Kemper Freeman Microsoft Tateuchi CenterOn Friday, Kemper Freeman and Microsoft each contributed $1 million to the Tateuchi Center, bringing the current funding to $62 million. The total fundraising needed for the project is $160 million.

There has been much speculation about Kemper Freeman’s campaigns against Initiative 1125, which would prohibit converting highway lanes to light-rail tracks. Microsoft on the other hand has been for the Initiative. The contribution to the Tateuchi Center from both parties has been made to be seen as symbolism that disagreeing on 1 topic does not mean that parties cannot come together and be productive on another. Statements from both groups were made publicly to reinforce this sentiment.

It’s important to note that both parties have previously made significant contributions to the project already. Microsoft has previously donated $1.1 million, and Freeman has made what is likely the most significant and visionary contribution to the project – the land itself. The land is valued at $8 million.

The project, which brings a 2,000-seat concert hall and 250-seat cabaret theater to Bellevue, needs about $80 million more to be raised before they can break ground on it, according to John Haynes, Tateuchi Executive Director and CEO.


  1. I Hope This Facility Will Be Built In The Very Near Future… It Will Be Fantastic For Bellevue and The Region As A Whole!!!!

  2. Is that the lot right across from Washington Square condos?

  3. @ Toad37: Yes

    Will he request a heli-pad here too?:)

  4. Probably needs a couple of more years before it can be built.

    It’s amazing that they have raised 62 million… but they still have 80 to go. =(

  5. Why is kemper against light rail on the freeway? I could spend less time sitting on 405 and more time shopping. Portland, OR is a great example of light rail on the highway and it works great. I got stuck there during a really bad snow storm and walked to the freeway overpass (from my hotel) and hopped on the light rail all the way to the airport. Freeways were closed but light rail was running, warm and cozy. I spend a lot of time in big cities for work and Seattle/Bellevue is so far behind when it comes to transportation….why do we all have to agree?…just build the damn thing!

    The first US railway opened in 1830. This is not rocket science folks…plenty of room right down the middle of 405 for a track and it’s fairly cheap to do. Seems too simple for todays gov process. We already have the park in rides up and down the freeways, just connect them to the light rail and we are set. If you need to see it for yourself take a little trip to Portlandia. 😉

  6. Rachel – Kemper is not against rail on the freeway per say, he is looking for ways to kill light rail to the Eastside. He thinks this is his best option, which has of course failed. If he were smart he would be trying to get light rail closer to his properties rather then trying to kill it or let it be so far east like they are planning now.

    He is a classic “I like the bus” kind of guy that would be against any bus spending.

  7. @Rachel and @captredbeard

    I don’t know Kemper Freeman personally, but, from looking at what he’s done in Bellevue, one thing I wouldn’t doubt about is his smartness. His ideas and plans may not match with yours, but that does not make him stupid.

    If you absolutely have to question something about him, it should probably be his motives, and, even then, you’d just be wildly guessing.

  8. “he would be trying to get light rail closer to his properties”.

    I think this makes a lot of sense.

    I am kind of bumed when they say the light rail station is going to be on 110th Street. It’s right nex to Bravern but too far from the Bellevue Square area.

    I am a lone voice who supports surface route on 106th Ave. 106th Ave is close to everything, and is very narrow with few cars, I doubt anyone will notice if the whole road is converted to light rail track.

  9. @Kevin,
    Really? 112th is too far away from Bellevue Square? You can’t walk a couple of blocks?
    For the record, Kemper is against light rail because he thinks it will bring the ‘wrong kind of people’ to downtown Bellevue. He is also against busses and other forms of public transportation. He only wants private car drivers to come to Bellevue Square.

  10. LD, I’m curious why you think that about Kemper Freeman? (I’m not disagreeing with you, just wondering how you came to the conclusion.) Seriously, why is kemper actually against light rail? It seems like it would bring more people to his shopping center by making bellevue more accessible and generally a nicer place for people to move to. I once thought it might be because it is too expensive, but if they are already building light rail in Seattle, why wouldn’t Bellevue want to join in?

  11. @KD, @LD, I can imagine two possibilities why Kemper would be opposed to the light rail in Bellevue.

    One. As some have accused, he doesn’t want the wrong kind of crowd visiting his premium destinations. The wrong crowd would increase shop lifting/ car jacking resulting in lower rents / lose customers.

    Two. As he has repeatedly argued, using the current HOV lanes on I-90 for the light rail would result in far lesser utilization of the roadway and cause heavier traffic on the other lanes (resulting in fewer shoppers visiting Bellevue).

    Personally I agree with him. It’s not the Bellevue folks are itching to ditch their cars and ride public transport.

  12. EnataiMan:

    1. Yes low lifes will not take the bus to bellevue but once light rail gets here they will all jump on. The 550 comes every 8 minutes at peak hours!

    2. The HOV lanes currently are one way on I90, adding lanes to the outside making them go both ways actually increases the capacity of the bridge. You make it sound like the HOV lanes will just be gone, that is not the case.

  13. @LD

    LD, Congratulations on having strong legs.

    But yes, 110th Street is far enough from Bellevue Square that it can deter some people from taking it.

    Not to mention no one wants to talk 20 mins in the rain and cold, with their shopping bags in hand, when winter comes.

    Don’t we want the most optimized location so everyone can benefit? So don’t give me the “oh look at how fit I am, I can walk for 10 mins” BS.

  14. @Kevin,
    It has nothing to do with strong legs or fitness. People regularly walk two or three blocks in big cities all the time. My 75 year old overweight mother does it. No big deal. You just have to get used to the idea of it. Everyone can do it.

  15. @LD

    I agree with you.

    Everyone *can* do it.

    Very few *will* do it.

    Everyone can also run 1 mile per day, stop eating steaks, buy 3 cylinder 100 hp cars instead of V6…