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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The new luxury wing on the JCPenney/Macy's garage has an official name, "The Bellevue"

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/322122_bellevuesquare03.html


$1 billion face-lift for Bellevue

By CRAIG HARRIS
P-I REPORTER

Kemper Freeman is at it again.

Roughly two years removed from opening Lincoln Square, the veteran mall developer is embarking on an estimated $1 billion, five-year renovation that will overhaul Bellevue Square, add 351 rooms to the nearby Hyatt Regency hotel and install upscale fashion boutiques.

When the dust settles, Freeman said another 2.5 million square feet will have been developed, and the crown jewel will be "The Bellevue," home to luxury shops, a five-star hotel and fine dining.

Freeman, one of the Eastside's most influential businessmen, said bringing luxury stores to Bellevue has "been a work in progress for 20 years" and luxury retailers who previously passed over the Northwest are changing their attitudes.

"We have had customer demand for a long time," said Freeman, chief executive of Kemper Development Co. "In the past, (luxury retailers) thought we just had the grunge look and did not have time to buy fancy clothes because we were out kayaking and climbing Mount Rainier."

The makeover of Freeman's Bellevue Collection -- a mix of retail, office and condominiums at Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place and Lincoln Square -- comes as rival developer Schnitzer West is building a 1.6-million-square- foot upscale retail project just a few blocks away near Meydenbauer Center.

The competition, called The Bravern, will include luxury retailer Neiman Marcus as the anchor tenant, a collection of 30 to 40 stores, office space, condominiums and restaurants. The project, named after brave, risk-taking entrepreneurs, is under construction and set to open in September 2009. Other retailers have not been named.

While The Bravern isn't slated to open for two years and Freeman's boutiques haven't even broken ground, they are being planned at a time when many national retailers are concerned about a downturn in consumer spending.

High gas prices and a sluggish housing market, which makes it more difficult to take equity out of homes, hurt retail sales in April before they rebounded slightly in May.

Despite the concerns, high-end stores such as Seattle-based Nordstrom have said demand continues to increase for luxury items, and Barneys New York last week opened at Pacific Place in downtown Seattle to have a bigger location and more prominence.

Those backing the Eastside retail projects say there is a pent-up demand for luxury stores in Bellevue, where the average family household income exceeds $100,000.

"We pursued upscale based on the research we found in the marketplace," said Tom Woodworth, senior investment director for The Bravern. "The good news is the market is deep and strong, as evidenced by the response we are getting to retailers on our site. Sales will bear out that there is enough room in the market."

Woodworth said additional evidence that Bellevue is a hot market for luxury retail is the decision by Dallas-based Neiman Marcus to open its first store in the Seattle area.

The retailer has said Schnitzer was developing a superior location for a unique shopping environment.

"Neiman Marcus is the pre-eminent upscale retailer. You don't recruit Neiman Marcus. They make their own decision," Woodworth said. "If they don't see a great location for a store, they don't locate in that market."

Freeman said The Bellevue, a retail collection on Bellevue Way Northeast between Northeast Sixth and Northeast Fourth streets, is slated to open in 2009, and it will include 130,000 square feet of street-front luxury retail.

Freeman declined to disclose the names of tenants, but he envisions The Bellevue rivaling other high-end retail destinations such as Fifth Avenue in New York, Newbury Street in Boston or Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

While the emphasis is on luxury stores, Freeman says there are other projects in the works.

Last week, a sky bridge connecting Lincoln Square to Bellevue Place opened, and Eddie Bauer began moving its headquarters from Redmond to Lincoln Square. The offices at Lincoln Square also will house some of Microsoft's employees. Other work includes:

# Adding 614,000 square feet for a second tower at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, which will have 20 stories and 351 rooms. The current hotel has 382 rooms. The addition will sport a 14,500-square-foot exhibit hall and an 18,000-square-foot ballroom. The plan calls for 1,000 square feet of new retail space and 500 additional underground parking spaces. Work has begun.

# Redesigning the lighting, flooring, seating and major entrances in Bellevue Square to have an "urban garden" theme. Work begins in August, and remodeling is scheduled from 9:30 p.m. to 9:30 a.m. in order to not disrupt customers. For the Christmas holiday, the work will stop in November and resume in January 2008.

# Doubling the size of the Banana Republic, Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma stores in Bellevue Square and adding parking on the west side of the mall. Work is under way.
 

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They have almost finished adding the new garage to the west side, near Nordstrom. I am excited about the mall getting a remodel as well.
 

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Well there easily enough luxury retail boutiques that Bellevue doesn't have that could fill The Bravern and Kemper projects. Now let's see if they are really are going to be able to snag them. By looking at the site for the shops at Bal Harbour, which is pretty spectacular shopping, I came up with the following;

Betsey Johnson
Chanel Boutique
Dior
Escada
St. John
Cartier
Emporio Armani
Burberry
Lacoste
Diesel
Ralph Lauren
Alfred Dunhill
Dooney & Bourke
Gucci
Hermes
Van Cleef & Arpels
Versace
Prada
Lois Vuitton
Ferragamo
Barney's
Bvlgari
Fendi
Harry Winston
Jimmy Choo
Baccarat
Dolce & Gabbana
Lulu Couture
Marc Jacobs
Oscar de La Renta
Piaget
Valentino
 

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As we get closer to the Safeway closing its old doors and Kemper will start getting ready to build build build!

Here is The Bellevue(small boutique hotel)in the old parking lot/building


Curved hotel facing the city park,with great views of growing Bellevue.


Across 4th is the Two new towers at the old Safeway.


I like the Galleria walks, East/West.
images from downtownbellevue.net
 

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The thing I like about the Galleria walk is that it actually connects to Bellevue Square. Looks like around JCPenneys. I never really liked the other skybridge to Lincoln which requires a stroll through the garage to go to Nordstrom or Macys.

Can't wait to see another block of Bellevue Way completed!

One thing they do need to do is change all these names. They're so generic. Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place, The Bellevue. Only reason Lincoln is what it is would be that it was already named before Kemper took it over.
 

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I like what Kemper is building. I only wish he'd wasn't an anti-transit voice for Bellevue. Transit improvements are necessary to make Bellevue's new density work. In fact, the exising transit is crucial to what Bellevue was even pre-boom. Many workers don't want to drive or can't afford it, and the road system isn't built for a massive influx. Bellevue's rail line is one of the biggest reasons I support RTID.
 

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I love the idea of a tiny, ultra-lux hotel atop the new high end stores. The understated curve of the b uilding is a nice addition to an already blossoming area. Great views too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I can't wait to see this get built. Any word on the timeframe for "The Bellevue"? This project will be competing directly with the Bravern for the upscale boutique tenants, will be interesting to see who ends up where.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
^
Yeah I've been wondering about Neiman-Marcus being way off to itself at the other end of downtown.

At least it'll scatter activity over a larger area.
Yeah, I've thought about that too. Some of the other projects on the east end of downtown will help bring some activity to that area too. Vida, Metro 112, and Elements Too will all have retail space which I would imagine will include some restaurants. The Marriott on 110th will help too. It's going to be cool to see that area of downtown liven up a bit. Don't forget that a new nightclub/lounge is opening at 989 Elements this fall.

Washington Square's second phase will also help bridge the gap between the Bellevue Collection and the east end by bringing new retail and restaurants along NE 8th. What I hope to see happen further down the road is for that crappy stretch of stores across NE 8th from WS to be developed and the huge parking lot adjacent to Yuen Lui as well. That will do wonders to making NE 8th a seamless urban thoroughfare from 405 all the way to Bellevue Way.
 

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Yeah, I've thought about that too. Some of the other projects on the east end of downtown will help bring some activity to that area too. Vida, Metro 112, and Elements Too will all have retail space which I would imagine will include some restaurants. The Marriott on 110th will help too. It's going to be cool to see that area of downtown liven up a bit. Don't forget that a new nightclub/lounge is opening at 989 Elements this fall.

Washington Square's second phase will also help bridge the gap between the Bellevue Collection and the east end by bringing new retail and restaurants along NE 8th. What I hope to see happen further down the road is for that crappy stretch of stores across NE 8th from WS to be developed and the huge parking lot adjacent to Yuen Lui as well. That will do wonders to making NE 8th a seamless urban thoroughfare from 405 all the way to Bellevue Way.

I would like to see a BIGGER redevelopment of Bellevue Square. For example, I would like to see the current westside parking garage be demolished, put underground, and a new shopping building that will potentially double or triple retail space in Bellevue Square. I believe Bellevue, the Seattle area, and Washington state is ready for a super-super-super-super upscale shopping mall to compete with the new mega malls of Asia.
 
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