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Kemper Development announces $1.2 billion expansion in Bellevue

Construction is set to begin next year on a $1.2 billion expansion of The Bellevue Collection in downtown Bellevue. When completed in 2016, Kemper Development's retail-office-hotel complex will grow by two million square feet.

The move comes as Kemper Development has logged 48 consecutive months of sales increases. The number reflects retail sales of $853 per square foot, double the International Council of Shopping Center’s industry average.

“With the influx of high net worth individuals and the area’s booming tech market, luxury retailers have been circling the Pacific Northwest region in search of high profile locations for some time,” said Kemper Freeman, the third generation to head the company that bears his name. “With nearly 95,000 square feet of new, high profile, street front and additional interior space, our expansion will give luxury retailers the presence they have been looking for, and the sophisticated Northwest consumers the shopping experience they crave.”

In addition to more than 375,000 square feet of new retail, dining and entertainment space, The Bellevue Collection’s mixed-use expansion plans include 700,000 square feet of Class-A office space, a 250-room luxury hotel, an additional boutique hotel, approximately 500 high-end residential units and an additional 3,700 free parking spaces in two 6-level underground parking garages.

The new complex has been anticipated for some time now. In January, Kemper bought the property on which family-owned Oriental Rug Co. is located. The $3.13 million purchase will facilitate the construction of two residential towers and a hotel.

“Bellevue and the entire Eastside community have come a long way since my father, Kemper Freeman Sr., first opened Bellevue Square more than 65 years ago, serving a sparse population of 25,000 residents,” Freeman said in a statement.

Today, the 4 million square foot Bellevue Collection is home to more than 250 stores and restaurants including 25 destination restaurants, a 16-screen premiere cinema, luxury Westin and Hyatt Regency hotel rooms, 148 luxury condominiums, over a million square feet of office space and 10,000 free retail parking spaces.

When completed, the expansion will include a new, luxury hotel with 240 guest rooms and suites, a 31-story office tower, three sky bridges and a total of 13,700 free parking spaces.

“Over the past six decades, The Bellevue Collection has become the heart and soul of a vibrant, bustling region," said Sandeep Krishnamurthy Dean of the UW Bothell's Business program in that same statement.

The Bellevue Collection had its beginnings in 1945 when Freeman's grandfather teamed up with a professional urban planner to try to stem the flow of war workers who were leaving Bellevue after the end of World War II. After a survey of local businesses and a fact-finding tour of the nation's then two shopping centers, Bellevue Shopping Square was opened with 16 stores. By the end of the following year, the number of stores increased to 20, including Frederick & Nelson, the Marshall Field’s retail empire’s first shopping center department store.

The center was renamed Bellevue Square in 1955 and JCPenney became the development’s second department store anchor. By the close of the decade, Bellevue Square had grown to 45 stores, adding its third major anchor, Seattle-based Nordstrom, in 1966.

Bellevue Place was developed in the 1980s and Lincoln Square joined the complex in 2005.

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