The Mill Inn, located in the Lynden windmill, is no longer operating as a public hotel. (Ashley Hiruko/Lynden Tribune)

Youth mission North Cascades base needs more housing for growth

LYNDEN ­— The Mill Inn is no longer operating as a public hotel. Its seven rooms will now be used by the YWAM North Cascades base.

Business co-owner Tim Broersma said that the inn in the iconic Dutch-style windmill downtown did become profitable after its opening in September 2016.

But, Broersma said, “at the end of the day it’s hard to keep up with just seven rooms,” and the inn became too much of a pull away from his other business concerns.

Effective Nov. 1, the lease of the space in the overall Dutch Village Mall building was transferred to YWAM, which does training for short-term Christian ministry and outreach in the world. A new team of 35 youths recently started their three-month stay in Lynden, and three more such teams are anticipated in 2019.

The acquired space will be used primarily for out-of-town guests — missionaries, progam participants and volunteers, said Jeremy Dorrough, base director. Little conversion will be needed.

The building owner is Canoe Street LLC, a partnership of the Hall family of Bellingham.

A back portion of the mall building already functions as housing for YWAM participants, and seven leases around Lynden also fill housing, office and program needs, Dorrough said.

Broersma, who also sits on an advisory board for YWAM North Cascades, said the Lynden base is one of the fastest growing in the YWAM network. Mission founder Loren Cunningham came for the opening of the base in July 2015.

Broersma had been a partner with Brian Davidson in the inn.

The Mill by Perfectly Paired, a bistro and lounge on the ground floor of the windmill, remains in operation without change.

The other main occupant of the mall is Elements Hospitality, which renovates hotel, resort and senior properties. About 30 employees are at the Lynden site. Broersma is a principal partner with Greg Neufeldt.

Broersma said he is glad to have had the experience of being a hotelier himself, and he thanks those who supported him with reservations. “It was a blast. Whole wedding parties stayed here,” he said.

But reservations are now closed off, and he is directing lodging inquiries to The Inn at Lynden down the street in the Waples Mercantile Building.