By Meghan Hall
The second phase of Bellevue Plaza, a massive half-block development in downtown Bellevue, is headed towards design review. The second phase of the project, proposed by Seattle-based developer Vulcan Real Estate, will include two office buildings with six levels of underground parking totaling approximately 710,000 square feet, adding needed supply to downtown Bellevue’s already scarce office inventory.
According to project documents, the most recent design review for Phase Two covers two-thirds of the site. Tower Two will include 303,145 gross floor area of office uses, along with 4,151 square feet of retail and a 3,123 square foot restaurant. Tower Three will be slightly smaller, with 290,813 square feet of office, 2,903 square feet of retail and 3,258 square feet of office. Along with the two office buildings, the remaining frontage improvements, north-south connection and streetscape design will be finalized.
The design of the project embodies a “flow” concept across the site in an east-west direction that intends to mimic a stream, project plans and city documents state. Towers Two and Three will be oriented along the same east-west axis and the massing intends to create a diverse street frontage experience while creating set-backs from neighboring residential towers. Tower Two and Three will have a connected podium at levels one and two, with an additional bridge at level three. The podiums will be clad in an aluminum and glass curtain wall system. Office lobbies will be fully transparent with floor to ceiling glass for what documents characterize as an “inside-out and outside-in” experience. The middle and upper facades of the tower will be smoother in pattern language with minimal projections.
Phase Two is the second and final phase of the Bellevue Plaza redevelopment, which once completed will total more than a million square feet. Phase One, which received its city approvals in January is already underway, and includes one 17-story office tower with 297,400 square feet. 15,333 square feet of ground level active uses and more than 700 parking spaces are also part of the plans.
Vulcan originally acquired the 3.4-acre property four years ago for $45.35 million and plans eventually emerged to redevelop the 1960s-era retail center into a higher and better use.
“Location played a key role in our decision to build office at the Bellevue Plaza site. It is one of the best office locations on the Eastside, presenting the unique opportunity to create a campus-like setting with a large mid-block plaza and elevated terraces with stunning views,” explained Robert Aaron, senior director of real estate marketing and leasing for Vulcan Real Estate in January after Phase One’s approvals. “The property is located in Bellevue’s Class “A” CDB urban environment, featuring leading retail and restaurant options, and situated adjacent to the best of Bellevue’s urban amenities including Main Street, Bellevue Downtown Park and the Bellevue Collection. The site is also near several freeway and public transit options, making it highly accessible.”
GLY Construction is the contractor for the development, while Graphite Design Group and Compton Design Office are part of the architecture team. Bellevue Plaza is targeting LEED Gold and Salmon Safe Certification and Wellness principles upon delivery.
Phase One’s offices are now open for leasing, according to Vulcan’s website. Completion of Bellevue Plaza is anticipated for the fourth quarter of 2022.
Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, 2020 was shaping up to be another extraordinarily busy year for downtown Bellevue’s office market, as companies of all shapes and sizes continued to vie for space. As of April of this year, Bellevue’s central business district had just under 9.95 million square feet of inventory and a vacancy rate of 3.5 percent, according to Broderick Group. Downtown had only one block of office space greater than 40,000 square feet on the market; a 24-Hour Fitness that was being converted from a gym into office. With little room in the market, rents in the CBD spiked by about 16 percent on average. Even if, added Broderick Group, tenants were to withdraw from office space in the submarket, the brokerage firm only estimates that vacancy will rise to 6.1 percent through 2021. By comparison Class A and B overall vacancy on the Eastside sat at 6.6 percent, pre-COVID-19, an indicator that downtown Bellevue is poised to weather the current economic storm.
As of this writing, Vulcan had not yet returned The Registry’s request for updated comment.