Business and civic leaders gathered at Meydenbauer Center on Feb. 1 for Bellevue Downtown Association’s 44th Annual Celebration.

The event honored individuals and organizations who contributed to the city’s central business district, and included insights and perspectives on Bellevue from Bellevue Downtown Association President Patrick Bannon and Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak.

Place Making Awards were given to the City of Bellevue and Rotary Club of Bellevue for their work to complete the 21-acre Bellevue Downtown Park and create the 1.5-acre Inspiration Playground. Kemper Freeman Jr., chairman and CEO of Kemper Development Company, accepted a Place Making Award for his company’s construction of Lincoln Square Expansion, which opened last year and includes a 31-story office tower; a retail hub with 17 restaurants, Nordstrom Rack, Soulcycle, a Cinemark Reserve movie theater; and W Hotel.

Futurist and economist Rebecca Ryan, the event’s keynote speaker, urged downtown leaders to pursue a healthy financial market and a civic environment that includes people of all ages, backgrounds, and influences to help shape Bellevue’s identity.