Downtown Bellevue has boomed in the last couple of decades, and more growth is on the way.
Since its incorporation, the city had its humble start as a suburb 10 miles east of Seattle now to a booming city center housing 139,400 residents.
The fifth-largest city in the state has experienced its immense growth due to several factors within its downtown. The most observable development has been its dense residential neighborhood. It boasts the second largest city center in the state. And within that contains towering condominiums, restaurants and hotels.
Anna Riley of Windermere Real Estate in an article from Mansion Global, said the “once sleepy suburb” is the place where everyone wants to live.
“Bellevue has come into its own with a vibrant business community and world-class shopping and restaurants,” Riley said. “The rate of appreciation for homes on the east side of Lake Washington has outpaced Seattle over the past few years. Locals attribute that to less traffic than the city, larger lot sizes, waterfront parks, the school district and a forward-thinking, collaborative local government.”
With this, it’s no wonder that several new apartment projects have been underway in its downtown.
Despite mass urban growth Bellevue, meaning “beautiful view,” has still lived up to its name and certainly deviates itself from a concrete jungle. The buildings are colorful and scenic. It’s skyline stands out among the most vibrant in the Pacific Northwest after Seattle and Portland. The opening of new business structures will only add to its aesthetics.
In the same article, Dean Jones of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty said Bellevue is highly coveted, and “remains one of the most sought-after and valuable submarkets in the Seattle metro area.” Condos alone in the area have an average price tag of $581,000.
City growth has been seen mostly in Lincoln Square, where residential structures are being placed within walking distance of city attractions and work.
The most notable housing structures have been put up in the last decade. Towering residential structures dominate the skyline, including the Avalon Towers, Belcara and the 450-foot tall Bellevue Towers Two.
There are still plans for more residential structures. Such aspirations are reminiscent of a Seattle-like hub. As of 2017, Bellevue contains a growing demographic. The folks moving in are also getting younger.
“A lot of the millennials, they want to be where the action is,” said Mike Brennan, Bellevue’s development services director from a Seattle Times article. “That’s why they’re building this stuff. There’s a market for it. It’s creating a lively, energetic, interesting neighborhood where people want to live.”
So what’s exactly the market? A lot of things. As Ms. Riley alluded to, Bellevue appears to have a bit of everything for a young demographic.
For starters, it’s location.
Though Bellevue might be overshadowed by the its bigger sister Seattle, it has a lot of its own appeal. Less traffic congestion in the city and easy access to its beautiful outdoor parks are just some of its perks in contrast to the larger city.
Its natural surrounding adds to the city. Stuff that outdoorsy types would enjoy.
Bellevue is flanked by two swimmable waterfronts—Lake Washington to the west, and Lake Sammamish to the east.
It’s also bordered by miles of nature trails. Outdoor parks within the cityscape break up the urban sprawl.
On the western beach of Lake Sammamish is Weowna Park Trails with its forested two-and-half miles of trails and a lakeside view. On the waterfront facing Lake Washington are the Meyenbauer and Chism beach Parks.
Bits of nature break the up the interior of Bellevue including the 20-acre Downtown Park just south of the mall.
It gets even better within the actual city. Downtown Bellevue—Washington’s second largest city center—contains restaurants, five-star hotels, spas and Bellevue Square Mall.
Much of the convenience is beneath the high-rises. The wider streets of Bellevue puts a damper on inner-city traffic, and its ample array of parking garages makes access to some of its attractions all the more convenient. Sky bridges that connect structure-to-structure over the streets also make pedestrian commute all the easier.
There’s things to do in Bellevue, but also plenty of places to work.
There hasn’t just been the spike of living quarters, Bellevue has been gaining the reputation of being an enclave for software developers, and those jobs require space.
Several well-known corporations have been established in the region, including; Amazon, Expedia, TMobile, Apple, Microsoft, Bungie, Valve, WeWork, Symetra and Boeing.
The spike of buisiness development can be traced back in the early 2000s, such as when video game company Valve moved from its Kirkland Location to a much larger building in Lincoln Square in 2003.
The business sector does claim the fifth-tallest building, which is the all-office Lincoln Square North standing 412 feet erected in 2007.
The demand for software workers shouldn’t be much of a surprise seeing that Washington is one of four states where software development is the leading occupation. An article by TechCrunch cites the Bureau of Statistics stating that Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metro regions “has more software developers than any other tech region.” That even includes the Silicon Valley.
And those kinds of jobs will keep rolling in. Seattle conglomerate Amazon—which alone has acquired
8.5 million square feet
in 34 Seattle buildings—is expected to expand its office space into Bellevue. It already acquired Centre 425, a 354,000-square-foot on 106th avenue and the acquisition of two more buildings is in the works based on an excerpt from a recent bizjournal article, in response to the Seattle head tax.
"This just makes Bellevue look all that more attractive," said Jon Julnes, the owner of Snohomish-based Tilco Vanguard Inc.
The trend of tech companies impacting city growth has been detailed by an article written by Constructiondive, not suprisingly in Seattle.
After all, it was summarized it as it as “[when a] tech company sets up shop in a city, certain results are a given. Temporary construction employment will get a boost — the size of which depends on the scope of the company's new offices — and there will likely be job opportunities for local residents, sometimes a significant number if the firm is new and not so many if it is bringing its workforce with it.”
Where there are jobs there is community development, and it’s proved no different for Bellevue.
With its combination of inner-city gems, outdoors and the demand to accommodate the needs for local workers or even visitors, Bellevue has plenty room to grow. Not just construction but reworking and consolidation of existing structures. The in-progress East Link light rail system which will connect Bellevue to Seattle will create more traffic convenience as detailed by the City of Bellevue.
According to the Economic Developmental Council of Seattle and King County, expansion will continue until 2035.