Traditionally a small antique town surrounded by strawberry fields and a bucolic ambience, Old Bellevue, is currently one of the most appealing and developed towns in Bellevue. Old Bellevue is located at the center of Bellevue and stands as a shopping destination for many of the affluent individuals from within and without Bellevue. Its name “Old Bellevue” sounds ironic, as there is nothing looks old in the town. As a commercial district for Bellevue, Old Bellevue previously had small shops that catered for the local community needs as the town developed into a thriving center of the Eastside. The electric mix of business currently situated in Old Bellevue has been an important factor for the growth and development of the town. Buildings, museums, shops, shopping malls, tourists’ destinations, and the general environment look attractive and fervent. There are old-fashioned streetlights along the Main Street that have a historical connotation to the residence and add onto the flavor of the town. People often visit the area to enjoy the beautiful skyline while paddling and looking for otters, Great Blue Herons, and turtles.
There are numerous boutiques along the pavements with apparent and specialty gifts. Beautiful clothes, utensils, jewelries, art works, and other items on display embellish the streets. Salons, flower vessels, spas, and multinational companies providing first class products and services that speak for themselves further reinforce this beauty. The placid well-cultured environment is further buoyed by the cool climate that makes the town a perfect residential area and shopping destination (Oddo, 2004). People travel from other parts of Bellevue and Washington to this place to enjoy the natural scenery offered by Old Bellevue, a perfect modern town, while enjoying decadent chocolates. Additionally, many prefer meeting friends at this small town since it has cafes, intimate restaurants, and coffee shops. The eateries offer an infinite list of delightful meals including Walnut Pancake, Matzo ball soup, pastrami sandwiches, Gorgonzola Salad, and New York-style corned beef. The restaurants also offer free parking where callers can leave their automobiles and wander around the town for about two hours. The parking is extremely secured winning of confidence of vehicle owners who regularly visit the world-class town.
These facilities make the town a perfect place for having leisurely dinners and/or lunches or meeting friends for business conversations or pretty chats (Sassi, 2011). Bizarrely, many tycoons including Bill Gates have toured the town probably to enjoy themselves or examine the business opportunities.
Old Bellevue has a big population of different groups of people. Its population density is 6336 people per square mile, as compared to that of Bellevue that is 4,059 people per square mile (Urban Mapping, 2011). The households are randomly distributed within the town with a high concentration being witnessed around areas with better health facilities and big companies. However, in the areas where people belonging to the first class live have better developed facilities. Price tags are also relatively high to represent the social class that is prevalent in the area.
The people of Old Bellevue comprise mainly of the whites who make around 75% of the population. The Asians, Hispanics, blacks, and others who only make about 2% of the population closely follow them. The “other” group comprises mainly of immigrants from different parts of the world who come to Old Bellevue in search of a livelihood (Oddo, 2004). Although the shops and stores in Old Bellevue offer goods and services at a remarkably high price, there is still a large number of people who carry out their shopping in the town. The hiked prices target the wealthy whites who are the majority in the town. This indicates how racism is ingrained in the system and fabric of the society. The perceived white supremacy has been the focus of many conglomerates that provide privileges to the whites although at a cost. Such acts propagate the downgrading of people of color. Race and purchasing power are diligently interweaved and determines where individuals shops. With its calm climate, Old Bellevue is considered a residential area for the affluent whites while the other races live in the less developed and murky areas of Bellevue. Social classes are a dominant factor in population distribution, in the wealthy town of Old Bellevue.
Moreover, household income is distributed among the races with the whites recording a high income than the other races. However, due to its affluent and profligate lifestyle, life in Old Bellevue is comparatively costly as compared to downtown Bellevue or other parts of Bellevue. For instance, in 2008, most of the tenants paid between $1000 and $ 2,000 per month, a figure that is relatively high and out of reach for many of the Bellevue residents (Sassi, 2011). The median rent in Old Bellevue in 2011 was $1,175 as compared to that of Bellevue that was $1,190. However, considering its vast resources, developed schools (often ranked among the best schools in Bellevue), and other facilities that attract families, in 2012, Money Magazine graded Old Bellevue among the top five "Best Places to Live in."
Old Bellevue has an inordinate population of young persons with liberal minds. Their innovativeness and innovations have greatly contribution to the prosperity of the town. Technological innovations being used within the town are all attributed to the young innovative minds of the young generation. These technologies made it easier for investors to flood a town that was once a suburb (Oddo, 2004). Additionally, the young population has become a target market for many companies and organizations in the town. Since most of the young people are elite, it has been easy for businesses and organizations to obtain skilled labor to be used in the production, manufacturing, and service industries. Indeed, 50% of Old Bellevue residents have a Bachelor’s degree, a figure that is quite high as compared to that of Bellevue that stands at 30.3% and downtown Bellevue that is at 43% (Urban Mapping, 2011). Apparently, the young generation has is deviating from the traditions. Only 18.9% are married as compared to Bellevue where 53.9% of the youths are married. The deviation has offered them a perfect chance to concentrate on meaningful economic activities that have kept Old Bellevue at the international scale.
In terms of buildings and constructions, Old Bellevue has taken a rather enormous step. The town is lined with beautifully designed story buildings, paved streets, well-furbished gatehouses, underground, and onsite parking stalls, commercial space, and other new constructions that are underway. However, as compared to Downtown Bellevue, Old Bellevue still has a long way to go. Downtown Bellevue has skyscraping buildings, streets lined with large box stores, well-developed roads and larger businesses, both local and international, which have invested in the area. Nearly the same percentage is employed in management, specialized or connected employments. Today, Old Bellevue is the home to many corporate headquarters, schools, and other institutions.
Old Bellevue’s comfortable lifestyle has been armored by the availability of electricity that has made life quite enjoyable and pretty to interlopers. Remarkably, 84% of households use electricity as a source of energy, while 12% use utility gas. The remaining 3% uses solar energy and other sources of energy (Urban Mapping, 2011).
Individualism and entrepreneurship, the fundamentals for neoliberal urbanism, are evident in Old Bellevue. Along the Main Street, one will realize that small-specialized shops dominate the area as compared to other areas of Old Bellevue where streets are dominated by large chain stores and franchises (Oddo, 2004). Leaders in Old Bellevue are steered by the desire for power, attainment of egoistic interests and privileges. Although such a capitalistic mind and approach to leadership has created an economy where all the players are competitive and endeavor to excel, it has created system inequalities associated with institutional racism. Race has an extensive impact on culture, demographics and politics, an element that evident in Old Bellevue. The diversity currently witnessed in Old Bellevue is an aspect that needs further exploration and attention since it might threaten the peace and tranquility of the town. The hierarchization of the world that pigeonholed Bellevue is still evident in Old Bellevue (Oddo, 2004).
As elucidated above, Old Bellevue has developed from an agricultural area to a modern town with affluent facilities and cozy lifestyle especially for the whites. The other races find it hard to survive in a town where prices of goods and services are remarkably high. However, racial prejudice, discrimination, and classes continue to threaten the tranquility of the town.
Oddo, B. (2004). Stories of old Bellevue. Bellevue, Ohio: B. Oddo.
Sassi Boutique (2011). Side by Side. Retrieved April 19, 2014, from http://www.bellevuedowntown.org/magazine/summer04/14oldbellmain.html
Urban Mapping (2011). Old Bellevue neighborhood in Bellevue, Washington (WA), 98004 subdivision profile - real estate, apartments, condos, homes, community, population, jobs, income, streets. Retrieved from http://www.city-data.com/neighborhood/Old-Bellevue-Bellevue-WA.html