At the start of his speech yesterday to the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, City Manager Steve Sarkozy posted a mock "New Yorker" cover on...

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At the start of his speech yesterday to the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, City Manager Steve Sarkozy posted a mock “New Yorker” cover on the screen.

In the bird’s-eye-view cartoon, Bellevue — with towering buildings and bustling streets — takes up most of the page, while Seattle is depicted in the distance, a small point in the middle of a desert.

The drawing was a reminder of how Bellevue officials see their growing, increasingly urban city. Sarkozy gave a State of the City speech to about 120 people at the monthly chamber luncheon, citing everything from the city’s low property taxes to its businesslike approach to public administration.

He noted about 20 projects, mostly mixed-used developments with apartments, retail and office space, that will continue to transform downtown Bellevue into what he described as a major metropolitan center, with more businesses and thousands more residents.

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“What we are looking at is, frankly, breathtaking in terms of changes to our skyline,” Sarkozy said.

The buildings, all in various stages of planning, could include twin residential towers on Northeast Fourth Street as tall as Lincoln Square and a 225-apartment building at Main Street and Bellevue Way, on the current site of two fast-food restaurants.

The city’s business activity continues to grow, with as many as 2,800 new businesses registered each year and tens of thousands of new jobs over the past couple decades, Sarkozy said. Bellevue has the second-highest assessed property value in the state ($21.3 billion) and the fifth-biggest population (116,000 people).

Sarkozy got in a dig at neighboring Redmond, where Mayor Rosemarie Ives has just proposed raising taxes to increase city services.

“We like to be boring,” Sarkozy said. “Predictably high levels of service in a frugal way. If that’s bad, let us know.”

Ashley Bach: 206-464-2567 or abach@seattletimes.com