27 May 2024

The Shops at the Bravern, Bellevue, WA

 An extant asset

Seattle’s skyline is one of my favorites.  But not far away, in fact just over Lake Washington, is another that a good number of medium sized or large cities would love to have themselves.  This impressive collection of high-rises belongs to the suburban boom town of Bellevue, Washington.

2014-  1- The towers of The Bravern in the Bellevue downtown skyline.  2- Outside the Shops at the Bravern.  3 & 4- The Bravern’s Christmas tree.  5- Some of the Bravern’s high end names.  6- Neiman Marcus’s upper level mall entrance.

Bellevue’s central business district has no shortage of retail options, both upscale and mid-market.  But in the shadow of the expansive Bellevue Collection lies the smaller, open-air Shops at the Bravern which itself hosts an envied collection of luxury retail names.

The Shops at the Bravern Mallmanac ca. 2018.  View the full PDF version here.

It was the Christmas season of 2015 when I finally paid the exclusive retail destination a visit.  At the time it hosted such names as Gucci, Jimmy Choo, and Salvatore Ferragamo but also hosted the only full line luxury department store in the entire state not named Nordstrom, a Neiman Marcus.

2014-  1- The interior yet still open air central concourse of The Shops at the Bravern.  2- Neiman Marcus’s lower level mall entrance.  3- Downtown Bellevue from the mall.  4- Gucci!  5- The Bravern’s outdoor courtyard.  6- Neiman Marcus and the main mall entrance.

With a lineup that would make even upscale peers such as Plaza Frontenac and Beachwood Place take notice, The Shops at the Bravern caters to the wealthiest of clientele.  There are no quick service dining or retail outlets here, just a wallet tremoring collection of high class names like Prada, John Howie Steak and Hermès Paris.

The Shops at the Bravern Mallmanac ca. 2021.  View the full PDF version here.

Integrated into the lower levels of several office towers in downtown Bellevue’s east end, the two level outdoor retail destination was completed in 2009 on the site of an old Dairy Queen.  The two levels and twenty inline shops were joined by the lone anchor- a Neiman Marcus outlet with a smaller than normal footprint.

1- The exterior courtyard before the shops’ opening.  2- The second level around the courtyard.  3- Looking toward the former Neiman Marcus store.  4 & 5- The upper level of the main concourse.  6- The Neiman Marcus labelscar at their former upper level entrance.  7 & 8- The northern end of the Shops at the Bravern.

The Shops at the Bravern was sold in 2012 then again in 2019 as the nearby Bellevue Collection upgraded and expanded its offerings against its newer competition.  Perhaps inevitably, in 2020 it was announced that the Neiman Marcus would be among one of four to shutter nationwide due to lagging sales and the Dallas based retailer’s bankruptcy.

The Shops at the Bravern Mallmanac ca. 2024.  View the full PDF version here.

Besides Neiman Marcus, The Shops at the Bravern hasn’t lost much else.  It continues to draw traffic from a metro area home to the likes of Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, so there are more than enough people with the disposable income to keep coming back and to this day seems to compliment, rather than compete, with its super-regional neighbor.

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