By Kate Snyder
A proposal for a massive mixed-use development in Bellevue was recently updated, according to new plans that were submitted to the City. Instead of the original four-tower scheme, Kemper Development Company’s The Bellevue is now slated to feature three towers, fewer residential units, more retail space and an overall reduction of square footage.
In addition to Kemper, other members of the development team are New York-based KPF as the designer and Seattle-based Mithun as the executive architect. For the updated proposal, a pre-application conference has been submitted and is under review with Bellevuestaff, according to city records.
The 3.6-acre project site is located at 401 Bellevue Way NE, situated at the southeast corner of the Bellevue Square Mall. New plans show a drop in the project’s size, from about 1.8 million square feet to approximately 1.75 million square feet, a decrease of about 50,000 square feet. The new number of proposed residential units is 154, with the planned hotel/motel coming in at 150 rooms and parking space for 1,780 vehicles. Retail space is slated to total about 281,829 square feet. The retail component will include public spaces that will connect to the existing shopping center and a proposed pedestrian bridge to Lincoln Square South. The project will also feature a wellness/spa resort.
The proposed development is designed to complement the existing Bellevue Square shopping center and expand Kemper’s Bellevue Collection experience, project plans show.
“Situated directly north of the well-used Bellevue Downtown Park and directly west of the City Center District, which contains the most intense downtown development, this project implements an appropriate transitional form by proposing a distinctive design of three towers staggered in height to mediate between the low lying park and bustling downtown core,” plans state.
The design shows a stepped roof on each tower that is both oriented towards the Bellevue Downtown Park and meant to take advantage of the southern sun exposure into the units and views to the southwest. The visual elements of the park are elevated as gardens on the roof, which advances the vision of a city in a park and creates a dynamic and distinct roof line that positively contributes to the skyline presence while providing access to sunlight and sky views for residents.
The project will also further Bellevue’s vision of the Grand Connection, which runs along the Bellevue Way frontage of the project to the corner of NE 4th, and activates NE 4th by creating a series of spaces that prioritize the pedestrian experience. Pedestrian scale lighting will create a safe and inviting environment and encourage active use throughout the year, plans show. From morning through evening, distinct entryways will create retail identity and an active pedestrian experience.
Kemper filed its original plans for the project in 2021, according to The Registry’s previous reporting. That proposal was for a 1.8 million square foot development with four towers that included 234 residential units, a 157-key, five-star hotel and 265,795 square feet of retail space.
The Bellevue is just one of Kemper’s major assets in Bellevue. The company’s The Bellevue Collection is a portfolio made up of Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square and Bellevue Place that together total 5.5 million square feet. According to Kemper’s website, The Collection currently has 1.7 million square feet of Class A office space, 1,315 hotel rooms spread across three hotels, 30 quick service food and cafe vendors, two luxury cinemas and 360 on-site residences. Many of the buildings are connected by sky bridges and pedestrian tunnels.