On Reflection: Eastern Exposure

| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

Seattle developer Wright Runstad & Company and San Francisco-based financial partner Shorenstein Properties have broken ground on a $2.3 billion project to create a pedestrian-friendly development on 36 acres along the north side of the Bel-Red Corridor in Bellevue.

When completed, the Spring District will cover 16 city blocks with 3.7 million square feet of office space, 1.2 million square feet of residential, a 200,000-square-foot hotel and 158,000 square feet of retail. Next year, a park will be built on the site and Seattle-based Security Properties will start construction of a 316-unit apartment complex.

“This is the beginning of a new kind of neighborhood in Bellevue,” says Wright Runstad President Greg Johnson. “A neighborhood designed with walkable, pedestrian-friendly streets, urban parks, cool apartments and unique local retailers and restaurants is a big switch from the typical Eastside pattern of superblocks, national chains and car-based urban designs.”

Johnson expects the district to attract local restaurants and brewpubs, recreating the feel of a vibrant urban neighborhood like Seattle’s Capitol Hill. “We will ensure that at every point along the sidewalk, the building next to you has something going on,” he notes.

With 135,000 new residents expected to move into the Puget Sound area in the next two years, Johnson says there will be plenty of demand for new places to live, work and shop. Technology companies will choose the Spring District, he adds, to help them attract talent. “It turns out that software developers want walkable neighborhoods, transit, easy commutes, interesting amenities and sustainable designs,” he says.

The Spring District will also benefit substantially from regional plans for a $2.8 billion light rail project that will connect Bellevue with downtown Seattle, as well as the $4.65 billion upgrade to the Highway 520 bridge that connects the two cities on either side of Lake Washington.

The Bel-Red Corridor, an industrial swath situated between Bel-Red Road and Highway 520, encompasses 900 acres east of downtown Bellevue and Interstate 405. The Spring Distict is one component of what Bellevue city officials envision as a densely occupied, transit-oriented redevelopment of the area.

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