Ready, set, dig!

Bellevue, it seems, is the new Seattle. The last time we saw a lineup of pristine shovels like this was when Labsong Dargey corralled then-mayor Ed Murray and a dozen hangers-on for a ceremonial groundbreaking in Belltown. Let’s hope this one goes better, although, to be fair, the splashy project that did get built in Seattle, named Arrivé, has a spectacular rooftop terrace.

The Avenue Bellevue project, as this one is called, will rise at the intersection of 8th and 102nd NE. Over 200 condos (starting in the $600K range), an Intercontinental Hotel, and a couple of high-end restaurants (a new, Michelin-rated Angler out of San Francisco and an outpost of the high-energy Buddhazen chain).

One thing driving the project is the number of new tech jobs. They can’t all live in Seattle, there’s just not enough room. Not even for offices. So lazy, sleepy backwater-Bellevue is the new frontier, with construction everywhere.

Avenue’s developer, Andy Lakha, heads a group with grand ambitions (and, fortunately, deep pockets). Construction will take at least two years, maybe three. “Bellevue needs this,” Lakha says. “My ultimate goal with this project is to set a new standard of living in Bellevue –for our buyers as well as Bellevue residents like me.”