Kemper Development announced Monday that W Hotels will operate a 245-room upscale hotel opening in spring 2017 as part of the $1.2 billion Bellevue Collection expansion.

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W Hotels will open a 245-room, upscale hotel at Bellevue’s Lincoln Square in spring 2017, Kemper Development officials said Monday.

The W, a brand of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, will occupy the first 13 stories of the 41-story tower and employ between 150 and 200 people, officials said. Kemper is already preleasing 231 apartments on the next 28 floors.

The hotel tower and an adjacent office tower will rise 450 feet and sit on a podium of 180,000 square feet of retail as part of the $1.2 billion expansion of what Kemper Development calls The Bellevue Collection. The Lincoln Square expansion is happening along Bellevue Way between Northeast Fourth Street and Northeast Sixth Street in downtown Bellevue.

Monday’s announcement gives the Seattle metro area its second W Hotel, on par with Los Angeles and one shy of Atlanta. The 424-room W Seattle opened at 1112 Fourth Ave. in 1999, when dot-coms were riding high.

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Anthony Ingham, Starwood’s vice president of luxury and design brands in North America, said the technology firms that dominate Bellevue’s office towers — among them Expedia, Concur and Valve — will be the magnet that draws the main clientele for the W Bellevue. Visitors will primarily be young and working in the consulting, financial-services and technology industries, he said.

W Bellevue hotel and residential tower
W Bellevue hotel and residential tower

Boutiques like Hotel Andra and Kimpton hotels are competitors to the W brand, not the true luxe hotels like Ritz Carlton.

Occupancy rates in downtown Bellevue’s dozen hotels are already high.

Ingham said the challenge will be to fill the hotel on weekends, but the hotel may also attract locals.

“I’m at the outer edge of who stays there,” said Kemper Freeman, chairman and CEO of Kemper Development. “I’m 73.”

Freeman said the company is talking with 36 restaurants for 12 spots in the Lincoln Square retail space.

Starwood also manages The Westin, another Kemper Development property just north of the future W Bellevue.

By the time the W Bellevue opens its doors, W Hotels expects to operate more than 60 properties worldwide, many of them in Asia. It opened its China flagship in Beijing in November and is developing seven more in that country.

Chris Burdett, a CBRE senior vice president in Seattle, said he expects the W Bellevue will do well with international visitors, especially from Asia.

“If they’re coming from Asia, they’re looking for that Starwood product first.”