Bellevue Collection Architects Share Insights on Expansion

Downtown Bellevue, which has eight major projects under construction, received a big jolt when Kemper Development Company broke ground on the Lincoln Square expansion June 11. On Thursday, Alan Sclater and Craig Kasman of Sclater Architects, the firm behind the entire Bellevue Collection, gave a tour of the ever-growing Kemper empire, which has been the battery behind the city’s expanding footprint and clout since the 1940s.

The Lincoln Square expansion could be the boldest of Sclater’s Bellevue Collection projects. One of the towers will be hold a 244-room hotel and 250 high-end apartments, while the second tower will house 700,000 square feet of office space and 177,000 square feet of retail. In total, the expansion will encompass 1.5 million square feet.

Sclater says he never anticipated how big or “exquisite” the Bellevue Collection would become. Contemporary demands in Bellevue have led the architects to focus more on mixed-use development.

“Our plan has always been to focus on the customer,” Kasman says. “We promote pedestrian movement to foster interactions with the other customers.”

Those wanting a better picture of what the expansion will look like can visit The Studio, a high-tech sales office where one can get a glimpse of the planned Bellevue Collection expansions. State-of-the-art monitors and precise 3-D models illustrate what the Collection and downtown Bellevue as a whole will look like once construction is finished (the Lincoln Square expansion is scheduled to be completed in 2016).

Kelly Bauer of Indigo Real Estate Services, which handles resident sales at  The Studio, says apartments in the Lincoln Square expansion will prioritize connectivity with the entire Bellevue Collection.

Sclater says that more luxury stores will be opening up in the retail tower, mentioning that KDC likes tenants who are “unique and special” to be a part of its collection.

A walk by Macy’s in Bellevue Square shows what Bellevue was like before Sclater and KDC began their decades-long alliance. The old photographs that hang on the walls show how the city has changed from farmland in the 1940s to a retail hub today.

“We never thought it would get this big,” Sclater says. “When we first started, we just wanted to build out to the street, just wanted to build an urban environment.”

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