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Freeman reveals high-tech leasing center for Bellevue Collection expansion

Kemper Freeman highlights the $1.2 billion Bellevue Collection during a media tour of The Studio, a high-tech leasing office for the project recently opened in Lincoln Square. - Brandon Macz
Kemper Freeman highlights the $1.2 billion Bellevue Collection during a media tour of The Studio, a high-tech leasing office for the project recently opened in Lincoln Square.
— image credit: Brandon Macz

Kemper Freeman unveiled on Friday his company's new multimillion dollar leasing center for the $1.2 billion Bellevue Collection expansion, anticipated to break ground in July with tenants to be filled by the time construction is complete.

The Studio is a high-tech, interactive leasing center on the second floor of Lincoln Square that Freeman said will provide the visual experience many prospective tenants need to understand what they're paying for and take the next step toward signing on.

The Bellevue Collection expansion will add two million square feet of retail, office, hotel, dining and residential space once work is completed along Bellevue Way. A three-story retail podium with two 17-story residential towers is proposed for the Bellevue Square expansion. The northern tower will be residential only while the southern tower will have 204 hotel rooms on the lower 11 levels, with a total of 239 residential units. The total square footage for the project is 766,579 with 266,856 square feet in the retail podium.

The Lincoln Square expansion includes an office tower with 700,000 square feet of office space and 177,000 square feet for retail, dining and entertainment. Another tower between the office building and Westin Bellevue will be for a 244-room designer hotel with 250 luxury high-rise apartments.

Models of the expansion project are on display at The Studio, allowing tenants to select a floorthat can be lit, with the aerial views from that floor broadcast on a large screen against one of the walls. It also features a 24-foot video wall and back offices for tenants to see what their views will be," said Vanessa Rose, principal for The Voyager Group, Kemper Development Company's creative agency based in California. She said materials used in The Studio reflect those that will be incorporated in the expansion. The Studio is expected to open to the public later this summer.

Freeman said The Black Box is about two months from opening in Lincoln Square, and will include full-scale models of what apartments, hotel rooms and other portions of office space will look like once completed.

"We get a reputation of being able to predict the future of what people need," said Freeman, "and, really, it's all about listening to the customers."

Freeman said the Bellevue Collection is celebrating five years of retail sales growth — the best in its 65 years of operations and up 27.2 percent in 2013 — when other similarly sized retail centers were in the negative. While retail is a strong economic driver, Freeman said the success of Eastside businesses in Bellevue is also driving the need for more office and residential space, as well as amenities like dining and entertainment. Businesses like PACCAR, Microsoft, Nintendo and other gaming ventures, he said.

Utility work for the Lincoln Square expansion begins Monday, and will close Bellevue Way from Northeast Fourth to Sixth streets for 12 days. That timeline was greatly reduced from the 77 days Kemper Development Company was initially told it would take to complete the work. Freeman said it was important to do whatever it took to avoid that. That meant more crews for the job working overtime.

Freeman said the Lincoln Square expansion groundbreaking is set for July and the project is expected to take 2 1/2 years to complete. The Bellevue Square expansion will start a year after Lincoln Square's begins, and is expected to take 1 1/2 years to complete.

 

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