Bellevue’s growing role as a global city is evidenced by the speed at which foreign – in particular Chinese – investors are flocking to the Eastside, purchasing real estate, developing commercial plots and expanding their companies. Though Bellevue has been cultivating relations with Asia for some time, the rate of investment is accelerating.
Changing business climate
Bellevue’s record sale of a downtown site for $31 million to Chinese investors; stories of real estate being snatched for lump sums of cash and a bilingual site launched by the city of Bellevue last year all suggest the changing business climate.
Planned Bellevue projects
A pipeline of 20 projects are projected for downtown, spearheaded largely by Chinese investors. One potential investor hopes to buy the commercial zoning along light rail and Bel-Red Road. A several decades-long development that could reach from 120th to 140th, the investor has plans also to build residential neighborhoods catering to Chinese nationals. In Newcastle a 125-unit Asian retirement community expected to break ground in 2014.
Cash real estate purchases
Whereas Vancouver, British Columbia, and San Francisco used to be magnets for Asian investors, now Bellevue has become a destination. Fifty percent of the real estate recovery on the Eastside is due to cash buyers. When Chinese travel they spend an average of $6,000 per person, the highest of any nationality while abroad.
Bellevue’s obvious role as a tech hub and a platform for prominent Asian-American figures like Mayor Conrad Lee offer one reason for the attraction. But other factors, like the Eastside’s low crime rate, ethnic diversity, top-ranked schools and recovering economy also contribute. China’s own real estate value has risen as financial policy tightens, and many want a safe place to invest their fortunes.
Multi-cultural diversity is an important reason.. Read more.