In recent years, downtown Bellingham has seen many changes. And in many cases, Daylight Properties has been a big part of them. From historic building restorations to working with non-profit companies to enhance the vitality of the area, Daylight has had direct impact on many of the places Bellinghamsters hold dear.
The company recently lent both its real estate and checkbook to help several organizations with various projects, which in turn have had a positive effect on downtown and beyond.
“We really love to help with the positive change,” says Daylight CEO Kane Hall. “Anything that can help bring more people downtown, and celebrate our city center.”
Creating a more efficient downtown area where residents can shop, dine, be entertained, help non-profits—and feel safe while doing it—is a big part of Daylight Properties’ mission. It’s a mission that’s also shared by the Downtown Bellingham Partnership (DBP).
“What they’ve done to enhance downtown has really helped us,” says Alice Clark, DBP’s executive director. “They see the potential of projects to be the kind of catalysts that keep moving downtown forward.”
In addition to investing in aesthetic enhancements like downtown murals, alleyway renovations and historic restorations, Daylight is a donor to DBP’s Main Street Tax Incentive Program. The program allows businesses who donate funds to get 75 percent of their donation back as a credit on their state Business & Occupation (B&O) taxes. The donated money, in turn, goes directly towards local downtown enhancement projects. This year, Daylight gave $9,000 towards the program.
Daylight is a supporting sponsor of many downtown events, including Western Washington University’s “Paint Bellingham Blue” event. They also gifted color-changing LED lights to the side of the recently opened Hotel Leo.
Clark, executive director of Pickford Film Center from 2003 to 2015, says Daylight has also supported the independent theater in numerous ways. PFC started its existence in the Daylight-owned Allied Arts Building on Cornwall Avenue, where PFC’s Limelight Cinema now operates. In addition to providing affordable leasing, Daylight was quick to help PFC with a plan to own their own theater.
Daylight was a founding donor to the creation of Pickford’s Bay Street location, giving $100,000 towards the project. Clark says the donation helped on more than just an obvious financial level: it gave the project credibility and encouraged others to join, helping make the long-awaited dream a reality.
Susie Purves, PFC’s current executive director, says Daylight recently provided the Allied Arts Building a new awning, perfect for patrons hanging around outside before or after seeing a film.
“It’s been an excellent relationship,” Purves says. “They’re very approachable and important members of the downtown community.”
Daylight has also worked to best utilize occasional vacancies in the building, allowing spaces to be set-up areas for Art Walk artists, including indigenous artists from Lummi Nation.
Daylight’s ownership of the Herald Building has also resulted in many positives. The company allowed both Western and Northwest Youth Services—who are tenants in the building—to auction off Herald rooftop space for fundraising purposes. Western’s Viking Night auction of the space generated over $2,000, while NWYS’s gala auction raised $2,400. The winner of the latter auction plans to conduct a rooftop fundraiser, generating additional funds for NWYS.
The Herald roof also helps local media, serving as antenna host to local independent radio station KMRE 102.3 FM, a tenant in Daylight’s Bellingham National Bank Building. The antenna location has allowed KMRE’s signal to be boosted farther and more efficiently than in its previous location.
In addition to allowing non-profits to use the Herald Building’s third-floor conference room, Daylight has also provided use of the Herald parking lot area for events. This includes the Bellingham Bay Marathon, April Brews Day—which raised funds for Lydia Place—and the Bellingham Farmers Market. For the latter, Sehome Athletics was allowed to sell parking spots during market hours as a fundraiser.
Daylight Properties was a major donor towards having the Depot Market Building built, which of course has become a popular event spot and home to the Bellingham Farmers Market.
Last but not least, Daylight has also contributed to Lighthouse Mission Ministries (LHM) and their resources for the homeless. Two letters from the old Herald sign—an “L” and an “H”—were donated to the non-profit, which then attached them to the side of two LHM facilities. Like the concept of a lighthouse, Hall says the letters serve LHM’s purpose as a beacon for those in need. This is especially apropos, considering the Herald sign long served as a navigation aid for ships and planes entering the area.
Daylight also donated $5,000 towards a portable shower trailer that’s part of LHM’s outreach program. The trailer has provided more than 2,000 showers this year, giving those who use them both better hygiene and dignity. Hans Erchinger-Davis, LHM’s executive director, says the showers also serve as a point of relational connection between the homeless and those trying to help them.
“People don’t become homeless because they’ve run out of resources; they become homeless because they’ve run out of relationships,” he says. “It’s hard to trust anybody. So, what does it take to get out of survival mode and begin the long, hard work of healing your situation? It takes a trusting relationship, and so this shower trailer is an effort to that end.”
The trailer visits four different locations four days a week. Erchinger-Davis says they’re incredibly thankful for donations from private entities like Daylight, as they receive no government funds to carry out their goals.
“Daylight Properties is a champion of the mission and the work we do,” he says.
For Hall, being able to give back to the community in which his company does business is a source of immense pride, and something he hopes will keep Bellingham moving forward.
“There are so many ways for us to contribute and work together towards making not just downtown, but Bellingham and Whatcom County, a great place to live, work and play,” he says. “For me, it’s one of the most satisfying things I get to do in my work here.”