Downtown Catalyst Program

In April 2019, the City Council passed the Downtown Catalyst Incentive Program. This unique program is aimed at helping our downtown come alive. Right now, retail business struggles downtown and very few people can be found walking around after 5pm or on the weekends. The City is committed to building a downtown that is full of life, economic activity and thriving businesses.

The City has tried various incentives or programs over the last decades to support our downtown businesses but it has had little impact. It was time for something dramatic.

Looking at other municipalities – there was one factor that had the biggest impact on downtown business: how many people lived in the downtown core. If people are living within walking distance of their downtown, they shop, eat, and play in the downtown at all hours.

The Catalyst was developed by our planning commission and Community Development staff before being discussed, revised and ratified by our council.

The City solicits proposals that include:

  • 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

These proposals are then scored and vetted by a special subcommittee made up of three councilmembers, a planning commissioner and an EAGLE board member.

They then pass that recommendation on to the council who can approve zero to three of these proposals. If approved, they have their one-time permit fees waived.

Below are application materials from the four proposals received by the deadline. More details are available on request. 

The City welcomes any feedback from the public on this proposals. Please send all comments to comment@cityofferndale.org and put “Catalyst” in the subject line.

For any questions about the Catalyst program, please call Community Development Director Haylie Miller at 360-685-2367.

Fountain Place

Address: 1985 Main Street.

Details: This four-story project includes 36 studios, 21 1-bedroom and 67 two-bedroom units for a total of 124 units. The project also includes 9,203 square feet of commercial space on the first floor, with an additional public space and public bathrooms adjacent to the Riverwalk. Parking is provided in a garage below the structure.

Applicant: David Braithwaite

Application Materials:

Alder Plaza

Address: Fourth Avenue

Details: This five story project includes 22-24 one and two bedroom residential units. It also includes 9,160 square feet of commercial space on the first floor with a parking garage installed below the structure.

Applicant: David Braithwaite

Application Materials:

Martin’s Place

Address: 5694 Third Avenue

Details: This five-story project includes 104 one and two bedroom units. It also includes 10,143 square feet of commercial area on the first floor with a parking garage installed below the structure.

Applicant: David Braithwaite

Application Materials: 

Twins on Main Street

Address: 2130 Main Street

Details: The project consists of two buildings that will share access, parking and other infrastructure. The building fronting Main Street is a three story structure with 18,000 square feet of commercial space, with retail on the first floor and the middle and upper level intended for small professional office space and a larger sit-down type restaurant.

The building on the southern part of the property will include 32 residential units (one, two and three bedroom configurations) as well as a 5,200 square foot common area.

Applicant: Sam Boulos

Application Materials: 

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