By Meg Olson
After 10 years on the drawing board, Blackfish Resort has applied for building permits with an eye on opening its doors on Marine Drive next to Lighthouse Marine Park in May 2018.
General manager Steve O’Neill said the company had submitted a complete building permit application to Whatcom County Planning and Development Services on February 3, five days before the conditional use permit for the project was set to expire.
Blackfish will be a 32-room resort, constructed using the existing cannery building on Marine Drive, with an addition to the southeast and an added story in some sections. The current building is 17,500 square feet; the finished resort will be 37,747 square feet.
The property is owned by Washington state-registered Turnstone Properties, Inc.; the company’s president is Tod Manrell according to the secretary of state’s registry of corporations.
“Now there’s about a year of pre-construction work that needs to be done,” O’Neill said. The resort is working with architect David King to meet the standards for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification through the U.S. Green Building Council, which covers a wide swath of areas that address sustainability and resource efficiency.
O’Neill met with the Point Roberts Community Advisory Committee at their January 12 meeting to reaffirm the project’s commitment to adhering with the character plan as it evolves. “We would like to build something more Pacific Northwest Modern,” O’Neill said, which is a direction the character plan review committee had been taking their proposals.
Plans for the resort include a spa, cocktail lounge and two restaurants, open to the public as well as resort guests. The restaurants will be supplied by produce from the resort’s extensive gardens and orchards and in-house bakery. “It is really a farm-to-table concept,” O’Neill said.
The main building will house the fine dining restaurant, while an existing red building close to the road will be expanded and be home to a casual bistro, alongside a catering and teaching kitchen and a greenhouse.
“We will be bringing in guest chefs and teaching classes to the general public,” O’Neill said.
Another public amenity will be a walking trail that weaves through the property’s orchards to the beach.
O’Neill is pleased that the project will fit into the natural landscape. Despite the project’s shoreline location the company did not ask for any variances, electing to restore rather than change the shoreline habitat. “We’re bringing it back to where it should be,” he said.
Asked to describe what the company saw as the overall theme of the resort, O’Neill said, “Understated elegance. It’s going to look like it belongs here.”