November 3, 2021 Dena Jensen
It’s been almost three months since I made a blog post about City of Ferndale permits being issued and/or processed for an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office on the business property of Mahmoud Boulos in Ferndale. I have done some more research recently and have additional details to share about this office that is hiding in plain sight in Whatcom County, at 1380 and 1390 Commerce Place in Ferndale.
12 weekly Dignity Vigils have been held, so far, to raise community awareness that an office of an agency is lurking quietly in their midst which is involved in separating too many of our Whatcom immigrant neighbors from their families and friends who support them, and are supported by them.
Buzzfile, a company database, has an entry on the Mahmoud B. Boulos enterprise, which states:
Mahmoud B Boulos, which also operates under the name Boulos Enterprises, is located in Ferndale, Washington. This organization primarily operates in the Nonresidential Building Operators business / industry within the Real Estate sector. This organization has been operating for approximately 40 years. Mahmoud B Boulos is estimated to generate $105,256 in annual revenues, and employs approximately 6 people at this single location.
In searching on similar light industrial properties in the neighborhood of the ICE office, I found an entry on Compstak, a property information website, that indicated there is a 20 year lease for 1390 Commerce Place to the General Services Administration (GSA). The ‘About’ webpage for the GSA explains that this government agency, “…provides workplaces by constructing, managing, and preserving government buildings and by leasing and managing commercial real estate. GSA’s acquisition solutions offer private sector professional services, equipment, supplies, and IT to government organizations and the military.”
With that connection made, I was then able to find a related entry on Loren Data’s SAM Daily website. Their home page states, in part, “SAM.gov is the official listing of all Federal government contracting opportunities and awards over $25,000, and is mandated by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR Part 5).”
It is there that I learned that the GSA awarded a lease agreement to Mahmoud Boulos for 1380 and 1390 Commerce Place, Ferndale, Washington, United States. There was a hefty monetary reward from the GSA, listed as $19,916,499.74.
There seems to be a difference in the lease date that is provided by the two different websites. Compstak lists it as 2020, and the more detailed report on the SAM Daily website shows an “award date,” of June 12, 2018.
To remind folks of one way it is known that this property is being used by the government for an ICE office, the City of Ferndale has posted permitting information on the property showing that it is. One 2020 document from a little over a year ago notes permitting action to: “PLACE ENTRANCE CABLE TO NEW DHS-ICE BUILDING AT 1390 COMMERCE PL PER CUSTOMER REQ FOR SERVICE FROM ZIPLY FIBER.”
Additionally, at least one piece of information is available which indicates that Mahmoud Boulos businesses are willing to be shown as aware and supportive of their involvement with brining ICE to Ferndale. This is located in a project proposal submitted at the end of 2019 to the City of Ferndale related to its Downtown Catalyst Incentive Program. The project proposal was for the “Twins Buildings on Main Street.”
The proposal offers background on the owner of the property for the proposed project at 2130 Main Street, Ferndale, WA, 98248. The property owner is noted as being SYB Holding Co. Like Boulos Enterprises, this is another business owned by Mahmoud Boulos.
It is general knowledge that Mahmoud Boulos, is also known as Sam Boulos, and within the “Owner Information” portion of the Catalyst project document, it states:
When Sam purchased the property, which is now called Pacific Industrial Park in 1993, the land was wide open for development. Sam relocated his office and warehouse to Pacific Industrial Park in 1999 from Bellingham so that he could be on hand to the building of the park as well as living in the town he was proud to call home. The building of the park started in 2007 and he has brought many industries to Ferndale in this business park.
The owner information continues on, and eventually provides a list of these industries, which includes ICE among them.
There’s definitely more to this story that will hopefully be revealed, but we don’t have to know anymore than we do right now, to take action to make it known that ICE is not welcome in Ferndale or anywhere else in our county! The next Dignity Vigil will be Monday November 8, at noon! Meet at the corner of Pacific Highway and Admiral Way in Ferndale to gather with others. Signs are provided.