West Bellevue and Downtown
Percentage of city: 9 percent
Under 18: 1,936 (17 percent of the area)
Housing Units: 7,692
West Bellevue – the original Bellevue – is an area that continues to grow with a mix of attractive neighborhoods, downtown retail and office buildings, and an extensive park and open space network. High-rise, mixed-use buildings and a thriving regional retail center (Bellevue Square, The Bravern and surrounding retail) dominate the downtown core.
Restaurants, theaters, a convention center, an art museum and other facilities provide services for Bellevue and the region. Main Street – sometimes called Old Bellevue – is another thriving retail area with unique shops and restaurants and newer, mixed-use buildings. An expanded waterfront park at Meydenbauer Bay is on the drawing board.
A significant residential population is developing in the downtown core, as more high-rise condominium and apartment complexes are built. The area also contains long-standing well-maintained single-family neighborhoods to the north and south, sharply delineated from the high-density downtown by Main Street on the south and Northeast 12th Street on the north. The vast Mercer Slough Park, a unique wetlands habitat and recreational area, and Bellevue Downtown Park – acclaimed for its award-winning “belvedere” design – are also landmarks of West Bellevue.
Bellevue’s first settlers, William Meydenbauer and Aaron Mercer, built cabins on the heavily forested shore of Lake Washington in 1869. Meydenbauer’s original claim stretched from present-day Main Street, along Bellevue Way to the lake. Mercer homesteaded along the slough that bears his name, between the lake and today’s Southeast 24th Street and inland to 112th Avenue. The slough and lake were nine feet higher and shorelines were drastically different before the Lake Washington Ship Canal was opened in 1917. Opening of the ship canal gave rise to one of Bellevue’s more interesting and lucrative businesses. From 1919 until World War II, Meydenbauer Bay was home port for the American Pacific Whaling Fleet.
Meanwhile, West Bellevue forests produced a bounty of timber for loggers and hides for trappers. But distance to markets made growth relatively slow until the Lake Washington Floating Bridge connected Bellevue to Seattle in 1941. Another connection via the Evergreen Point bridge in 1963, along with completion of Interstate 405, ensured West Bellevue’s future as transportation and economic hub of the Eastside.
Surrey Downs Mithun Homes
Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center
Meydenbauer Beach Park
Sixth Street Park
Chism Beach Park
Killarney Glen Park
Surrey Downs Park
Mercer Slough Nature Park
Bellevue High School
Enatai Elementary School