Seattle Or Bellevue: Selecting the Right City for Your Commercial Office Space

Seattle Or Bellevue: Selecting the Right City for Your Commercial Office Space

Seattle or Bellevue for Commercial Real Estate?

Which growing economic hub is the better location for your small to midsize business? Whether you are establishing your office location for the first time, or you’re considering a new office lease across Lake Washington, a combination of short-term trends and long-term resources should be considered when deciding which city best caters to your overall business success.

Downtown Seattle Skyline


Trends in ft2

Bellevue remains an attractive location for large international companies expanding operations. The city continues to accommodate Amazon, which now has more than 8,000 employees in the city. According to The Puget Sound Business Journal, Amazon has further intention to enter Bellevue’s Centre 425 building, and possibly an additional 280,000 square feet of office space at the nearby Summit III tower.

Despite its limited downtown core, Bellevue continues to adapt to demand. Currently, in development, the Spring District pushes the city’s modern corporate sprawl east of I-405. With a completion date in 2020, Facebook and REI’s new headquarters will fill the bulk of the office space with Facebook leasing an impressive 330,000 square feet.

Seattle differs from Bellevue in its wide array of office space options, diverse neighborhoods, and its overall work environment. Neighborhoods such as Pioneer Square, Lower Queen Anne, The Financial District, Belltown, South Lake Union, and Ballard all provide a unique combination of style and substance to office environments. Downtown’s attractive mingling of modern and historic add character to the equation and will put your office space right in the center of a vibrant and entertaining mix of big-city activity.

The Verdict: Demand for office space is high in both Seattle and Bellevue. Not a major corporate enterprise? When considering diverse options and use of space, Seattle offers the most resources per lease for small to midsize businesses. Seattle


Bellevue is thriving. Demand is high for both commercial and residential real estate. Commercial office space is consistently modern, especially downtown away from traditional office parks. Housing in Bellevue is expensive with homeownership driving the residential market. According to March 2019 data from Zillow, the median home value in Bellevue is $922,600. Bellevue’s focus on expensive property ownership could act as a barrier to employees seeking to live where they work.

Seattle is the epicenter of versatility. There is more of everything, including the supply of office space that caters to specific business demands. Seattle supports diverse sectors such as healthcare, retail, creative services, and tech start-ups. This adaptability helps each business get the most value out of their lease. On the residential side of the coin, Seattle has felt its share of growing pains due to limited housing options. But that’s about to change. The Seattle City Council recently enacted zoning amendments that will increase the development of multifamily units and allow taller commercial buildings near urban villages, major arterials, and transit hubs. Known as the Mandatory Housing Affordability plan, the February 2019 zoning legislation is designed for future growth throughout Seattle.

Verdict: The cost of a lease is the most critical expense to the bottom line of any business. Seattle’s versatility and long-term focus on meeting growth demands will outpace and outplay Bellevue. Since Seattle caters to businesses of all sizes and industries, it is likely the most affordable long-term lease destination. Seattle


Bellevue’s traffic is set to dramatically increase downtown and along the I-405 corridor. The arrival of Link light rail will offer some solution to congestion but ridership will be limited to select stops between Redmond and downtown Seattle. As a significant economic center for the entire Eastside, commuting by car or bus will remain the only option for the majority of inland workers who do not live near light rail stations. Fortunately, garage parking remains relatively accessible in downtown Bellevue … for now.

Seattle offers the most daily transportation options between urban neighborhoods and outer suburbs. With a walkable downtown, combined with Link and Metro bus options, employees working downtown have more ways to skip the daily car commute. New Link light rail stations serving Seattle are under construction. Next to open are Bellevue and Redmond stations to the east, as well as Northgate servicing suburban neighborhood north of Seattle. If you live in Bellevue, you’ll soon have a streamlined, cost-effective alternative to commute to your office in downtown Seattle. It’s worth noting that business travel is increasing across industries. Seattle has the hospitality options and shorter routes to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Whether you’re flying out, or your clients are flying in, it’s much easier to enter the board room in Seattle after landing at SeaTac than choosing Bellevue as your final destination.

Verdict: Jettisoning into the heart of downtown Seattle is only getting easier. Plus, Seattle remains the beating heart of the Puget Sound region. That means that the bulk of future infrastructure investments, including public transportation, are coming here first. Seattle

Downtown Culture

Bellevue’s South Lincoln Tower boasts an upscale food hall with beer on tap and quick-bite lunch options all in one convenient location. Across the walking bridge, Bellevue Square hosts plenty of local and chain favorites. With a population base of 140,000 residents, downtown Bellevue is the cornerstone of local affluence. Shopping is the big draw, while Lincoln Cinema and seasonal Snowflake Lane are the main entertainment draws for downtown.

Seattle’s food truck scene is alive and well. Pick any direction and nab lunch away from the office in under 45 minutes. Every business district presents food options with creative restauranteurs committed to distinct originality, artistry and soul. Meanwhile, entertaining out-of-town clients is easy with a host of hotel and nightly cultural events. After work game? Employees won’t need to cut out early to catch the first pitch, kick-off, or puck drop when your office is in downtown Seattle. The removal of the viaduct paves way for the new Seattle Waterfront Park. A study published by the urban development consulting firm HR&A Advisors reports that the 20-acre park will produce an estimated annual economic impact of $288 million.

Verdict: Diversity of people. Diversity of business relationships. Diversity of daily entertainment and lifestyle experiences. Establishing your business practices in the center of a cultural hub presents significant rewards for your business that go beyond cost-per-square-foot. Seattle

Evaluating Your Business Needs

Bellevue is business friendly and expanding. But Seattle is the internationally recognized city. While major global enterprises find expansion into Bellevue appealing, only Seattle has the international name recognition that can elevate your small to midsize business. With demand high in both Seattle and Bellevue, consider the metropolitan option that best caters to your diverse business, employee and client needs.

Martin Selig Real Estate Aerial

Choose wisely, because location matters.Disclaimer: Martin Selig Real Estate has been Seattle’s choice for innovative and modern commercial real estate solutions. The local, in-house team takes a full spectrum approach, not only designing and developing innovative projects from the ground-up but managing properties with a long-term focus on value and integrity. MSRE is proud of its dynamic portfolio of more than 30 properties conveniently located throughout Seattle’s most appealing urban submarkets. The MSRE team is proud of the contributions it has made and will continue to make across Seattle. Need help with leasing options in Seattle? Contact leasing specialists at Martin Selig Real Estate.

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