Tale of Two Cities: Seattle & Bellevue - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Tale of Two Cities: Seattle & Bellevue

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Seattle, WA Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA Seattle, WA
Bellevue, WA Bellevue, WA
SEATTLE, Wash. (KTTC) -- Rochester is in the midst of a $6 billion economic development initiative. It's called Destination Medical Center, and city leaders want to make sure they're moving the DMC plan in the right direction.

One way leaders are doing that is by looking at the success of development projects in other communities. 

Last month, Tom Overlie followed DMC leaders to Seattle and Bellevue, and Devin Bartolotta followed them to Cleveland. DMC leaders also visited Portland and Indianapolis. 

The first big stop in Seattle was the South Lake Union District. It's one of the few places in Seattle where the entire approach to transportation, sustainability and recreation has been carefully thought through. Business in the district generates about $3 billion in sales revenue each year..

“The scale is different," said Olmsted County Commissioner Jim Bier. "Seattle is much larger, but what they're doing here percentage wise operates on the same level."

“The changes at South Lake Union didn't happen overnight," said Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede. "They grew a hundred thousand people over a 20-year period."

The Seattle area is among the top five largest life science clusters in the country, and the industry employs more than 22,000 people. 

DMC leaders spent part of the day talking to the Economic Development Council of Seattle to hear how they made that happen. To get there, they took one of Seattle's many street cars, something we might one day see in Rochester.

“We're learning that transportation is critical to the success of downtown urban core development," said Interim Executive Director of Economic Development Agency, Lisa Clarke. "Developers tell us that."

Across Lake Washington, is Seattle's largest suburb and the third stop on the Pacific Northwest tour. Bellevue is comparable in size to Rochester, about 122,000 people. They've seen some rapid and successful changes in the past few years. CNNMoney ranked it as the best place to live and launch a business.

“One of the values of this trip is putting together government officials, planners, and people engaged in this to learn together, grow together. process together," said the Chair of the EDA Dr. Patricia Simmons. "We can imagine how this could play in Rochester."

"It's getting Rochester people to realize that this will require a shift. Getting the momentum building is going to be a challenge," said Hilary Bertsch. Bertsch is with the group helping to shape Rochester's master plan, Perkins Eastman.

In Seattle's successful Lake District, overlooking the planner's models and pictures upon pictures of building concepts is a simple proverb. It's written in bold print on the office wall: "Start Early. Think Big. Work together. Look ahead."

“There are some hurdles,” said Brede. “The public won't always be on board, but hopefully the planners will come forward with something we can support and make transition for Rochester as well."
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