By Meghan Hall
What could become the tallest development in downtown Bellevue is officially in the works, per project materials submitted to the City of Bellevue by Seneca Development on behalf of Amazon earlier this week. Called Bellevue 600, the pre-application submitted details what Phase One of the development would be: a 43-story, 1,036,000 square foot office tower with ground floor retail.
The project, to be located at 108th Ave. NE. and 110th Ave. NE., would be broken down into 442,034 square feet of structured parking totaling 1,175 spaces, 885,000 square feet of office space and 14,000 square feet of retail. The new building will step back from the Grand Connection along NE 6th Street, and a new major public space at the corner of 110th Ave. NE and 6th will be created. A mid-block vehicular thoroughfare, as well as a pedestrian corridor, will help to activate the offices, meeting center, common spaces and retail at the northwest corner of the project site.
Early renderings of the building indicate the tower will include a 40-foot tall podium, and the upper levels will have floor plates ranging between 23,000 and 24,000 square feet in size. Preliminary plans detail two different design alternatives. Described by architecture firm NBBJ in planning documents, the development team’s preferred alternative shows a tower broken down into three slender bars to create a simple gateway into downtown Bellevue. The meeting center would be to the south of the tower creating a larger plaza, while terracing to the west will continue to break down the massing of the building.
Amazon purchased the project site, currently developed with the 256,830 square foot Bellevue Corporate Plaza, in April of 2019 for $195 million, according to King County public records. The 10-story structure and adjacent 650-stall parking structure was sold by Chicago-based real estate equity investment trust Equity Commonwealth.
At the time of the sale, Equity Commonwealth had been planning a similar project that would include a 41-story hotel with retail. The current Corporate Center was renovated in 2016 and is right next to the Bellevue Transit Center. With its purchase, Amazon’s footprint in downtown Bellevue expanded to more than one million square feet. In August of 2018, Amazon signed a 16-year lease for more than 400,000 square feet at 333 108th Ave. N.E., just up the street from the site. Also owned by Equity Commonwealth, Amazon is expected to move in in 2020. Amazon is also expected to move into Summit III, leasing 17 stories across 377,000 square feet in December of 2018.
2,000 Amazon employees currently work in Bellevue — the city where the firm was founded — and the submittal of plans for 600 Bellevue indicate the company’s long-term commitment to growth on the Eastside.