Downtown Seattle’s market, in all of the sectors, continues to soar and is not anticipated to slow down any time soon, according to the Mid-Year 2016 Development Guide published by the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) and Metropolitan Improvement District. The city’s rising development is supported by downtown job and housing growth.
The residential sector continues to dominate the market, as two-thirds of the 65 buildings under construction downtown are for housing. There have been 708 units already completed this year and 8,661 more are scheduled to be complete by 2017. Nearly 7,000 of these are under construction and just over 1,000 are in pre-construction stages, says the same report. More than 20,000 units are scheduled for completion after 2017, most of which are in the predevelopment phase.
The market is going strong right now, it’s hard to tell when a peak has hit during any given cycle
According to Elliott Krivenko, the research and data manager for DSA, the downtown population grew 18 percent between 2010 and 2016. Today, over 70,000 people live downtown, or more than one in ten Seattle residents. More than half moved to their current residence in 2010 or later and an estimated 34 percent walk to work, says Krivenko.
“There are some major players who have chosen to locate in downtown, either very recently or over the last two years, such as Weyerhaeuser, Amazon, Facebook and Expedia moving to the north edge,” said James Sido, the senior manager for media relations and issues management for DSA. “There has been a lot of residential development that has certainly followed on the tails of that, but they happened almost concurrently. Nationally, people will point to the trend of the urban campus and the sort of ripple effect that it has, and what it means for surrounding development.”
Sido went on to point out the example of Amazon and its campus, which includes about one dozen restaurants on the ground level. He believes once the corporation builds out the rest of its campus, the surrounding blocks will provide more residential developments in the general area. “It’s a continuation, really, of what we’ve seen in the last couple of years,” said Sido. “What I think it means is potential for even more people to live in downtown because there are these major employers who are setting up shop.”
“I really think that office presence affects residential, but it’s not to say that people weren’t here before,” added Krivenko. “The market is going strong right now, it’s hard to tell when a peak has hit during any given cycle.”
The mid-year report states that the hotel and office markets have also seen resurgence recently. Hotel development is picking up speed, with 2,939 rooms scheduled for completion between 2017-18. Over the last 18 months, office projects are rebounding as well, with three million square feet of new space and another six million under construction.
Visitor volume and related expenditures, tax contributions and employment in Seattle hit record levels for the third year in a row in 2015, says the report. With a strong and growing economy, demand for space in all of the sectors of the market is anticipated to remain high. Downtown Seattle’s development will continue delivering new inventory at a solid pace, the report concludes.