By Meghan Hall
Even as the commercial real estate industry debates the future of urban cores, developers are not shying away from downtown Bellevue. There, landowners and developers are moving ahead with massive projects set to transform the city’s skyline in coming years. One of the latest projects proposed comes from Hines and Benenson Capital Partners. The pair of firms have submitted a land-use application detailing plans to replace an aging retail asset with a 1.4 million square foot project called Main Street Place.
Architecture firms GGLO and KPF are listed as part as the project team in preliminary documents submitted to the City. According to plans, the team’s plans for the site total 1.418 million square feet, with more than 1.009 million of commercial and office uses and 409,000 square feet—or about 400 units— of residential. About 89,000 square feet of active uses are also planned. The square footage will be divided between three office buildings ranging from seven stories to 15 stories in height, and three residential buildings between five and eight stories tall. Retail and active uses will be incorporated into the ground floor of all buildings. 1,500 parking spaces are also proposed.
A number of principles are guiding the project’s layout and design. Documents state that Hines and Benenson hope that the development will act as a “cohesive new gateway to Downtown Bellevue that crafts a range of spatial experiences – both at grade and throughout the architecture above.” The creation of a dynamic live-work-play environment through a new town square and surrounding mixed-use development, as well as the activation of public spaces and the ground plane are also key components to Main Street Place’s design.
While more specific design details such as massing and materiality are to be determined, the project team plans on drawing inspiration from another of precedents, including One Madison, Hudson Yards and Prudential’s headquarters at Atrium Tower. The City is expected to review the project’s preliminary outline in the coming week, but timing for construction and delivery is also to be determined. Hines declined to comment on the project or its status, stating in an email to The Registry it was not ready to remark on Main Street Place at this time.
The debut of plans for Main Street Place come as Hines is wrapping up another project downtown: Summit III. The 370,000 square foot tower is expected to be completed next year and is 100 percent leased to Amazon.
In the coming years, a number of large development projects will come online in Bellevue’s Central Business District. In 2022, Trammell Crow and Metlife are expected to wrap construction on their 1001 Office Towers, which total 715,000 square feet. Vulcan’s 55 108th, which totals 970,000 square feet will come online in 2023, while its 1.1 million square foot West Main Project will be completed in 2024. All three projects are leased to Amazon. Also in Bellevue’s CBD is Skanska’s The Eight, a 552,000 square foot building, and The Artise, a 510,000 square foot project proposed by Schnitzer West. Both projects will be completed over the course of the next several years.
A recent report released by Broderick Group indicates that even though the short-term impacts of COVID-19 have not been favorable for dense markets and towers such as those found in downtown Bellevue, developers are willing to think long-term and move forward with plans for major projects in the submarket. Developers who are nearing the end of entitlements in the next year—such as Skanska and Schnitzer West—may wait for a tenant to prelease space before moving forward with development.