Sunday, July 25, 2010


Although I love and live very close to downtown Bellingham, it still amazes me how more and more businesses are closing their doors in town due to the recession, high rents, etc. Yesterday, I saw Sportsman Chalet is moving, although only over to Sunnyland Square next to Trader Joes (a few blocks from my place). Another empty storefront in Downtown Bellingham. I think there is more empty space in the downtown area than occupied space.

Considering that real estate historically appreciated at not much more than a bank CD, and through this decade rose fivefold that amount per annum, I wonder how many people are closing their doors due to the overinflated rents? Or I wonder if the parking enforcement Nazis in town have anything to do with driving away business? (I've heard that "paid" parking does not even cover the cost of all the enforcement staff continuously plying the streets looking for these blatant criminals whose appointment in town may have run over by ten minutes.)

I am sure there are other reasons for this egress from downtown, but hopefully this trend will stabilize or reverse at some point. But after looking for space for a company in town, to say there is an overabundance of office space in town is an understatement.

But this is merely indicative of the bigger national problem. Low interest rates manipulated by the Federal Reserve, coupled with lax lending standards created the commercial real estate bubble (both images are from this article) that is not to often mentioned in the MSM. And I suspect this trend is likely to worsen over the next few years.

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