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BELLEVUE, WA-Portions of the 1.4 million-sf Lincoln Square development here opened its doors this week, five years after the project first broke ground. The 1.4 million-sf project across from Bellevue Square includes 310,000 sf of retail; 148 residential condominiums above the hotel; a 27-story office tower; and the 337-room Westin Bellevue. The developer is Kemper Freeman, which also owns Bellevue Square and another neighboring development.

The hotel opened this week along with a few of the retailers, including The Container Store (27,600 sf), Thomasville Home Furnishings (13,500 sf) and Tully’s Coffee. A company source tells GlobeSt.com that the retail component is now 70% leased and additional leases are being negotiated.

Three restaurants–Maggiano’s Little Italy, McCormick and Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant and Manzana Rotisserie Grill–will open in the coming weeks along with Vino 100, a wine store. The Paper Source, Lincoln Square Cinemas and Parlor Billiards & Spirits, are scheduled to before the end of the year. Trader Vic’s is expected to open early next year.

The hotel occupies the first 19 floors of a 42-story tower, with the upper floors housing the 148 condominiums, which are sold out. Every hotel room features 32-inch LCD flat-screen television and wireless high-speed Internet access. Common amenities include 25,510 sf of function space in 18 meeting and breakout rooms.

The office tower is set to rise above the underground parking and retail podium early next year. Retailer Eddie Bauer kick started the project in August by pre-leasing 200,000 sf for its headquarters.

The project got under way in 2000 and was halted in mid-2002 after the dot-com meltdown and the ensuing recession shook the project–and the Downtown office market–to its core. The developer at that time was a group of investors led by Lend Lease Real Estate Investments’ Value Enhancement Fund IV.

When Kemper Development purchased the stalled development in August 2003, he acquired not only the land but also the 1,700 below-grade parking garage and a half-completed hotel-condominium tower and the steel for the office building, which had been pre-purchased. If Kemper had to purchase the steel this year, the price would be millions more, Kemper told GlobeSt.com earlier this year.

A syndicate of banks led by Bank of America and US Bank have provided $220 million in construction financing for the first four phases (parking, retail, hotel and residential) and the New York State Teachers Retirement System have made a $128-million forward commitment for a 10-year permanent financing that will pay off the portion not covered by the sale of the condominiums. Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., a subsidiary of Hartford-based Cigna Corp., holds a $33-million equity stake in the project.

Lincoln Square is part of a four-block area owned almost entirely by Kemper Development. Across Bellevue Way from Lincoln Square is Kemper’s one-million-sf Bellevue Square mall. Across Northeast 8th Avenue from Lincoln Square is Bellevue Place, Kemper’s 500,000-sf office and retail development that wraps around the Hyatt Regency Bellevue.

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