This year, we’ve been able to reconnect: Socially, professionally, and civically. And it is because of that — this time together, in a shared space — that we were able to make exciting progress on a number of fronts that will benefit our city and region.
The buzzwords around town have trended towards “livable,” and “accessible.” At its core this shows a yearning for belonging, stability in uncertain times, and a space where people have more control over their own time and lives. With these priorities, the Chamber has built our programs around organizational culture, corporate responsibility, public safety, and even the nature of how we view work, job flexibility, and employee wellbeing.
But, above all else, the following movements — since they certainly have an ongoing timeline of growth and impact — were some of my “Bests” of 2022.
The Housing We All Deserve: The City of Bellevue has made strong moves in its work to bring more affordable housing options to our city. The Chamber has partnered with the city with its Next Right Work initiative, coordinating discussions between countless stakeholders to determine how we can work together to fix the housing crisis. The next 12 to 18 months are crucial as the City Council considers key policies to incentivize and streamline housing construction, adopts a new Comprehensive Plan for development, and rezones critical growth corridors in the Wilburton and Bel-Red parts of the city. I am genuinely excited to see how we can all pool our resources to develop the best mix of housing we can.
Getting Meta About It: Meta officially opened its makerspace-meets-office headquarters in the Spring District this year, ushering in a new era for this cutting-edge neighborhood. The Spring District also earned its LEED certification in Neighborhood Development this year, and the successful opening of spots like the Bellevue Brewing Company are a testament to the area’s mixed-use, transit-oriented design. The Spring District is a leading example of Bellevue’s ongoing renaissance and has set the stage for Bellevue’s next great neighborhoods.
Coming Up Cricket: Bellevue and the Puget Sound region have been paving the way to become a major epicenter for Cricket in the US. With a Minor League championship title under the Seattle Thunderbolts’ belts, and a successful, rapidly growing league at our very own Bellevue Cricket Club, I’m enthusiastic about adding the international sports phenomena to Bellevue’s global identity.
Face to Face, Eye to Eye: This year at the Bellevue Chamber, we produced large, in-person events for the first time since February of 2020. We debated and celebrated, hosted ribbon cuttings and industry groups, and hosted a slate of high-quality events exploring topics like housing and infrastructure, talent acquisition and retention, and dozens more. And while all of our presenters were fantastic (and let me tell you, they were fantastic) the most riveting part of being back in event-mode has been the energy shared among attendees. Finally regaining the opportunity to build new relationships and strengthen old ones, learn and share ideas, and feed off the energy of the people and businesses that make Bellevue strong is something we have learned should never be taken for granted.
These “Bests” are varied in nature and ongoing in practice, but I think that is what makes them the best “Bests” to have. Even in uncertain times brought on by pandemic, national and international politics, and economic concern, Bellevue and the Eastside are still paving a way for growth that recognizes our new role as a regional leader and community destination. Here’s to 2023!