This week, I wrote an article in the DJC on Bellevue Towers, its developer, Gerding Edlen, and what the project represents for Bellevue.
Bellevue Towers is a two-tower luxury condo project with 539 units. According to
Mike Brennan, director of Bellevue’s Development Services Department, it is the most prominent green building in Bellevue and the first multifamily high-rise that has gone for LEED certification in the city. It is targeting LEED gold and is supposedly the largest LEED-certified residential project in the Northwest, according to press materials. It is also the first project Gerding Edlen has done in the Puget Sound region.
That’s a lot of firsts. I’m wondering what this means for Bellevue.
Bellevue tends to have a mixed reputation when it comes to green buildings. In my wanderings, I’ve heard about city codes that make it difficult for projects to do low impact development, and green techniques that relate to stormwater. I’ve also heard disappointed reactions that the city wasn’t more receptive to green building earlier. (For a reaction on how Bellevue has been MIA, see the comments to a previous post regarding Kirkland here.)
But I wonder if that is changing.
Bellevue is the first city in the Puget Sound region to have a Gerding Edlen development. Gerding Edlen, Portland’s premier green developer, is known internationally for its work. I’m sure Seattle and other cities would have appreciated one of its projects.
Phil Beyl, principal in charge of Bellevue Towers with architect GBD, said the city welcomed aggressive sustainable techniques “with open arms.” Working on this project was exciting for him, precisely because he felt like he was bringing something new to the city: “We’ve been able to bring to Bellevue an elevated level of sustainability that now I think has raised the bar quite a bit higher… and that’s very exciting.”
Brennan said Bellevue is hoping this building will serve as an example and bring other green development to the city (though he also was unsure whether it actually would or not).
Incidentally, there are only two LEED certified buildings in Bellevue, according to the USGBC’s registry. But there are 24 that are registered. Then again, some of the projects that are awaiting certification like the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center (wrote about it a year ago here in the DJC) are pretty darn interesting.
Then there’s my own experience with people that read this blog.
I like to track where blog readers come from, and believe me, there’s been a dramatic shift. Last summer, I was surprised by how little readers I had from Bellevue (one here and there but virtually none). I even e-mailed certain city representatives to get them to read, but readers from Bellevue remained flat.
In the last two months, something changed. Now, Bellevue is consistently the third rated city, in cities that read this blog. (Behind Seattle, and then either Portland or New York, depending on the day.)
What the heck is going on?
Did something shift or did a whole lot of people from Bellevue start reading this blog for no reason? Was it the economy? Was it the change in presidents? I’m stumped.
What do you think? Is Bellevue getting – or going to be getting greener? Has anything changed or is this really just one LEED project? Comment below or answer my poll at right.
For more on Gerding Edlen, click the tab ‘Gerding Edlen’ below. Or check out SkyscraperCity and look under Bellevue Development or Bellevue Towers.