BRINC: The Bel-Red Incubator is/was a proposal for a catalyst real estate development project sited in the heart of the future business district of Bel-Red Corridor in Bellevue, Washington. It was developed by the BRINC Dev Team (Kate Wells Driscoll – Architect, William Riley – Real Estate Portfolio Advisor, Heidi Stacy Ehrbar – Commercial Loan Analyst, Genevieve Tremblay – Cultural Entrepreneur, Arts Commissioner) as part of the UW’s Commercial Real Estate Program in 2009. Steve Walker (Heartland LLC) and Charlie Hafenbrack (GLY Construction) were our UWCRE project mentors.
Our team studied the City of Bellevue’s innovative redevelopment plan for the Corridor, a long-term vision with an economically vital future. The 900 plus acre district offers a perfect frontier for creative and entrepreneurial settlements, new retail and residential communities. BRINC, designed to be one of the first bold strokes in this rezoned “innovation corridor”, will provide a strategic link to the knowledge-based industries, now anchored in and around Microsoft Corporate campus, as well as to the downtown Bellevue business core.
The BRINC: Bel-Red Incubator and BRINC Lofts proposal, a 132,000sf arts/technology incubator facility, providing workforce housing (75 apts, 7 live/work lofts, 45,000 sf office, 7000sf sound recording studios/motion capture lab, 15,000sf of street front retail and cultural amenities) is targeted toward the growing fields of interactive media technology on the Eastside. It is timed coincide with adjacent EastLink light rail system and is closely aligned with City’s forward thinking urban planning, transportation and cultural development plans.
Research was conducted in the form of existing asset mapping, interviews with local business owners, regional economic development leaders and tours of the area with the City of Bellevue’s planning team. In addition, a targeted regional questionnaire study (Art and Technology Incubation for Technology Creatives in the Northwest: A Questionnaire Study, [BRINC/Wagglelabs]), gathered useful data about the current uses of industrial/office space, technology, existing studio and work spaces, housing needs and preferences to advance creative and technical innovation goals. Our target community of technology creatives was most interested in knowledge sharing, collaborative opportunities and incubation space. We researched other inspiring creative incubator and fablab models including Eyebeam, MIT Media Lab, Carnegie Mellon Center for Creative Inquiry, UW DX Arts Lab and others. Our study results identified a regional need for flexible office space, creative live/work housing and art/tech/media incubation resources and greatly informed the design and programming of our mixed-use development.
This ambitious project inspired us (Gen and Kate) to create BRINC: The Blog…to further explore innovative development strategies. SO, while we patiently wait for initial $6.200,000 investment (from our distinguished panel of UWCRE lenders) to purchase the property and begin developing it (tick, tick, tick…), we will “develop” and further a dialogue that explores how sustainable, cultural infrastructure and real estate assets that generate economic value and public benefit are best created…(along with all of the other stuff we think is worth blogging about).