Hyatt Regency Bellevue and Kemper Development Co. this morning broke ground for the hotel's second tower, which will include 351 guestrooms...

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Hyatt Regency Bellevue and Kemper Development Co. this morning broke ground for the hotel’s second tower, which will include 351 guestrooms. When the 20-story tower is completed, the Hyatt will double its guestrooms to 733.

The project also includes an 18,000-square-foot ballroom, a 14,500-square-foot exhibition hall and 150-seat auditorium.

“With the number of companies moving into the downtown core, including Eddie Bauer and Microsoft in the Lincoln Square office tower, the area hotels have been seeing a greater demand for larger meeting spaces and additional guestrooms,” said Kemper Freeman, Jr., chairman and CEO of Kemper Development.

Scheduled to open July 2009, the entire project will total 614,000 square feet of new space, including 1,000 square feet of additional retail. Approximately 500 additional underground parking spaces will also be added below the new tower.

The expansion of the Hyatt Regency, which opened in 1989, has been discussed for several years but Kemper Development put it on hold to pursue its Lincoln Square project instead. Lincoln Square opened late last year with retail shops and a Westin hotel.