Person Behind The Place: Gary Guenther
March 15, 2022 - by Sandy Vo
Person Behind The Place:
Executive Vice President & Shareholder | Kidder Matthews
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.
You can meet Guenther in person at our next Downtown Talks Breakfast Series on March 29, where he'll share insights on the Eastside market, Bellevue’s development pipeline and leasing trends. Tickets are still available.
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.
Do you have a favorite place to shop in Downtown?
I love REI for outdoor and skiing activities. When I'm looking for an adventure, AAA Washington Cruise & Travel is my go-to spot to find it.
Can you name a hidden gem in Bellevue?
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.
Downtown Talks Breakfast Series returns in person on March 29! Hear Gary Guenther and Kate Joncas, director of urban strategy and development for MIG, share insights on downtown vibrancy and understanding growth. Get tickets today.
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Person Behind The Place is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.