Bellevue is a city in the Eastside region of King County, Washington, United States, across Lake Washington from Seattle. As Seattle's largest suburb, Bellevue has variously been characterized as an edge city, a boomburb, or satellite city. The city had a population of 122,363 at the 2010 census. Its mayor is Conrad Lee.
Prior to the economic downturn of 2008, downtown Bellevue underwent rapid change, with many high rise projects under construction, and was relatively unaffected by the economic downturn. It is currently the second largest city center in Washington state with over 35,000 employees and 5,000 residents. Based on per capita income, Bellevue is the 6th wealthiest of 522 communities in the state of Washington. In 2008, Bellevue was named number 1 in CNNMoney's list of the best places to live and launch a business, and in 2010 was again ranked as the 4th best place to live in America. The name "Bellevue" is French for "beautiful view".
Bellevue was founded in 1869 by William Meydenbauer and was officially incorporated on March 21, 1953. Prior to the opening of the Lake Washington Floating Bridge in 1940, Bellevue was a rural area with little development. Although it was small, developers were pushing to change that; in the 1920s, James S. Ditty predicted that it would become a city with a population of 200,000. He envisioned plans that included the bridging of Lake Washington and an area filled with golf courses and airports. His map with these visions was published in 1928.
Reflective of Bellevue's growth over the years is Bellevue Square, now one of the largest shopping centers in the region. Opened in 1946, the mall underwent a significant expansion in the 1980s. More recently, an expansion along Bellevue Way called "The Lodge" and the new One Lincoln Tower promise to strengthen downtown Bellevue's role as the largest Seattle Eastside shopping and dining destination.
The city's long-term plans include the Bel-Red Corridor Project, a large-scale planning effort to encourage the redevelopment of a large northern section of the city bordering the adjacent town of Redmond. Patterned after what many civic leaders consider the successful redevelopment of the downtown core, early plans include "superblock" mixed use projects similar to Lincoln Square. Premised on the 2008 approval of the extension of Link Light Rail to the Eastside, the city hopes to mitigate transportation problems impeding earlier efforts in redeveloping the downtown core; viewed as an economic development opportunity by many in the business and building development community, the process has focused on infrastructure and the encouragement of private construction in a large-scale urban renewal effort.