As someone who once made his living digging through historical documents, I am fascinated by this month’s story about the history of downtown Bellevue, particularly how one determined city employee helped mold the city into a major player on the international business scene.
Writer Jake Bullinger’s piece, “The Roots of Downtown,” has been in the works for months, and it begins on page 38. It’s lengthy, but I hope you, as I did, find it worth taking the time to read. It’s said we can learn a lot from history; this piece teaches us a lot. Foremost, it gives perspective on how fast Bellevue has grown from, as Jake writes, “6,000 people and strawberry fields forever” to a city that is now “competing with Denver, Austin, the Bay Area, and Seattle for tech companies and talent that require an amenity-filled, diverse downtown that’s easy to navigate.”
Jake’s story has an indirect tie to our cover package about Eastside retail. Not only does downtown Bellevue play a key role in the Eastside retail scene, but so does Kemper Freeman Jr., whose father was one of “The Three Moguls” discussed in Jake’s story. The Moguls were a trio of prominent Bellevue businessmen then-City Planner Fred Herman worked to win over in the 1970s to foster his plans for the city’s development.
Bellevue is indeed a big player in the Eastside retail scene, but it certainly isn’t the only one. On page 48, writer Marjorie Clark takes a look at the state of Eastside retail as a whole, focusing not only on downtown Bellevue, but also on some of the other players on the Eastside, including The Landing in Renton and Redmond Town Center, a 700,000-square-foot development that’s in the midst of reinventing itself under new management.
For those who couldn’t make it (and we hope you were among the couple hundred who did) to our launch party in September at the Bellevue Arts Museum, we also recap the night for you in photos. It was a grand affair, complete with ice sculptures, excellent food, and VIP guests, including Apptio CEO Sunny Gupta, who graced the cover of our inaugural issue.
That night was a success and people took a liking to what we had done with our first issue. With this one, our sophomore effort, we offer much of the same, with some changes based on readers’ feedback. Please keep that feedback coming so we can shape our product into one that best serves you. That’s what we are all about.