Why Bellevue's A Boomtown
Bellevue isn't Washington's next big city, speakers at Bisnow's Bellevue on the Rise event said. It's already that city, with all the ingredients to grow more.
John L. Scott Real Estate CEO Lennox Scott kicked off the event talking about the health of Bellevue, which he says is evident by the strong demand for residential properties. He noted that about 75% of homes on the market are sold within 30 days of listing, compared with the historic average of about 30% in 30 days. Currently there's only one month's supply of housing on the market, a fact that's putting upward pressure on prices.
Businesses want to be in Bellevue for a number of reasons, our panelists explained. Some aren't surprising, such as the good schools and a wide choice of housing types. Especially important is the enormous pool of educated workers here—in fact, Bellevue has one of the most educated populations of any city in the country, with more than 60% of residents having a college degree. About 325 real estate pros came to the Hyatt Regency Bellevue to hear our speakers.
Snapped: Kemper Development CEO Kemper Freeman and Wallace Properties president Kevin Wallace, the deputy mayor of Bellevue. Transit, especially the East Link line, will be an important factor in new clusters of development as it comes on line, though the speakers said it isn't a major factor in corporate site selection yet. The speakers lauded the recent revised agreement between the City and Sound Transit that will reduce the size of a light-rail maintenance yard to add 1.6M SF of potential residential and commercial development space near the yard.
Here, JLL managing director Chris Hughes and Concur senior director Al Kinisky. The news that Expedia is leaving Downtown Bellevue is unfortunate, the speakers noted, but hardly a major long-term, or even short-term, problem for the city. Expedia won't leave till 2018 so there's time for companies to relocate and expand in Bellevue to absorb space—and they will, since companies are eagerly looking on both sides of the lake.
Here's Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt shareholder Aaron Laing, who moderated, and Wright Runstad & Co president Greg Johnson. Demand is so robust, in fact, that Bellevue needs more supply, including office space, retail and apartments. The influx of people to the city will be able to support the development of well-designed new buildings to give Bellevue a more distinctive skyline.