Two new towers are coming to downtown Bellevue as part of a mixed-use project from Seattle-based developer Touchstone, Seattle architect firm NBBJ and owner, Sam Zell of Chicago-based REIT Equity Commonwealth, which originally purchased the property in 2004. The city of Bellevue granted the project a master development plan for the two towers, which will be developed as an office and hotel, located at 600 108th Ave. N.E. Though the project has the necessary permit, it still has to be approved by the design review board.
NBBJ originally presented plans for the two towers to the city of Bellevue’s Development Services Department in March of 2016. The project, named for its location, Bellevue 600, will have a grand total of 1.5 million square feet of space including the two towers, an existing structure, and parking and retail space.
The plan proposes two towers, one will be an office building and the other will be a hotel, both sitting on top of a 40-foot retail podium. Plans also call for an existing parking garage and transit building to be demolished. On the site also sits the Bellevue Corporate Plaza, also owned by Equity Commonwealth. That property is a 256,829 square foot, 10-story office building with Energy Star certification, located adjacent to the Bellevue Transit Center.
The new office development will be 450 feet tall, the maximum height allotted, and approximately 749,000 square feet. The hotel portion will be 435 feet tall and 491,000 square feet. The podium portion of the development will include above ground parking, retail and lobbies. The above ground garage will have about 370 parking spaces in addition to 1,590 below-grade parking stalls, which will also serve the Bellevue Corporate Plaza.
According to NBBJ’s plans, retail spaces will screen the above-ground parking garage and the upper levels of the garage will be “screened with architectural materials and detailing to provide visual interest and reduce the visual impact of a parking garage.”
NBBJ has not yet said exactly how many rooms will be in the hotel tower but public records show it could be as many as 500. Public records also indicate the construction could be carried out in phases, with either the hotel or office tower being built first, or built-out as one project. While a timeline for the project hasn’t been announced, the master development plan is good for 10 years, so the developers can begin at any time between now and 2027.
According to a Q1 2017 office report from Kidder Mathews, the Bellevue central business district is the center for the majority of the office construction on the Eastside. The vacancy rate for the CBD decreased from 17.4 percent last quarter (Q4 2016) to 16.6 percent. The report also noted that the availability rate increased from 11.6 percent to 12.5 percent, resulting in flat rents. “Aside from the near-term office availability in the Bellevue CBD, the balance of the Eastside office market is likely to see vacancies continue to trend downward and rental rates increase over the next few quarters,” according to the report.
All in all, the Kidder Mathews report found that the Eastside office market has had strong first quarter absorption of 214,802 square feet. At year-end 2016, there was 734,500 square feet of vacant space added to the market. Additionally, sales activity in the Eastside during Q1 2017 has been relative to the end of 2016 but there has been good activity in mid-sized properties.