Earlier this week Seattle Weekly put together a lengthy article on the Bellevue’s downtown economy titled “Lush Lie.” The article points out economic struggles for the 3 main Downtown Bellevue condominium towers (Washington Square, Bellevue Towers, and The Bravern) and how they have weathered the storm. The piece also points out in detail the several unexpected and recent restaurant closings.

The article quotes several influential members of the community including Dan Ivanoff (CEO of Schnitzer West) and Kemper Freeman (The Bellevue Collection). The article starts by telling a story of why Schnitzer bet big on Bellevue. The story goes on to admit struggles that The Bravern complex has had in its past year, and in closing the article includes a portion of the interview with Dan Ivanoff and how he continues to reinforce Schnitzer West’s dedication to the long-term wellbeing of The Bravern.

Other interesting facts from the article:

  • 2000 median household income in Bellevue was $62,000 (Compared to $45,000 in Seattle)
  • According to The Oregonian Bellevue Towers Developer, Gerding Edlen, is in negotiations to turn Bellevue Towers lenders (See article here)
  • Kate Spade was the first retail tenant that Schnitzer West attempted to lure to The Bravern, which led to its parent company Neiman Marcus to gain interest and eventually land at The Bravern
  • The 5,000 square-foot top floor penthouse at The Bravern has been left unfinished so it can be customized to a potential buyer’s liking
  • The Bravern had 125 presale agreements
  • The Bravern was willing to come down in rent pricing to lure David Lawrence
  • Schnitzer West has a $684 million construction loan from a Houston-based lender
  • Investcorp, a London-based private-equity firm, invested $800 million into The Bravern in 2007


  1. After reading this article it seems that Seattle is trying to discredit Bellevue’s long term ambition of creating a great city by pointing out challenges almost every city in the US is dealing with.

    It reminds me of a older individual trying to say to an ambitious young person, “just wait until you get older….life won’t be as great as you envision it”

    Why else would you make a 5 page article dissecting the details of developers “issues”.

    It’s an informative article about big development, but I fail to see how Seattle is putting Bellevue “in-check”.

    After living on the Eastside my entire life Seattle has had their chance to make a great city. I believe Bellevue beat them to it.

  2. Most of that article IS true and I would still rather live, eat, shop on the eastside and in Bellevue vs. Seattle.

    Seattle has alot of work to do to catch up to Bellevue and the eastside.

    As Sam mentioned…every city faces these challenges and at the end of the day, I would say Bellevue is doing pretty darn good compared to others.

    Seattle may want to look in the mirror.

  3. I think the article is pretty accurate, but the reality is downtown Bellevue businesses are suffering because the middle class are suffering. Many homeowners are underwater, and their jobs are not secure even if they are making $100K a year.

    I disagree with some of Michael’s comments. I don’t think Bellevue residents need to see out of town business owners contributing to the community. I’ve eaten in all of those restaurants that closed and the bottom line is they just weren’t that good (for the price).

    As for potential condo buyers. It’s not just loan availability, it’s that potential buyers know the prices are just too high. Especially with the shadow inventory out there.

    Downtown will be much invigorated when the Bravern, WA Square, and Bellevue Towers further cut prices or go to auction. Just having 1000’s more people living downtown with disposable income will be a boon for local businesses.