Bellevue is a prosperous and vibrant, international city with innovative and entrepreneurial businesses and a high quality of life for residents. The city's continued efforts to strengthen and diversify the Bellevue economy for the good of existing and future residents and businesses are guided by the Economic Development Plan.
The five-year plan was adopted in 2014 and, since then, the city has seen major changes in its employment mix and development environment. While Expedia departed, REI, Facebook and Amazon have arrived, and smaller companies here have seen significant growth.
In order to reflect the current realities of the market and changes to the regional ecosystem in recent years, city staff are working on a substantial update to the Economic Development Plan. This update will reflect lessons learned by staff in implementing the current plan and set the city on a strong path forward for the next five years. The new plan will also allow for easier updates in future years, without the need to wait out a five-year cycle.
In the fall of 2019, the City Council approved a work plan focused on five thematic areas:
- Independent retail
- Small business and startups
- Creative economy
- Capacity-building and partnerships
The council heard an update from staff on plan development. Additionally, the consulting team from Avalanche began one-on-one interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders in the economic development, business and creative communities.
The Community Development Department contracted with Avalanche Consulting, a nationally-recognized economic development consultant, to provide data and strategy analysis to Economic Development staff. The Avalanche team quickly began work on initial data analysis.
City staff presented its proposed work plan to the council, including a project timeline and a general stakeholder overview. The council directed staff to move forward.