Bellevue’s big building boom

Arkadiy Tseytlin/Bellevue Reporter Downtown Bellevue is awash in construction as some projects near completion, while others will begin development. -
Arkadiy Tseytlin/Bellevue Reporter Downtown Bellevue is awash in construction as some projects near completion, while others will begin development.
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Downtown Bellevue is under construction, literally.

According to Mike Brennan, deputy director of Development Services for the City of Bellevue, downtown, has seen more growth this summer than ever before.

“This is the single biggest construction boom Bellevue has had, both in terms of square footage and value,” Brennan said.

With over a half dozen different projects currently in progress, navigating downtown’s busy streets may continue to be a hassle for some time to come. But Brennan is confident that once the chain link fencing is gone, the jack hammers silenced, Bellevue’s city center will be a more lively place to live, work and play.

“I think it is going to become a much more energized downtown with more activity both during the day and at night,” Brennan said. “In years past, it has been quiet after business hours, but hopefully some of the new projects will keep people on this side of lake for recreation and entertainment.”

Projects in the works right now represent a diverse mix of commercial, residential and retail. When this current development cycle is completed, downtown Bellevue will boast an estimated 1.7 million square feet of new office space, more than 2,500 new housing units and almost 800 additional hotel rooms.

Brennan said that of all the projects currently under construction, he considers The Bravern, a cluster of residential towers and office buildings, plus 300,000 square feet of retail at the corner of Northeast 8th Street and 112th Avenue Northeast, to be the most ambitious.

Patrick Bannon, spokesman for the Bellevue Downtown Association agreed, saying that The Bravern “will have a visible impact on the skyline.”

“That whole corner is really going to look a lot different than it did before,” he said.

According to Bannon, this season’s unprecedented construction boom has stemmed from several factors, such as strong job growth across the Eastside, the availability of land for redevelopment and the city’s commitment to providing amenities that are attractive to both to both perspective businesses and residents. However, he was quick to point out that although new projects often appear to spring out of nowhere, this summer’s growth is part of a long-term plan for the city that has been in motion for a number of years.

“It seems like a lot is happening at once, but, in fact, it has all been planned for,” Bannon said. “And the changes are pretty dramatic. You can see that much just by walking around downtown.”

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