Bellevue Square plans to expand
The regional mall wants to expand its retail space by 10 percent; one observer says the setup could attract a "major destination retailer" such as Saks or Bloomingdale's.
Seattle Times business reporter
Bellevue Square is expanding — up, not out.
The regional mall's owner has filed preliminary paperwork with Bellevue city planners to add 119,000 square feet of retail space and 131,500 square feet of parking with 375 stalls.
The new construction would be on top of part of the existing two- to three-story shopping center and the four-story parking garage to the west, spanning the mall's West Drive.
The expansion would increase Bellevue Square's retail space by about 10 percent. It now has about 1.3 million square feet.
A spokeswoman for Kemper Development, the mall's owner, declined to discuss the expansion, or whether a tenant or tenants has been signed for it.
But Seattle retail consultants Richard Outcalt and Patricia Johnson speculated the space could be intended for a Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's or Nordstrom Rack.
"It has to be one major destination retailer," Outcalt said.
In malls, "You can't get people to go up. People move horizontally," he said. Shoppers need a powerful incentive to climb to another level, he added, and a nationally known retailer would provide that.
A Saks or Bloomingdale's would be either chain's first store in the Seattle area, and Bellevue Square owner Kemper Freeman has said he'd like to land one of the upscale retailers.
The 119,000 square feet of proposed retail might not be enough for Bloomingdale's or Saks, Johnson said, but more could be provided by also leasing them the space directly below and creating a two-level store.
Bellevue Square already has a full-price Nordstrom store, but the retailer recently has been opening discount Racks near its full-line outlets, even in the same mall — it's building a Rack at Seattle's Northgate.
The new 119,000 square feet at Bellevue Square would be plenty big for a Rack, Johnson and Outcalt said. In fact, it is more the twice the size of the new Nordstrom Rack in downtown Seattle's Westlake Center.
There's already a Rack in Bellevue, at Market Place at Factoria.
Nordstrom spokesman Colin Johnson declined to comment on the possibility of a Rack at Bellevue Square.
"We just can't respond to speculation on that kind of thing," he said.
A document Bellevue Square filed with city officials indicates 150 to 200 sales people would work in the new space.
The added retail area would be smaller than the space occupied by the mall's anchors: Nordstrom, JC Penney and Macy's. Their stores range in size from 180,000 to 270,000 square feet.
The document says construction is expected to be completed in February 2014.
Bellevue City Councilmember Kevin Wallace, who also is president of commercial real-estate firm Wallace Properties, told an industry gathering Thursday that there's a rumor Bellevue Square will add another department store "at some point."
Wallace said Friday he didn't know any more than that.
Kemper Development has plans to expand Bellevue Square to the south, but put them on hold during the recession. The company also postponed plans for a major expansion of its high-rise Lincoln Square project, across Bellevue Way Northeast from the mall.
Information from The Seattle Times archives is included in this report.
Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or email@example.com