Downtown Bellevue 4th of July Events

The-Bellevue-Collection-Family-4th-Logo-05-01-14Its a big weekend in downtown Bellevue. Saturday, July 4th is the annual Bellevue Family 4th celebration at the Downtown Park. The Family Fun Zone opens at 2:00 with music and activities throughout the day.  The Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra performance begins at 9:30 and the evening ends with one of the Eastside’s premier fireworks events staring at 10:00.  Bring a blanket, a picnic dinner and find the perfect spot at the park to enjoy the day’s festivities.

4on4th_Poster

Don’t miss Bellevue’s Four on the 4th dog jog and walk. This fun, family friendly 4K jog and walk kicks off at 9:00 AM at Ashwood Park (next to the Bellevue library). Dogs in costume, people in costume, sponsor and activity booths, a BFD fire truck, bouncy house and more. The Seattle Humane Society’s big yellow MaxMobile adoption bus will be on site with available dogs and cats for adoption.
Registration and information at www.bellevuedowntown.com

Beavers, Raccoons and Coyotes . . . Oh My!

Chick Fil A BeaverHumans aren’t the only ones lining up for a quick lunch at Chick-fil-A. Last week Bellevue Police responded to a call about a beaver wandering the restaurant’s parking lot. The beaver, who apparently didn’t know Chick-fil-A is closed on Sunday, or might have been lining up early for Monday’s lunch rush, received a patrol car ride back to a nearby beaver pond.

Bellevue really is a city in a park. Its easy to forget that the city is surrounded by open space, waterfront, wetlands and native protected growth areas. Bellevue has 2,500 acres of parks and open space including nearly 100 city maintained parks. Its not unusual during an early morning walk in the neighborhoods and parks adjacent to downtown to see raccoons, bunnies, an occasional coyote, squirrels and of course less cute urban rats. Development may have altered the local wildlife habitat over the years but its also encouraging to see that wildlife has adapted to city living.

Still on the Fence About Buying?

fenceThere are currently 95 condominiums for sale in the downtown Bellevue marketplace (zip code 98004).

  • 43 new construction units at Washington Square (prices start at $590,000)
  • 52 resale units (prices start at $249,950)
  • Of those 52 available resale condos, just over 40% of those are priced under $500,000.

In the last 30 days 33 condos in downtown Bellevue sold and another 23 have sales pending. If you’re in the market for a condo downtown, or anywhere on the Eastside, selection is slim and it doesn’t appear that trend will improve in the coming months.

If you’re a seller, now is certainly a great time to sell. While this condo bull market doesn’t mean you don’t need to prepare your home for sale, o thatr you can price it inappropriately for the market (it will still need to appraise), it does mean it will likely sell quickly.

If you’re still on the fence about buying, with mortgage interest rates on the rise, now is the time to climb off that fence. Freddie Mac reported last week that 30 year fixed rate mortgages set a new high for 2015 averaging above 4% for the first time this year. Rising rates reduce affordability. Don’t get too comfortable sitting on that fence or the market could pass you by.

The Perfect Weekend to be Outdoors

enatai-beachWith 80+ degree temperatures and sunshine predicted there’s no excuse to stay inside this weekend. One of the great features of living in downtown Bellevue is the access to upscale urban amenities and awesome urban and lakefront parks  –  most within walking distance of one another. If you haven’t visited Enatai Beach Park lately, this weekend is the perfect opportunity. Besides the lakefront beach there’s a large picnic area and canoe and kayak rentals. Try something new and rent a stand-up paddleboard or schedule one of the guided canoe trips through the Mercer Slough Nature Park.  Enatai Beach Park is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, canoe, kayak, paddleboard rentals and the Mercer Slough tour are available on weekends. Grab your flip-flops, sunscreen, a picnic lunch and head to Enatai Beach for a sun and fun filled weekend. There aren’t many places you can live where a vibrant downtown and sunny lakefront beach are all within blocks of one another.

For more information visit the City of Bellevue Parks Department or Enatai Beach Park information at http://parkstrails.myparksandrecreation.com/Details.aspx?pid=506

Making Room for the New on Old Main Street

Photo courtesy Eastside Heritage Center

Photo courtesy Eastside Heritage Center

Many Bellevue residents have been unaware that Old Main Street’s oldest structure still stood behind a jewelry store on Main Street. The Philbrook House, originally a farmhouse and then residence for Civil War veteran Alphonso Philbrook, later became a restaurant serving whalers working in Meydenbauer Bay in the 1920s. In the 1940s it was a plumbing store, then a bakery and from the 70s to 90s housed various businesses. The building is scheduled for demolition to make way for an office building.

Efforts to raise funds to save the building have been unsuccessful. Both temporary and permanent sites were explored with the City, but ultimately the cost to relocate the building was too high and the date for demolition didn’t leave enough time to explore other options. The City of Bellevue is working with the owner of the property on plans to create a display at the site to commemorate the Philbrook House and honor the history of the structure.