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Bellevue’s Lincoln Square to expand
With a golden shovel in hand, Kemper Freeman lobbed a few clumps of earth into a wheel barrel and quickly apologized for any added work it might create for the crew that will be responsible for constructing Lincoln Square 2, which marked the beginning of the $1.2 billion Bellevue Collection expansion on Wednesday.
The Lincoln Square expansion by the Kemper Development Company includes an office tower with 700,000 square feet of office space and 177,000 square feet for retail, dining and entertainment. Another tower between the office building and Westin Bellevue will be for a 244-room designer hotel with 250 luxury high-rise apartments. In all, the expansion will add two million square feet of retail, office, hotel, dining and residential space once work is completed along Bellevue Way.
The expansion is planned to open fall 2016.
Freeman announced during last week’s groundbreaking ceremony the construction will quickly create 4,000 new jobs in the city, teasing the pay will be more than the $15 an hour jobs ‘that seem to be so popular these days."’As a nod to Bellevue Deputy Mayor Kevin Wallace, who joined in the ceremonial shoveling, Freeman added the city will gain $120 million in tax revenue from the project before future tenants even start paying rent.
Freeman’s company is also looking to expand use of the company’s downtown Bellevue helicopter pad. According to a story in the King County Business Journal, Kemper Development, is asking the City of Bellevue to allow the use of single-engine helicopters on the company’s helipad on the roof of the Bank of America tower.
This would be a reversal of a 2012 conditional use permit, granted by the Bellevue City Council, that limited the company’s use to twin-engine helicopters on safety grounds.
The request was briefly halted after the crash of the KOMO helicopter crash in Seattle in the Spring.
Under current Bellevue code, private helicopters aren’t allowed to land and take off within Bellevue at all, but Kemper Development was grandfathered in from a 2008 permit application.