Kemper Freeman Jr., CEO of Kemper Development – Photo Credit: From the book, “Generations: Kemper Freeman Jr. and the Freeman Family”

The longtime CEO of Kemper Development Company, Kemper Freeman, was recently interviewed by Puget Sound Business Journal to discuss reopening plans post COVID-19 for his Bellevue Collection properties. This include Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place, Lincoln Square North and Lincoln Square South.

In the article, Freeman predicts that The Bellevue Collection will reopen June 1. Upon reopening, The Bellevue Collection is considering increasing how their HVAC system handles air by running fans several hours prior to opening to bring fresh air inside Bellevue Square. Additionally, they have recently hired a certified hygienist to assist with validating their cleaning processes and best practices, which Freeman suggests are currently, “Hospital-industrial standards.”

When discussing additional changes visitors might see, Kemper believes that restaurants may distance tables or even limit the number of chairs at a table.

Freeman believes that Bellevue and the entire Eastside will not be in a recession coming out of COVID-19. He calls out Microsoft and Amazon’s presence in Bellevue as key reasons for Bellevue being recession-proof.

According to Kemper, The Bellevue Collection had recently seen the strongest growth it ever has. Over the last two years, the company was up 20.7% for same-store sales, December grew over 13%, and they had their best January and February they’ve ever had in their history.

Retail has been hit particularly hard nationally given COVID-19 social distancing requirements and forced closures. It’s unclear at this time what level of impact this will have on individual retailers and restaurants. This information will likely become more readily available in the coming weeks leading up to a potential reopening.

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