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UPDATED: 4 projects made it under Tuesday’s Catalyst Program deadline

Fountain Place initial site plan (September 2019).

FERNDALE, Wash. — Applying within Tuesday’s deadline is the first hurdle facing 4 projects hoping to qualify as 1 of up to 3 City of Ferndale Catalyst Program projects eligible to have one-time development fees waived, such as water and sewer connection fees, permit fees and stormwater, traffic, school and impact fees. It has been estimated this represents between $250,000 to as much as $500,000 in savings to each project.

The Catalyst Program is intended to encourage building of multi-story residential buildings with commercial space in the hope these projects will serve as catalysts to be followed by other development that can revitalize the Ferndale downtown district.

To qualify, a project must include the following:

  • A minimum of 3 stories
  • A minimum 15 dwelling units
  • A minimum of 5,000 square feet
  • Be a new construction project
  • All onsite parking must be provided within the building footprint or behind the building
  • All residential parking must be provided onsite
  • Downtown design guidelines must be met

Locations of the 4 candidate Catalyst Program projects

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The following information has been taken from the initial renderings and information in the Catalyst Program applications and the City of Ferndale online permit center.



Total Floors: 3-story commercial building & 4-story residential building with 2 levels of parking
Residential Units: 32
Commercial Square Feet: 18,000
Brief description: Located on Main Street just west of the Public Library. The commercial building will be closest to Main Street.


OWNER: David Braithwaite
APPLICANT: David Braithwaite

Total Floors: 5
Residential Units: 27
Commercial Square Feet: 10,435
Brief Description: Located on the northeast corner of Alder Street and 4th Avenue. The building will abut an existing building on Alder Street.


OWNER: Martin and Teresa Hernandez
APPLICANT: David Braithwaite

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Total Floors: 6
Residential Units: 104
Commercial Square Feet: 10,123
Brief Description: Located where Chihuahua Mexican Restaurant and it’s parking lot are currently located between 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue along Vista Drive.


APPLICANT: David Braithwaite

Total Floors: 5
Residential Units: 124
Commercial Square Feet: 9,203
Brief Description: Located between 1st Avenue and Centennial Riverwalk Park and Main Street and Alder Street.

Applications that pass a technical review by city staff will be forwarded to a Catalyst Review Committee made up of 3 City Council members chosen by vote of the City Council, 1 Planning Commission member nominated by the mayor and approved by the Council and 1 member of the EAGLE Board nominated by the mayor and approved by the Council.

According to city staff, each applicant will be given the opportunity to present their project before the Catalyst Review Committee. Committee members will be authorized to ask technical questions of the applicants. The committee will then individually score each project based on public benefit, architectural design, site design and expected effectiveness as a catalyst. The committee can recommend up to 3 projects to the City Council for their approval to have each project’s city development fees waived.

In addition to possible benefits from the Catalyst Program, all the projects are candidates for the 8-year Multifamily Tax Exemption approved by the City Council last September according to City of Ferndale Assistant Planner Jesse Ashbaugh.

This story was updated at 8am on September 5th to include the projects’ eligibility to also be exempt from property tax for 8 years.

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  1. Jason Hagin September 4, 2019

    Maybe before Mr Braithwaite is approved for any more permits in the city of Ferndale he should demonstrate the ability to to be a good neighbor to the city and its residents. The removal of the sidewalk on vista dr a week before school starts, leaving walking students onto the road is one example of lack of judgement. The city should seriously consider his other unkept properties inside the city limits before he’s granted such a generous offer of low to no impact fees.

  2. Yvonne Goldsmith September 5, 2019

    Corporate welfare at its best. Where is the water coming from for all these units?

  3. Bob Bell September 5, 2019

    This is very good news for downtown! The down town business Association has been wanting these incentives for years. This generates revenue for the city and services downtown needs. Downtown Ferndale has a very bright future!

    Bob Bell

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