By Meghan Hall
Amazon’s commitment to the Eastside market of Bellevue seems to deepen daily as the e-commerce firm digs into numerous projects downtown. Most recently, Amazon has formally submitted its plans for Phase II of Bellevue 600, which the company believes will anchor downtown with a high-performing, 553,910 square foot, office tower.
“Phase Two will enrich downtown Bellevue with a high-performance office tower and an inviting, activated ground level,” states project documents obtained by The Registry. “Located in the heart of downtown adjacent to the Link Light Rail station and the Bellevue Transit Center, this site and building offer a unique opportunity to welcome and connect people traveling to and from downtown Bellevue. A variety of street-level uses – including retail, landscaped and programmed open spaces and gathering spaces – will generate a welcoming and dynamic 18-hour urban center.”
The current project site sits in between 108th Ave. NE and 110th Ave. NE and includes the existing Bellevue Corporate Plaza, which Amazon initially acquired in April of 2019 for $194.9 million. The corporate plaza will be demolished as part of the second phase, and the new tower that will rise in its place will support the various design and development goals initiated in Phase One, including an expansive mid-block connection and public open spaces. Phase Two is also expected to include 17,188 square feet of retail and 735 parking stalls.
Designed by NBBJ, the Phase Two tower will take advantage of a square footprint—located closer to the adjacent Grand Connection— in an effort to maximize view corridors and bring additional daylight into public plaza and office spaces. The building is further positioned so that it will be offset from Phase One, allowing the structures to look past each other. The building mass will be carved to best take advantage of the site context, while the podium will step back from the public plaza to enhance the pedestrian experience. A roof deck will serve to break down the scale of the building and further define its silhouette.
“Phase Two is designed to enliven downtown Bellevue and to create a vibrant and invigorating neighborhood and pedestrian experience as well as being responsive to the existing context to contribute to a more beautiful city center,” the project team explains. “…Phase 2 will integrate into the fabric of Bellevue, creating wonderful pedestrian spaces that connect all edges of the site while pursuing excellence in sustainable design.”
Active uses will be placed along the building’s northern edge, with retail storefronts, visual transparency and public seating zones. Exactly what materials will be proposed are yet unclear.
Phase One is currently undergoing land use reviews. The 43-story, one million square foot building is expected to be Bellevue’s tallest upon its completion. Construction of Phase One is expected for 2021, with building occupancy anticipated for 2024. Amazon is targeting to complete Phase Two of the project not long after, in 2025.
Amazon currently has about 3,000 Bellevue employees, but plans to increase that number to more than 25,000 over the next few years. The company has agreed to lease or develop nearly 6 million square feet of space across downtown Bellevue. Most recently, it agreed to lease Vulcan Real Estate’s 555 Tower and West Main, which together total about two million square feet. Amazon has also leased Trammell Crow Company’s Binary Towers, which include 750,000 square feet of space on 106th Ave. NE. The company has signed two-long-term full-building leases for the towers. Combined with its development activity in Bellevue, its leases signal growth and expansion on the Eastside for years to come.