Meydenbauer Center getting $12.5 million upgrade

The 20-year-old Meydenbauer Center is slated for a $12.5 million upgrade starting next summer. - Brandon Macz
The 20-year-old Meydenbauer Center is slated for a $12.5 million upgrade starting next summer.
— image credit: Brandon Macz

The Bellevue City Council fast-tracked its approval this week of a $12.5 million capital improvement plan for the 20-year-old Meydenbauer Center, which is slated to begin extensive renovations next summer.

Members of the Bellevue Convention Center Authority Board made the request to council on June 30, asking to use $4.1 million in reserves from the sale of the old convention center site and for authorization to issue $8.5 million in tax-exempt bonds. BCCA Chairman Rick Carlson said the Meydenbauer Center has generated about $400 million in economic impact since opening in 1993, including $34.7 million and $8 million in state and county tax revenue, respectively. The debt service from the bonds is expected to be covered by revenues coming into the center.

BCCA Director John Christison told the council that exterior remediation for the center is estimated to cost $2.7 million, interior improvements are $8.7 million and new structured cabling and network upgrades are $1.1 million.

The request for upgrades was prompted by a December 2013 survey of 25 clients and 15 employees at the Meydenbauer Center.

"While we found that many people felt the facility was open and adaptive with lots of natural light; that it was very conveniently located; and that the customer service was excellent, we also heard comments about the spaces being too cavernous, sterile and hard to make feel intimate and that the lighting and audio were difficult and challenging," according to a statement from the Meydenbauer Center.

It is uncertain what upgrades will be made first, as interior designing has just started. There will also be significant work done to modernize the exterior of the Meydenbauer Center, which will soon be sited across from the Bellevue Transit Center Station, set to be constructed as part of Sound Transit's East Link extension.


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