Gary Guenther has always been inspired by his grandfather's real estate success stories, so much so he went into the same business. His journey to Downtown Bellevue began in 1998 when he started a job at Kidder Matthews, the largest independent commercial real estate firm on the West Coast.
Throughout his career, Guenther has worked with clients ranging from healthcare organizations, large corporate headquarters, startups to scaleup technology companies and local & institutional investors.
Before joining Kidder Matthews, he worked as an in-house leasing representative with the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation.
In anticipation of this month's event, read on for more details about Guenther’s work, and where he likes to spend time around town.
What makes Kidder Matthews different from other real estate firms?
Even though we're an independent commercial real estate firm, we have the same services as a national, publicly traded company but with a more entrepreneurial and nimbler energy.
How does Downtown Bellevue stand apart from other metro areas?
For such a fast-growing city, it’s very orderly, clean, and safe. Downtown Bellevue also has an incredible amount of diversity, more than people think. I also think having a practical, proactive and business friendly city government helps us stand apart.
How has development and leasing changed over the years?
When I first began working in Bellevue close to 25 years ago, it was more of a bedroom community with many mom-and-pop individual investors. Downtown is now on the map and highly sought after by institutional and international investors who make up the majority of large landlords.
Why do you love working in Downtown Bellevue?
I love the energy on the downtown streets during the day and the tremendous dining and social opportunities at night. I also enjoy how easy it is to walk around. Our Kidder Matthews office in Downtown Bellevue is adjacent to the Grand Connection so it's an easy walk to Bellevue Square and the future light rail station.
Where are your favorite places to dine in Downtown?
There are so many to name. Daniel's Broiler is my favorite for a great steak. I like the restaurants and atmosphere on Main Street in Old Bellevue. For example, 520 Bar & Grill is great for a casual meal – the steak salad is my favorite. Bis on Main and Carmines are great for date nights with my wife or client dinners - their martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives are world-class.
I didn’t fully realize this until we began exploring it with my young boys, but Bellevue has a fantastic parks system. From Bellevue Downtown Park to Enatai Beach Park to Wilburton, Bellevue offers so many great trails, open spaces, and play areas.
Where do you see Downtown Bellevue in 5-10 years?
If we stay on the current development pace, it may be largely unrecognizable from today – in a good way. The towers will be taller with more architectural diversity. There will be more housing, unique restaurants and new arts, all tied together by the Grand Connection. I think all of the above will continue to propel Downtown Bellevue into a world-class city.
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