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Apartment complex to anchor Bellevue Way corner

A rendering of the new Avalon Towers Bellevue looking south from Bellevue Way and Northeast 10th. - Image by studio/216 for AvalonBay Communities
A rendering of the new Avalon Towers Bellevue looking south from Bellevue Way and Northeast 10th.
— image credit: Image by studio/216 for AvalonBay Communities

With the recent slow down in the condo market, firms like AvalonBay Communities, Inc. say they are reaping the benefits. The company, which acquires, develops and manages high-quality apartment communities, will break ground Sept. 2 on its third Bellevue facility.

The Avalon Towers Bellevue, a high-rise, mixed-use luxury apartment project with 396 units, will sit at Northeast 10th Avenue and Bellevue Way Northeast.

When construction is complete, the new community will include 16,000 square feet of retail space and will consist of two towers, one 24-stories and the other 14-stories. AvalonBay expects the first units to come on line spring of 2010.

“It’s going to be a little more high-end. We build luxury apartments, but we are going to take it a little higher as far as the interior finishes and the amenities will be larger and more plush then what we have in the market right now,” said Brian Fritz, the Vice President of Development at AvalonBay Communities.

Avalon Bellevue appeared on the scene in 2002, the first of the three projects for AvalonBay in Bellevue. The apartment, at 11000 N.oE. 10th St., features a wood and brick exterior, echoing Northwest influences.

Next to be built was Avalon Meydenbauer, a rental community consisting of 368 luxury apartment homes surrounded by major retail shops and restaurants.

The project, located at Northeast Fourth and Bellevue Way, made headlines with the new Safeway flagship store that set up shop on the ground floor. Safeway worked with Milliken Development Group and AvalonBay Communities on the project to become the first-ever “housing over grocery store” built on the Eastside.

“The Avalon Bellevue is at full capacity and has remained stabilized since 2002,” Fritz said. “The Avalon Meydenbauer is about three quarters of the way full. It’s been very well received in the market and we’re very happy with the performance.”

Avalon Meydenbauer offers studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartment homes, many of which have views of downtown Seattle, Lake Washington, and Bellevue’s Downtown Park. The community includes a 2,700 square foot state-of-the-art fitness center, a clubroom with kitchen, and two landscaped courtyards with barbecue stations and picnic areas.

“We were excited to open this community in the midst of one of the strongest rental housing markets in the country,” Fritz said. “...Its prime location places our residents within steps of the Bellevue Collection that [Kemper] Freeman has constructed, allowing them to take full advantage of all of the retail, restaurant and entertainment options that downtown has to offer.”

Avalon Towers Bellevue is registered with the goal of LEED certification, focusing on reduced energy consumption through exterior shell design and building system and a low-flow irrigation system.

“I think that being this close to the retail core of Bellevue helps the commercial aspect of a project, coupled with demographics of downtown Bellevue, a city that promotes mixed use,” Fritz explained. “It’s not just a mandate, they actually believe in it.”

Although prime apartment renters usually fall between 20 to 34 years of age, Fritz has been pleasantly surprised with the diversification of renters in Bellevue.

“I’ve been somewhat surprised by our demographics because we are all over the board,” he said. “We have the younger, Generation Y workers who are new to the workforce, but we also have older renters who travel a lot and want a part-time residence. We have the empty nesters and families who are relocating to Bellevue who are on the fence for whether it’s a good time to buy,” he said, adding, “Bellevue’s downtown is emerging as more of a 24-7 type of city as opposed to an eight-to-five, where people not only work, but also live and play.”

In nearby Kirkland, the second and final phase of Avalon Juanita Village will begin construction next spring. In addition to these two Eastside projects, two projects are in the pipeline for Seattle in 2009.

Lindsay Larin can be reached at llarin@reporternewspapers.com or at 425.453.4602.

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