Mural Building

Ron Hanson and Time Keiper plan to add two floors for six residential units above the existing Mural Building at 610 Front St. The building currently features a 142-foot mural of various Dutch scenes painted by Bill Swinburnson in 2002, which will be preserved with a 10-foot no-build restriction. (Courtesy rendering)

Terms set on parking spaces, mural protection for two-floor add   

LYNDEN ­— The City Council on Sept. 3 dealt with several side details of the planned conversion of 610 Front St. — for decades The Lynden Tribune building — into three levels of condominiums.

The two developers, Ron Hanson and Tim Keiper, sat in the audience as the council passed four motions related to various aspects of their ambitious project.

The two partners, as limited liability companies, intend to add two more full floors, for six total residential units, above what is now operated mainly as Lynden’s liquor store. Also, on the building’s west side, as entrance to downtown, is the heavily photographed 142-foot mural of Dutch scenes painted by Bill Swinburnson in 2002.

The plans for the mixed-use commercial remodel also got a viewing by the city Design Review Board in August.

This is what the council approved for the Mural Building Property:

  • a parking agreement allowing up to nine parking spaces on city-owned parking  lots downtown.   

The nearest lot is right at Front and Seventh streets, although two others could also be used.

The city will grant an easement for three of those parking spaces and a licensed permit for the six others, the latter each costing $240 to start. 

The reasoning is that the condo owners’ need for parking will mostly complement, not compete with, daytime business use of the parking lots. This is similar to the agreement worked out for partial use of the Lynden Senior Center parking lot by The Inn at Lynden, said councilor Gary Bode.

The city also wants to promote more residential units downtown.

Although only six parking spaces are needed by a strict reading of the rules for downtown, it’s best to figure on two vehicles per dwelling unit, Planning Director Heidi Gudde told the council.

Hanson and Keiper will create three parking spaces on their own property at the alley.

  • protection of the west-facing mural with a 10-foot no-build easement.

The restriction makes sure nothing is built impeding a view of the mural, which the developers want to preserve fully. 

This also may allow for more appealing architecture on the added upper levels of the Mural Building “by permitting windows on a property-line wall (which would otherwise be prohibited by fire code),” according to council papers.

The covenant keeps up normal use of the parking lot.

  • allowing a temporary construction easement along the same property line with the parking lot. The one-year agreement applies to the construction project only.
  • use of the northeast corner of the Seventh-and-Front parking lot for a dumpster to be set out on the weekly day of garbage collection.

This week, partner Tim Keiper said they had hoped to begin building work in earnest in October, but that is pushed back more likely to December to let an engineer do his work. “We’re waiting for the first North-easter to arrive,” he joked.