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BDA's 44th Annual Celebration Highlights Downtown Bellevue's Achievements

February 2, 2018 - by Emma Sullivan

Category What's Happening

BDA's 44th Annual Celebration Highlights Downtown Bellevue's Achievements 

Last night, over 500 business and civic leaders gathered together at Meydenbauer Center for the best attended Annual Celebration to date. We joined together in celebration of Downtown Bellevue and the incredible growth and accomplishments we've seen over this past year. 

Attendees enjoyed fine dining and spirits while enjoying listening to our program. It was wonderful to have so many Downtown Bellevue 'movers and shakers' in one place. Please enjoy this recap of last night's program. 

Place Making Awards: 

This year, the BDA recognized three honorees with Place Making Awards for their significant contributions to Bellevue's Downtown. BDA President Patrick Bannon and Mayor John Chelminiak recognized the achievements of the organizations behind these projects. 

Downtown Park ‘Complete the Circle’ & Inspiration Playground, City of Bellevue and Rotary Club of Bellevue

This award tonight honored one of the city’s most beloved treasures; an amazing story unfolding over the past 34 years. It is iconic, memorable, beautiful and has played a major role in the growth and economic success of Downtown Bellevue. It’s also one of the world’s great urban parks.

It started, we’re told, with a Councilmember, the Parks Director and a pitcher of beer at the Pumphouse in 1983. It culminated last year with the City of Bellevue completing Phase 3 of the Downtown Park, enclosing the circle with promenade and water canal, introducing a south entry with a water feature, constructing a terraced amphitheater. The result is a masterpiece, still true to the original design.

In addition, the Rotary Club of Bellevue stepped up with a profound effort to raise the funds that would deliver the Inspiration Playground as part of Phase 3. This Playground was born from a vision held by Rotarian Rob Rose, inspired by his travels to Nepal working with children with and without disabilities. His vision, advocacy, passion, persistence took hold.

The Rotary Club, in partnership with the City, took on a huge task and made it happen. Joined with gusto by Pat Naselow and a cadre of other Rotarians and supporters, the campaign for the 1.5 acre Playground was and continues to be a success, raising over $4.5 million. The Playground itself reinforces our community’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. It has universally accessible design features, sensory-rich play experiences, and equipment suitable for all ages and abilities. 

Lincoln Square Expansion at The Bellevue Collection, Kemper Development Company

The Lincoln Square Expansion is the largest private construction project in our downtown’s history. It opened last year as one of as one of the premier developments in the nation. Today it’s home to thousands of satisfied and talented workers, businesses, retailers, restaurants, and residents on a 24-hour clock. The project has transformed our skyline and the corner of NE 4th and Bellevue Way. It is the latest gem in what we know as The Bellevue Collection.

It is home to Bellevue’s largest office tower at 750,000 square feet with an all-star roster of tenants. The retail podium offers 17 restaurants, along with a Nordstrom Rack, a luxury Cinemark Reserve movie experience, Soulcycle, a soon to open Capital One Café, and a graceful skybridge. It brought us a W Hotel, a spectacular addition that brings downtown room count to just over 4,000.

To the thousands of people who put in hundreds of thousands of hours to design, build, permit, and fill the Lincoln Square Expansion, we say thank you and congratulations. It’s an amazing result. To the visionary team who moved this project forward coming out of the recession with one huge bet on downtown’s future and what the customer will want now and tomorrow, we say thank you, congratulations, and we look forward to what’s next. 

We are thrilled to recognize Kemper Development Company for their monumental effort and achievement in the Lincoln Square Expansion

Keynote Highlights: 

Rebecca Ryan, our keynote speaker, is a "Human Spark Plug," futurist and economist. Last night she gave us some insight into a vision of a diverse, successful, intergenerational future for Downtown Bellevue. Ryan recognized the incredible growth and development that Downtown has seen over the past few years. At the same time, she urged us to use this momentum to shape an even more inspiring future. 

She painted a picture of inclusive prosperity - where Bellevue gets the markets right AND gets the civics right too. Her perspective? What's good for the people is also what's good for the economy. Cities are for people...and by 'people' she doesn't mean just some people, but all people. 

"How do we set the table so our kids inherit something worth inheriting?" - Rebecca Ryan

We must work intersectionally to create this 'something worthwhile,' to get things done. If people of all ages and backgrounds and influences come together to shape Downtown Bellevue's future, this will help shape the identity of our city. 

Thank you BDA sponsors!

This year's Annual Celebration could not have happened without our sponsors - we would like to take the time to highlight some of the achievements of this year's Presenting Sponsors. 

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Established in 1982, Davis Wright Tremaine’s Bellevue office is located a short distance from downtown Seattle in the heart of the Northwest’s high-technology center. The office serves a broad spectrum of clients, ranging from local entrepreneurial ventures to Fortune 100 companies. We have much to contribute to our communities and we embrace our opportunity to give back. Our attorneys sit on the boards of the Eastside's leading business and cultural organizations. In 2017, DWT’s Washington state offices were named among the Puget Sound Business Journal’s top corporate philanthropists.

-      Named one of North America’s 25 most innovative law firms by The Financial Times. Learn more

-      Named one of the country’s 50 Best Law Firms for Women by Working Mother magazine. Learn more

Bellevue Highlights 

-      Named 2017 Employer of the Year by AtWork! Learn more. (DWT loves its diverse workforce - image, left).

-      David Ubaldi was named Partner-in-Charge at the Bellevue office. Learn more.

Kaiser Permanente 

-      Kaiser Permanente Washington has earmarked $400 million to renovate and redesign its Capitol Hill flagship campus by 2022, and invest in the near-term launch of new medical clinic sites throughout the region.

-      Kaiser Permanente Washington has once again been ranked as the top-performing medical group in Washington, according to the 2017 Washington Health Alliance Community Checkup.

-      Kaiser Permanente stands for total health and is committed to the communities in which they serve. Kaiser Permanente Washington is proud to serve as the Official Health Partner for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, being held July 1 to 6 in Seattle. Kaiser Permanente is taking the lead in managing the on-site medical needs of the 4,000 competing athletes and coaches, and overseeing the hundreds of medical volunteers. In addition, Kaiser Permanente is a sponsor of the home team, Special Olympics Washington. 

Puget Sound Energy

-      For over 145 years, Puget Sound Energy has provided local energy service for communities across Washington and proudly serves 1.5 million customers today. 

-      To ensure we meet their current and future needs, PSE is committed to reducing its carbon footprint 50 percent by 2040. PSE’s plan covers three major areas: the transition from coal, new product and resource development, and cleaner transportation. Learn more.

-      We must also upgrade the backbone of the Eastside’s electric grid to support our area’s growing economy. The Energize Eastside project will upgrade the old grid with modern infrastructure to keep our lights on and foster economic development for years to come. Learn more



    -      Seattle-based Vulcan Real Estate offers a full range of development and portfolio management services from site selection and urban planning to build-to-suit construction, leasing, financing and asset repositioning. Through strategic investments and innovative development, the company has completed 8 million square feet of high-performing quality assets including office, life sciences, residential and mixed-use projects. Best-known for the redevelopment of South Lake Union into a technology hub that is home to tenants such as Amazon, Facebook, Google and the UW School of Medicine, Vulcan has recently begun investing in downtown Bellevue.

    -      Vulcan Real Estate has approximately 2 million square feet of development capacity in the core of downtown Bellevue.  The properties the company owns are located at 106th Ave NE & NE 2nd Street and 108th Ave NE & NE 6th Street.

    -      As community collaborators, Vulcan takes an inclusive approach to build inspiring, industry-leading places that are socially, economically and environmentally progressive. We believe in strengthening communities and being actively involved in the neighborhoods where we invest by sponsoring events, creating job apprenticeship programs and engaging women and minority business enterprises.

    City of Bellevue

    -      Bellevue has developed into the high-tech and retail center of the Eastside. It is home to the world’s most influential virtual reality and interactive media firms. In 2017, many top companies including Amazon, OfferUp, Salesforce, Tencent and Samsung made significant investments in Bellevue. Bellevue is also the top destination for premium shopping in the Pacific Northwest.

    -      Within the city limits, a transformation is underway in BelRed and the Spring District. A former warehouse district, the area is quickly transforming into Bellevue’s innovation hub. This transit-oriented development runs parallel to the future Sound Transit East Link light rail line.

    -      Bellevue’s vibrant downtown will soon connect with its scenic Lake Washington waterfront. In May 2017, Phase One of Meydenbauer Bay Park construction got underway. With a quarter mile of waterfront, the 10-acre park includes a large public swimming beach and pedestrian pier. Construction is expected to be completed in late 2018.