Washington Square LogoAlmost a year ago in July of 2010, Touchstone Corporation’s founder, Douglas Howe, spoke about breaking ground in 2012, on what was originally discussed as a 15-story mixed-use office, hotel, and retail complex, to continue and develop Washington Square at NE 8th St. and 106th Ave. NE. The hotel, as originally discussed, was planed to have around 250 rooms.

There have not been any official announcements as of yet, but the change in venue for the Bellevue Farmer’s Market on Saturdays is a significant indicator that we may see earlier development at Washington Square than originally planned. Last year the Bellevue Farmer’s Market took place in the empty parking lot where the construction is planned at Washington Square. This year, up until a few weeks prior to the first Saturday Farmer’s Market, the event was still planned at Washington Square. The change in location seemed like a last-minute change, which alludes to something happening there in the near future.

The continuation of the Washington Square ‘Superblock’ has been long awaited by the community. If this project were to break ground, it would be the largest mixed-used project of this scale in Downtown Bellevue.


  1. PLEASE…..This seems more like an ad placed by one of your sponsors to create buzz and hype rather than any real new information or news. I don’t see anyone digging. I don’t see any posting for a public hearing. I don’t even see that any permits have been applied for with the city. These things take time. I am not looking for anything to start happening anytime soon.

  2. At least one of the retail tenants currently located in that space (Estate Furnishings) seems to be in the process of moving as well.

    As for permitting, I imagine a lot of this was done previously, probably before the economy went into recession.

  3. @John You must be responding to the last paragraph, because everything else within the post I assume the developer would prefer wasn’t posted.

    This project is often overlooked because the two condo towers have been completed, but ultimately the whole block was meant to be developed. If you spend time talking to residents at Washington Square many of them were promised the whole block to be developed when they originally purchased, and they are really hoping that the development continues.

    I think you might be surprised by an announcement this summer 😉 (I can’t always post all of the details I have)

  4. Interesting observation Michael. Would love to see some cranes again.

  5. Please…Again with the plugging for WA Square. Touchtone bought the property and they are developing it independent from Wasatch. Being a resident at WA SQ I am very familiar with the party line.

    Estate Furnishings did not move because they are starting a project this summer. She moved because she was on a month to month lease and that is very risky for any business.

    Of course Touchtone will build out the rest of the block. I do belive that to be true, but I have been hearing about this supposed “surprise announcement” that was supposed to happen last winter, then in March, now summer. I am so done waiting for any surprise announcement. Besides, any of the original Wasatch original plans have little to do with what Touchstone will put there. New plans would need to be submitted to the city before anything can be done and so far I have not heard that the city is in receipt of new plans.

    As for your comment that the developer would prefer this not be known, none of that is new news. All this has been on their webiste (http://www.touchstonecorp.com/)since it was announced that they purchased the property a year ago.

  6. Not sure what ticked off the Mr. John above here… Maybe his condo view will be blocked? =)

    This is a good news for downtown Bellevue and for your condo John. And frankly I don’t even think it helps to plug WA Square. If someone is a potential buyer, he might not be interested to live beside a giant construction site for 2 years.

  7. I’m also a resident at Washington Square and one of the members of the concierge mentioned that construction is supposed to start later this year. I’m not sure how accurate that is though because as John pointed out, no plans have been submitted to the city.

  8. This PDF file lists out all of the projects under construction and going through the permitting process for downtown Bellevue. There’s no sign of the Touchstone project yet.

  9. Thanks Matt for the additional point.

    Sorry if I sounded a little snarky yesterday. I just get tired of hearing the same hype. If you look at the facts, they just don’t support the rumors and that is just misinformation.

    There are lots or “real” and “active” projects that can be reported on if it is a slow news day rather than report old news as if it was something to be excited about.

    For example, give a status update on all the traffic projects or do a review on a new restaurant or plug the upcoming summer festivals. I am just saying that everything in this post was just “old news” recycled as if it was impending.

    I will have to say that I am excited for the day that construction does begin. I think it will be a much added attraction and benefit to the community once complete.

  10. Hey John….how’s the Haterade these days?

  11. I noticed on Loopnet Real Estate’s website that the restaurant space at Washington Square is off the market and not available anymore. It is approximately 5000 square feet and has been vacant ever since the place has been built. Does anyone have any clue what restaurant might be moving in?

  12. I recall, in the past, that El Gaucho was to be the tenant. I’m not sure of any current contenders.

  13. @Chris

    That’s interesting news. I didn’t see any application notice or activity inside the space though. Would love to have a big classy restaurant in that space.

    There seems to be an increase in retail activity around WA Square which is really nice.

    I see some construction going on in a big retail space at the bottom of Belcarra apartments too.

  14. Wasatch pulled that restaurant space off the market and is waiting for the Performing Arts Center to get closer to open. They’ll get more for it if they wait. They are just trying to time the market better to get the most money. Who can blame them.

  15. It isn’t hate. I like Washington Square. I just don’t like misinformation.

  16. The post is all based on speculation on a “personal” blog, so whats the beef?

  17. The beef (if there is one) is that it may be a personal blog, but it isn’t put out there as such. It is put out there as a community source of news and information.

    Also, when you have Washington Square as an advertiser on your front page, it looks as if you are publishing fact rather than speculation.

    All I did was add real data points to the conversation rather than just pure speculation.

  18. John, go to the beach… go out biking… go for a stroll in Bellevue park… you will feel better.

  19. I toured Washington Square this last weekend… all I heard during the entire presentation is about all the developement over the next 12-18 months. It sounds to me like the staff there have been told its happening.

  20. I’ll be excited to hear the announcement this summer as it seems like no one really knows what is going on.

    @ John
    Washington Square isn’t the only advertiser on the main page, Bellevue Towers, One Main, every Downtown Bellevue condominium community is an advertiser. Seems more like you have something against Washington Square. I personally think it will be nice to know about new construction in the area and to finally see that old block developed with newer buildings.

  21. Michael said “I think you might be surprised by an announcement this summer (I can’t always post all of the details I have)”


    No announcement yet and summer is officially over. No permits, no restaurant, no digging, nothing new to report.

  22. @John I did say that I couldn’t post all the ‘details’ I had, but that didn’t mean that the details were that the project was going to happen by the end of Summer.

    They were facts that supported a quicker transition than what has taken place – clearly this has proved to not be the case.

  23. Yep, John was right, this was pure speculation. I was told after touring the condos a few times in July that a BIG announcement was coming at the end of August. Lol!!! Pure sales pitch BS. I did end up buying a foreclosure in Wa Sq any way though. I just hope what ever they build doesn’t block my view from the 16th floor. 🙂