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New bistro seating and hundreds of yellow lanterns added to Downtown

July 26, 2019 - by BDA Staff

Category What's Happening

Just in time for Bellevue’s big Arts Fair Weekend, the heart of Downtown Bellevue is bursting with more color thanks to the more than 700 yellow lanterns in trees and new outdoor bistro seating in popular locations.

The installation is part of a pilot placemaking initiative led by the Bellevue Downtown Association (BDA), in partnership with the City of Bellevue’s Economic Development department and property owners along the pedestrian corridor section of Bellevue’s “Grand Connection.”

“We’re excited to partner with the Bellevue Downtown Association to activate the Grand Connection and bring to life the city’s bold vision for this emerging neighborhood,” said Mayor John Chelminiak. “The livelier the public space, the better the environment is for pedestrians, office tenants, retail businesses and restaurants. It’s a win-win for everyone.”


The summer lanterns, stretching between Lincoln Square and the Bellevue Transit Center, mark a connected Grand Connection corridor, along with adding color and fun for the summer. Each lantern features a rechargeable solar-powered battery and glows at night. The lightweight lanterns are attached using zip ties with care taken to protect the trees and light poles along the corridor.  

“It’s all about partnerships in creating a memorable experience, and this is one small, fun step,” said Augusta DeVries, the BDA’s project lead and membership and community development director. “As our downtown grows, little things will make a big difference in how people connect and engage with the place around them.”

The envisioned Grand Connection corridor would one day connect Meydenbauer Bay Park to the Eastrail in Wilburton. The route also connects Old Bellevue, Bellevue Downtown Park, The Bellevue Collection, Compass Plaza, Bellevue Transit and the future Bellevue Downtown Link Light Rail station, The Bravern, City Hall and Meydenbauer Center. A major element and future investment will be a park lid crossing of I-405.

Several major development projects will eventually transform and build out the Grand Connection path over the next decade, bringing new office space, residences, hotel rooms, amenities, active public spaces and restaurants.

Share your photos with us at #bellevuedowntown and read more about the Grand Connection at

A big thank you goes out to the City of Bellevue and member property owners and companies on the corridor who were involved in the planning process and volunteers who supported the installation.

Activation Project Support

American Assets Trust
Central Bar + Restaurant
City of Bellevue
Commonwealth Partners
Kemper Development Company
Kilroy Realty Corporation
Madison Marquette
Onni Group
Puget Sound Energy