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Bellevue is Booming

Bellevue is a city that is willing to cooperate with both current businesses and those looking to relocate to the Eastside. The economy of Bellevue is both strong and diverse, according to a cross-section of the business community. Many of the state’s and Northwest’s largest and fastest-growing businesses have picked Bellevue as their headquarters.

High-tech firms, quality retail shops, banking, services, and corporate offices are all present in Bellevue’s flourishing commercial environment. The city of Bellevue has a population of 118,100 people, with a workforce of over 138,000 people and growing.

The city of Bellevue has over 22 million square feet of office space, with about a third of it located downtown. Bellevue is an attractive location for new firms or relocations because of the range of office environments available, new space on the market, and a simple permitting process.

Strong, Thriving, and Expanding Economy

Bellevue is becoming more well-known on a national and regional level. Bellevue was recently rated the greatest city in the country to live and start a business by Fortune Small Business magazine (see page 2 for additional information), and Washington CEO magazine selected Bellevue the 2008 City of the Year. Bellevue plays a key role in the global economy as the Eastside’s metropolitan hub. Bellevue is a leader in commerce and industry, with a broad and dynamic mix of successful and entrepreneurial firms. Many corporations chose Bellevue as their corporate or regional headquarters, and job development has transformed the city from a suburban residential center to a bustling economic engine during the last three decades.

  • Bellevue is a well-established business center, with over 145 enterprises located there.
  • Since 2000, Bellevue’s leasable office space has increased by 45 percent.
  • The Chamber and other groups connect CEOs to network and assure corporate success.
  • Many of the region’s CEOs live in Bellevue and invest in the city’s civic, cultural, and political infrastructure, which improves the city’s quality of life.

Bellevue is a great place to invest.

Bellevue is seeing tremendous growth, and businesses are flocking to the Eastside’s urban core. Many startups and established businesses choose Bellevue as their first choice. Bellevue is also home to a number of exciting new projects in the works, all of which are compelling reasons to relocate to our community:

  • Microsoft (1.3 million square feet over three large Bellevue office complexes), T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless are among the most recent sales. By the end of 2009, Microsoft is expected to employ over 7,500 employees in Bellevue, making it the city’s largest employer.
  • There are 2.6 million square feet of office space under construction in Bellevue’s central business district, with another 2 million square feet on the way. Hines’ Tower333, Bentall’s Summit Building C, and Beacon Properties’ City Center Plaza are among the office towers now under development. Schnitzer West’s The Bravern, a huge mixed-use complex (retail, office, and residential) is also under construction.
  • There are already 3,200 residential units under development, with another 3,500 on the way. The majority of these buildings incorporate both residential and retail space on the ground floor. Gering Edlen’s Bellevue Towers, Hanover’s The Ashton and Ten20 developments, Wasatch’s Washington Square, and AvalonBays’ Avalon Meydenbauer are among these projects.
  • Kemper Development’s Lincoln Square is a hotspot for office development. Eddie Bauer’s Worldwide Headquarters and Microsoft Sales and Marketing are the only tenants.
  • Two new projects are giving Bellevue’s Main Street a major makeover. One Main Street Partners’ One Main project is now under development, while SRM’s Bellevue at Main is being evaluated.
  • On the current Bellevue site, a partnership between Overlake Hospital Medical Center and Group Health Cooperative is building two additional state-of-the-art towers. In addition, Bellevue’s Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Facility is planning to build a medical center.
  • Nordstrom, Banana Republic, Pottery Barn, and Victoria Secret have completed major extensions as part of a $40 million revamp of Bellevue Square.
  • In Bellevue’s new luxury retirement complex, The Bellettini, several new restaurants have recently opened, including Palomino at Lincoln Square, Toscano restaurant, and Panini’s Bistro & Wine Bar. In addition, Blue C Sushi and Boom Noodle in Bellevue Square, as well as Purple Café and Barrio in the Bellevue Towers, are slated to open in late 2008.
  • With the recent openings of the Westin and Bellevue Downtown Courtyard by Marriott, as well as the grand re-opening of the Hilton Bellevue, Bellevue’s hospitality industry is growing. The Hyatt Regency Bellevue is undergoing a major refurbishment and expansion that will add 351 hotel rooms and 50,000 square feet of event space in the summer of 2009. Just south of downtown, the Marriott Residence Inn is nearing completion, and Hotel Sierra has just opened in Bellevue’s Eastgate neighborhood. HEI’s Marriott Hotel and Kemper Development’s The Bellevue are two other hotel projects in the works.

Workforce that is both diverse and well-educated

Bellevue is known for its varied, highly talented, and qualified workforce, which gives businesses an advantage when it comes to hiring, retaining, and attracting personnel. Bellevue is a strong economic engine that attracts top talent from around the world and is a net importer of workers from the surrounding region.

  • Nearly 60% of residents hold a Bachelor’s Degree or above, which is significantly higher than the national average of 27%.
  • Management and professional services occupations employ over 58 percent of employed inhabitants.
  • Bellevue is home to a diverse cultural mix. Over 84 languages are spoken by schoolchildren in our community, with an estimated 31 percent of people being foreign-born. In an increasingly worldwide market, Bellevue’s variety is a valuable asset.
  • The population base throughout the day is close to 200,000. This number is expected to rise to 255,000 by 2020.
  • To optimize educational possibilities and cultivate local talent, the academic and corporate communities are linked.

A Business-Oriented City

Bellevue is the most fiscally responsible city in the region and state, with a City Council that understands and supports business. As the Eastside’s urban center, the city administration has made prudent investments to elevate Bellevue to its current status.

  • For growth and relocation services, a predictable, business-friendly permit procedure is required.
  • Highest possible bond ratings: The City of Bellevue has a AAA bond rating from Moody’s Investors Service. Only about 3% of all municipal and non-public offerings rated by Moody’s obtained a AAA rating in 2007. Standard & Poor’s has given Bellevue the highest rating (AAA).
  • Total reserves of around $213 million
  • Local governance with a city manager
  • Low levels of crime

First and foremost, there is service.

The City of Bellevue promotes a healthy economic climate and offers a comprehensive set of customer-focused services that contribute to Bellevue’s reputation as an excellent place to do business.

  • At City Hall, the service first desk streamlines consumer access to City services and eliminates several stops.
  • Through a single point of contact, the City provides rapid, predictable, and consistent permitting services.
  • The Office of Economic Development offers a variety of services to support business development, including startup, expansion, retention, and recruitment.
  • The city’s sustained development is aided by ongoing land use planning activities.

Competitive Advantage: Operating Costs

The city of Bellevue is one of the best and most cost-effective places to do business. Core service costs are shared among a vast number of citizens and businesses, and the city is committed to anticipating future growth and infrastructure needs while keeping taxes low.

  • Businesses in Bellevue can be more efficient, competitive, and successful because of their diverse customer base.
  • In the last ten years, there have been no increases in gross receipts tax rates.
  • There is no “head” tax on employees.
  • There are no annual fees for ordinary business license renewal.
  • The city collaborates with other Eastside communities to benefit from economies of scale in infrastructure and basic services.
  • On the backs of business, budgets and new investments are not balanced.
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