Performing Arts Center Eastside Gains Traction

Over the past few years, Bellevue has emerged in the tech spotlight, with long-time giants such as Microsoft and the recent announcement by Amazon of a relocation to the Eastside. A new effort to build the Performing Arts Center Eastside (PACE) could add to the innovation with an immersive, cutting-edge approach to the concept of the performing arts center. The project has been in planning for decades but new CEO Ray Cullom is breathing new life into it - they have now raised $123 million of the estimated $200 million it will take to fund the project.

"I have supported the creation of a performing arts center on the Eastside for the past 26 years. I look forward to the day I sit in the audience of the Tateuchi Center and see a world-class show here in Bellevue.” — Kemper Freeman

As Cullom tells GeekWire, “The project has grown and changed and the scope of the scale of the idea behind it has really grown beyond what was originally envisioned as a very traditional 20th century performing arts hall, to being something completely different.”

The intention is to of course provide a community space for the arts but the design will also be formatted to accommodate an evolving technological future and what the audience of the coming decades will need. Cullom says he’s particularly interested in virtual and augmented reality, and immersive technology: “We want to expand the definition of what performing arts are. Yes, it’s symphonies and operas and plays. But I also want to build a space where I can have an actor here in Bellevue interacting with an actor in London . . . So you’re removing location from the equation but still keeping live performance at the heart of what you do.”

Cullom notes that as tech grows on the Eastside, he also hopes to foster more appreciation for the arts scene and for Bellevue to become a true 24-hour city of arts and entertainment. He says they’d like to finalize the design by the end of summer 2020 so they can have architects and construction companies handle renderings and permitting. If things go as planned, the project could break ground sometime in 2021.

City of Bellevue