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Seattle Sustains Record Development Boom

In the past ten years, Downtown Seattle has built more housing than all of San Francisco.
February 21, 2019, 10am PST | Elana Eden
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Washington
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In the Seattle Times, real-estate reporter Mike Rosenberg unpacks the components of Seattle's ongoing construction boom.

Nearly half of all apartments in central Seattle were built this decade, according to a report from the Downtown Seattle Association. Looking ahead, more than two-thirds of buildings currently under construction are residential, and mainly apartments. Sixty-six major projects are currently under construction in the central part of the city. That represents a decline from the peak of the boom in 2017—when 74 projects were underway—but continues an overall trend toward more building.

Housing in particular boomed downtown in 2017, with a record 5,700 new units. In 2018, that number fell to 3,800, but is on track to rise to 5,600 by 2020. On the office side, expansions by Amazon, Facebook, and Google will bring a record 4.5 million square feet of new office space to the city in 2019.

The market doesn't appear to be slowing on any front. "Really the only thing that may stop the frenzy is the growing shortage of developable sites left," Rosenberg suggests. "Parking lots and low-slung buildings are disappearing, and two-thirds of developable land in the city is reserved only for single-family houses."

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Published on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 in Seattle Times
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