Kemper Freeman ‘63 is Chairman and CEO of Kemper Development Company which built and operates Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place and Lincoln Square located in Bellevue, Washington. Kemper represents the third generation of the Freeman family, who have been involved in the growth of the Bellevue community since 1897. During the luncheon Kemper shared much of the family’s commitment to community and guiding philosophies in their family run business.
Kemper’s family has developed several Bellevue Traditions. In the mid-1940s they began the summer art event now known as the Bellevue Art Festival. Kemper also told the story of conceiving and producing the annual Snowflake Lane celebration for nearly the four weeks of December. Families of all ages enjoy this annual free event featuring the nightly 20-minute holiday performance sparkling with colorful lights and snow, plus live drummers, music and holiday characters all along Bellevue Way and NE 8th Street outside Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square and Bellevue Place. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind holiday spectacle of live toy soldiers, winter characters, exhilarating music, glittering lights and a snowfall that will brighten your spirits and warm your heart. Fellow grad and well-known impresario, Greg Thompson ’64, is the producer of this extravaganza, so both Kemper and Greg shared their stories about the creative path that led to this very popular annual holiday event.
Kemper covered the early days of Bellevue Square and its origins. Today, in addition to the well-known regional mall, Bellevue Square, Kemper Development properties include:
- · Bellevue Place, a mixed use property that opened in 1988, housing office space, retail, dining options and the Hyatt Regency Bellevue.
- · Lincoln Square, which opened in 2005 with condominiums, a movie theater, bowling alley, restaurants, retail and the Westin Bellevue.
In total, the three properties (Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place, Lincoln Square) makeup the Bellevue Collection, covering approximately 50 acres of land in downtown Bellevue.
It was an enjoyable presentation filled with many personal anecdotes and notes of history.