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December 1, 2005
Imagine being asked to lead the team to quickly redesign a massive, partially constructed mixed-use project.
This is precisely what Kemper Development Co. asked Sclater Partners Architects to do when it purchased the stalled Lincoln Square development in Bellevue. Many unique conditions affected this massive undertaking.
Sclater Partners' involvement in Lincoln Square began almost a year before Kemper Development completed the purchase of the 4.75-acre site in August 2003. The developer wanted to assess the plans to see whether it was feasible to assume ownership.
The evaluation considered the placement of retail stores, restaurants, office building, hotel and condominiums, as well as the layout of parking spaces and circulation patterns for pedestrians and vehicles. In the end, the original design of Lincoln Square was significantly altered.
Revising old plans
Photo courtesy of Sclater Partners
Lincoln Square's revised design added entrances to give the building a greater street presence. A new skybridge connects the project with Bellevue Square, across the street.
Sclater Partners redesigned the buildings and obtained new building permits for the project on a fast-track schedule.
Ramps were constructed inside the five-level underground parking garage to speed the movement of vehicles.
Designers and contractors faced the challenge of working in subterranean spaces that had been exposed to the elements for nearly two years. Water had leaked into all levels of the garage, including utility services and mechanical and elevator shafts. The remodel work was more akin to a mining and excavation effort than a construction project.
Several months before the property changed hands, the design team began working on plans for the garage renovation, allowing construction to begin as soon as Kemper Development took over the property.
With building permits set to expire, the project had to adhere to a 21-month construction schedule. New building permits would have caused a lengthy delay.
The structural steel framing for the retail stores, restaurants and entertainment facilities had been fabricated based on the original design. Stored in two lay-down yards out of state, many of the steel members required modification to accommodate the revised project layout. In addition, the steel shop drawings needed revision before the new steel framing could be erected.
Additional modifications to the layout included relocation of entrances and exits, elevators and stairways.
The relationship of the ground-floor tenants to the building was revised where once-planned offices were slated to become retail stores and restaurants.
Entrances that opened onto Bellevue Way and Northeast Eighth were created, resulting in an open relationship to the sidewalks and boulevards.
A new skybridge
A pedestrian skybridge now connects Lincoln Square and Bellevue Square, allowing visitors to park their cars at either location and move easily from one to the other.
The orientation of the skybridge and its relationship to the escalators and elevators in the atrium allow for clear circulation pathways to the street level, as well as the third floor of Lincoln Square, which houses a cinema and billiards parlor.
Customers have free access to the second levels of both Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square, allowing the shops and restaurants there to function as though they have streetfront presence.
The Westin Bellevue continued as the hotel operator through the change in project ownership. Susan Marinello Interiors worked with Sclater Partners Architects to modify its layout.
The orientation of the lounge was changed to provide a stronger relationship to the Northeast Sixth Avenue pedestrian corridor.
An enclosed walkway will connect the ballroom level of the hotel with Bellevue Square and Bellevue Place, allowing guests to circulate among all three developments.
Sclater Partners also worked closely with the owners of more than 40 condominiums in the hotel-and-condo tower to incorporate their individual preferences.
Currently, a 29-story office tower is being redesigned to rise above the north end of the three-story retail building. Once the office building is completed, we hope the community will enjoy the space and place that has resulted from the synergy of Lincoln Square, Bellevue Square and Bellevue Place.
Alan Sclater is the principal in charge of Lincoln Square for Sclater Partners. Contributors include Craig Kasman, senior project manager; Brad Smith, hotel-condo project manager; and Michael Chaplin, retail and parking garage project manager.