- Associated Press - Sunday, December 21, 2014

LYNDEN, Wash. (AP) - Developers plan to renovate and rename a historic building in downtown Lynden, and city leaders hope the project changes the way people see the place that’s just south of the Canadian border.

The former Delft Square building will become the Waples Mercantile Building, and include a 35-room inn and nearly 10,000-square feet of retail space. The owners envision a restaurant or brewery becoming a tenant, the Bellingham Herald reported (https://is.gd/M814jL).

The building that’s on the National Register of Historic Places caught fire in June 2008. While the inside was heavily damaged, much of the exterior is in good shape. Because it’s historic, developers will use material similar to what was originally used, when possible, and restore cornices and other items that maintain the character of the building.

“It will be a very modern building in a historical context,” said Jeff McClure, one of the owners.

The new name honors William H. “Billy” Waples, an entrepreneur who for decades operated the nationally known Lynden Department Store in the building.

Gary Vis, executive director of the Lynden Chamber of Commerce, said the importance of the remodel extends beyond the building to the entire downtown and could help fill vacant spaces nearby.

“(This project) changes the way visitors and residents look at downtown,” Vis said.

Developers recently filed building permit applications. With construction expected to start soon, the owners target an October 2015 completion date.

“It’s been a lot of work getting to this point, but I have a terrific interest in downtowns like Lynden,” McClure said. “It’s just fun to be a part of this downtown.”

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Information from: The Bellingham Herald, https://www.bellinghamherald.com

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