Photo of Holden of Bellevue
Photo of Holden of Bellevue
Photo of Holden of Bellevue
Photo of Holden of Bellevue
Photo of Holden of Bellevue

Holden of Bellevue

Bringing Senior Living Back to the City

Bellevue, Washington, is remaking its identity from suburban and car-centric to dense and pedestrian-oriented, a shift that includes emphasizing light rail transit and walkability for people of all abilities and ages. More broadly, a growing trend in senior community design brings senior living back into urban centers from the suburbs while adding public programming to planning that, until recently, was exclusively private. Our design for Holden of Bellevue focuses squarely on these priorities. Built for seniors who need memory care or assisted living, yet want ready access to downtown Bellevue’s amenities, Holden sits one block from Bellevue’s upcoming East Main light-rail station. Its contemporary design language, active street-facing retail, and pedestrian pass-through breaking up the site’s original superblock plan contributes to the neighborhood’s street life, as does its location, easily reached by families who live and work in Bellevue. Inside, our interior design program highlights community building through accessibility: Luxurious, hospitality-influenced amenities prompt seniors to get together outside their individual residences for shared mealtimes, social events, and fitness. Holden is designed to cultivate all that downtown Bellevue can and will offer.

Bellevue, Washington
  • 136
  • 7 stories
  • 132,000 sq. ft.

Senior Communities


Architecture , Interiors


Senior Living


Architecture: JP Emery

Interiors: Alissa Brandt

Architecture Story

Community Life

Not only does Holden bring senior community living from the suburbs into the city, it exemplifies infill development. Where the site was once a low-rise, low-density medical building, Holden will be a seven-story, 136-key residential complex with a real presence. A critical part of our development began with a new pedestrian connection, running through the site’s long city block. Before, it wasn’t possible to quickly walk from one side of this sprawling block to the other. But with Bellevue including through-blocks for pedestrians in their downtown zoning code, our design for Holden halves the superblock to a more walkable scale, places its parking and main entry in an internal lot, and lays the framework for future urban development. Moreover, while Bellevue’s zoning code requires public retail space, the program for Holden prioritizes private amenity spaces. To meet both needs, our design creates a dual-purpose space in the front—the salon and bistro, both along the public-facing street—that are open to the public during the day and transitions for seniors’ private use in the evening. With Holden’s ground level sitting slightly above the street level, prioritizing zero-threshold accessibility, we’ve designed a sort of front-porch experience for residents, who can watch their street from a position of shelter and comfort. Physically, the C-shaped Holden is designed around a classically inspired tripartite arrangement. Its base, middle, and top sections express grandeur and overall balance, clad primarily in fiber-cement paneling with a cedar soffit at the pick-up and drop-off area adding material warmth. By orienting as many units as possible to the street front and designing a courtyard amenity, our design maximizes access to daylight and provides unobstructed views. Inside, Holden’s residential units are minimally appointed, meant to anticipate a full dining and activity program and encouraging residents to spend as much time as possible together in their shared amenity and communal spaces. This is senior living as true community, connecting residents to each other, to their families, and to their city.