Rockefeller Group and SRO plan major development for downtown Bellevue

Rockefeller Group and Sterling Realty Organization (SRO) announced Tuesday, plans for phased development of a 5.6 acre site in the city's downtown. Initial plans call for the development of three office towers in a property, adjoined by Northeast Eighth Street and 106th Avenue, and by Symetra office towers and a Key Bank to the south and east. The site is currently occupied by Mars Hill Church, a Barnes & Noble and several smaller commercial structures.

"Bellevue has become a dynamic '24-7' city -- the type of vibrant urban environment on which our company has always focused when seeking office development and investment opportunities," said Rockefeller president and CEO, Kevin Hackett. "We're looking forward to collaborating with SRO and the community with the goal of further enhancing the evolution of downtown Bellevue."

SRO expressed similar enthusiasm. President David Schooler, said he believed the addition "will be a very strong and long-lasting addition to downtown Bellevue."

SRO, best known for Sterling Plaza I and II in Bellevue and the Tacoma South Shopping Center, is headquartered in Bellevue. It owns and manages one million square feet of leasable space. The Rockefeller Group, famous for Manhattan's Rockefeller Center, is headquartered in New York City.

Twelve years ago, Seattle's Wright Runstad & Co. proposed an office tower on the property, though it was later cancelled. SRO's ownership of the property dates back to the 1950s.

First called Sterling Recreation Organization, SRO was in the entertainment industry and financed themselves largely through the purchase and sale of real estate. They sold several parcels, including the current site in the 60s, gradually buying them back again from the 1990s through 2005.

Rockefeller Group approached SRO through another broker about a year and a half ago. Schooler said he was initially surprised: "They haven't been in this part of the world before." But was pleased with the outcome.

SRO has leased the land to Rockefeller for the next 99 years.


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