing Project in the News

Media Article.


Bellingham apartments aimed at WWU students could be built this summer


— Apartments primarily for Western Washington University students could start going up this summer at the site of a Seventh-day Adventist Church, a spokesman for the developer said.


The building with furnished rooms for up to 419 students, between Forest and Garden streets at Ivy Street, is undergoing design and environmental reviews at the city planning office. A building permit, and a demolition permit for two church buildings, could be issued by the summer. Schematic drawings on file at City Hall show a five-story building with a two-level parking garage below.


The building will include some dormitory-style four-bedroom, four-bathroom units, which were prohibited in a proposed university housing complex on Consolidation Avenue in the Puget neighborhood. The developer of that project, called University Ridge, backed out because it couldn’t house as many students as it had planned. Dorm-style apartments were allowed in the Forest Street project by the City Council in a new downtown plan adopted in September.


The project’s owner likely won’t need to pay property tax on the building for the first eight years, under another city program meant to encourage residential development downtown. Developers and city officials say that apartment buildings have sprung up in downtown Bellingham over the past decade or so thanks to the property-tax exemption.


“It’s probably one of the better policies the city has adopted to encourage residential development,” said Bill Geyer, a Bellingham planning consultant who represents the developer, Rael Development Corp. of Newport Beach, Calif.


The public can comment on the environmental review of the Forest Street project until March 30 by emailing city planner Chris Koch, ckoch@cob.org.


The project goes before the city’s Design Review Board at 3 p.m. on April 21 at City Hall, 210 Lottie St. The board will recommend to the planning director whether or not to approve the project. The Bellingham Seventh-day Adventists will move out of the 1957 church building at 910 Forest St. in late May or early June, pastor Brandon Korter said. The church’s sale of the property to the developer is pending, he said.


A large majority of the congregation voted to relocate and build a new church. The cost of upkeep on the two Forest Street buildings on the church lot was becoming excessive, Korter said. “This is nothing new for the four Adventist congregations in Whatcom County,” he said. “This has been forthcoming for literally three decades.”


Services will be held temporarily at the church’s school, Bakerview Christian School on Waschke Road north of Bellingham. The church will build a new sanctuary on a vacant lot next to the school, Korter said


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About Bellingham Herald

The Paper: The Bellingham Herald is the most widely read newspaper and news website in Whatcom County, reaching more than 57,000 local readers through the Bellingham Herald and BellinghamHerald.com each day. Our product can be found across several platforms including print, desktop and mobile sites, iPhone and Droid applications, and an E-edition.

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Raelcorp Spotlight: Memphis Student Housing Project in the News

Media Article.


Demand in University district prompts second developer project


Months after opening its first apartment community in Memphis, Rael Development Corp. is under construction on a second project and eyeing more opportunities locally. Located at 3655 Southern Ave., Gather on Southern is a 264-bed apartment project located just steps from the University of Memphis campus. It is a project of the Texas-based multifamily real estate developer primarily focused on student housing.


Rael Development currently is building a sister property for Gather on Southern. With 180 beds, the second apartment community – at 3595 Southern – will be smaller than its predecessor, but it will have many of the same amenities including a movie theater, student lounges, game room, swimming pool, fitness center and computer lab. Rael plans to finish construction on phase two next summer and open in the fall for the 2015-16 school year.


Memphis presented a good opportunity for Rael Development and its business model, which is “to identify the best located properties in any given market and build the highest quality product in any given market,” said Graeme Rael, company principal. “We thought there was a significant opportunity to come into Memphis and really raise the bar in terms of quality, amenities, design and management,” Rael said.


With a sleek, modern design and numerous amenities, Gather on Southern was fully leased when it opened to students this fall and has maintained its 100 percent occupancy rate. “The demand was clearly there,” Rael said.


The boutique multifamily development firm is expanding across the country. It has projects at the University of Arkansas and University of Mississippi as well as in West Coast markets. While Rael Development’s focus is primarily on student housing, it develops conventional multifamily as well. Rael said the company finds Memphis to be a dynamic place and is looking for more action locally.


“We’ve looked in and around Downtown for projects,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we did a few more projects in Memphis. We think it’s a great city.”


About High Ground News 

High Ground News is a weekly digital magazine and website focused on what’s next for the city of Memphis. We connect our readers to th city’s most visionary and active people, businesses and organizations – the folks who are making changes and solving problems. We coverbig corporate growth to small neighborhood movements, highlighting the development and innovation that are propelling Memphis forward. Our focus areas include economic and neighborhood development, healthy communities, entrepreneurship, non-profits, sustainability, leadership, technology and Innovation.