Living It Up In Downtown

Multi-unit dwellings support downtown Bellevue’s changing population

Millennials, retirees, budding families, and tech industry workers are flocking to Bellevue apartments and condominiums for various reasons. Whether to be closer to a job or the vibrant culture of downtown, all of these city slickers have one thing in common: a need for urban living.

To accommodate the city’s rising population, downtown Bellevue has recently seen many new housing developments — with more than 10 new developments to come in the next two years.

However, while city dwellers come for many reasons, Gwen Rousseau, associate planner for Bellevue said the median age of downtown residents has shifted in the past 25 years.

“The majority of people moving to downtown have been young people,” Rousseau said. “Downtown’s median age went from 57.3 in 1990 to 34 in 2010-2014.”

Photo by Jeff Hobson

Photo by Jeff Hobson

With vibrant city life and exceptional career opportunities, it’s no surprise that the area is burgeoning with young blood — and that includes the 18-and-younger crowd.

“Today there are 1,000 children living in downtown,” Rousseau added. A number that is significant considering that just over 25 years ago, the total number of people living downtown was a mere 1,200. Today, that number has skyrocketed to 12,000 and counting.

This increase in residency directly correlates to a surge in employment opportunities in the area.

In 1990, 22,000 jobs existed in downtown Bellevue alone. Today, that number has more than doubled to an impressive 51,000, with more than 150,000 jobs spanning the entire city.

In order to support downtown’s growing population, a number of restaurants and retail establishments has opened over the years, providing residents and visitors to the area with ample options for dining, shopping, entertainment, and more.

“People living in downtown Bellevue have better access to a greater diversity of goods and services, often within walking distance,” Rousseau said. “Residents can even walk to work or to the transit center to access other nearby urban centers.”

With an increase in population, jobs, and local commerce, the City of Bellevue is flourishing, making it a vibrant place to live, work, play, and visit.

If you’re one of the 12,000 and counting people who already call downtown Bellevue home, or are considering making the move, there are many options when it comes to living in the city.

For those looking to rent, several new downtown apartments have opened in the past year alone. These newer developments offer residents access to luxury comforts, modern conveniences, and countless on-site amenities designed to further elevate the downtown living experience. And, with many of these buildings featuring retail space on the ground floor, you may even share the same address with your favorite restaurant or boutique.

Photo courtesy The Meyden

Photo courtesy The Meyden

However, while renting is a great option for those not currently ready to buy or those who enjoy the flexibility that comes with a short-term lease, those interested in settling down in the city have their fair share of options with the area’s many condominiums.

Windermere real estate agent Cherie Lang said many people are turning to condos as a way to achieve home ownership while still enjoying the conveniences of city living. Lang said if you’re thinking about a condo, however, it’s important to consider your surroundings — especially with so many new developments being built.

“That’s the biggest challenge with condos right now,” Lang said. “People want something that has a view, but the paradigm has to shift because, like Seattle, Bellevue is growing
and changing.”

Despite the city’s changing landscape and the threat that new developments pose to existing condominium views, Lang said it’s a great time to invest. “Buy because you like the location and the livability and walkability factor,” she said.

“Downtown’s median age went from 57.3 in 1990 to 34 in 2010-2014.”

With the promise of more than 10 new developments expected to be completed by 2018, Lang is correct in her forecast — Bellevue’s cityscape is undoubtedly going to change.

Of the new developments either under construction or still in the planning phase, Liz Stead, urban design planning manager for the City of Bellevue, said apartments, townhouses, and even a senior housing facility are among the new developments existing and prospective Bellevue residents can expect to see opening over the next two years.

Here’s a snapshot of what life in downtown Bellevue looks like at some of the area’s newest and coming-soon developments:

The Meyden
10333 Main St., Bellevue
From studios to two bedrooms, The Meyden is brand new and in the heart of the charming and convenient Old Bellevue area. There are amenities galore, and it is pet-friendly. Perfect for those long walks at the nearby park. Prices for a studio start in the $1,400/month range.

Alley111
11011 N.E. Ninth St., Bellevue 
At Alley111, it’s all about the experience. And with its modern conveniences, stunning views (which you can gaze upon thanks to each unit’s floor-to-ceiling windows), and countless amenities like a fully-equipped fitness center and rooftop lounge, great experiences can be found at every turn. One-bedrooms start at $1,675/month.

Photo courtesy Main Street Flats via Facebook

Photo courtesy Main Street Flats via Facebook

Main Street Flats
10505 Main St., Bellevue
Luxury living with great accessibility to downtown Bellevue is Main Street Flatsí main attraction. Offering studios, single, and two-bedroom units, Main Street Flats features a variety of floor plans all outfitted with modern conveniences and timeless style. Lifestyle amenities include everything from a rooftop terrace and social lounge to a café, bar, and barbecue area, just to name a few. Studios starting at $1,464/month.

Soma Towers
288 106th Ave. N.E., Bellevue
Ready to make the move to downtown? Reserve a chic and contemporary studio, one- or two-bedroom unit at Bellevue’s new Soma Towers. Soma offers four color schemes and a variety of floor plans to best match your personality and lifestyle. With countless modern features in each until plus a variety of community amenities certain to delight, Soma provides its residents with a stylish, modern and convenient lifestyle with excellent proximity to downtown dining, shopping, entertainment, and more.

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is a staff writer at 425 magazine. Email her.
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