Massive expansion to The Bellevue Collection gets go-ahead

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- One of the most ambitious development projects in years means the skyline is about to grow in Bellevue, as the long-awaited expansion of The Bellevue Collection gets the nod to move forward.

Kemper Freeman is set to pump $1.2 billion into the downtown site of Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square and Bellevue Place, adding to what's already become a regional destination.

The changes will add 2 million square feet of retail, office, hotel, residential and dining space, which could bolster the "live, work, play" concept behind the development.

"It's nice to have one place to go or all of that," said Catherine Wright.

No new tenants have been identified for the expansion, but the focus is on name-brands and luxury retailers so that it accommodates both common and sophisticated tastes.

"It will be great from a shopping perspective," says Dean Iacovelli. "But I don't imagine it's going to improve the parking or the traffic."

Traffic quickly bottlenecks around the Bellevue Collection, but the city will collect transportation impact fees to help smooth the back-ups, while the developer will add another 3,700 parking spaces.

And all this expansion could be a shot in the arm for city growth and make the site even more of a regional magnet.

City leaders like what they see, and hope the expansion project only adds to the energy they say is already there.

The developer says construction should begin next year and will wrap-up by the fall of 2016.