That boom you hear is Seattle’s development explosion

Jul 21, 2015, 1:46 PM | Updated: Jul 22, 2015, 5:42 am
Seattle is seeing the highest level of activity seen since 2005, according to a mid-year report by ...
Seattle is seeing the highest level of activity seen since 2005, according to a mid-year report by the Downtown Seattle Association. (AP)
(AP)

To say there is a development boom in Seattle is almost an understatement.

There are 106 projects downtown that have been completed since January 2014, are currently under construction, or are about to break ground, according to the Downtown Seattle Association.

It is the highest level of activity seen since 2005. There are 48 projects under construction, totaling $4 billion of investment, according to the association. That is 18 percent more than at the end of 2014 and 35 percent more than the peak between 2007-2009, with inflation adjustments.

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“Current development activity is four times what it was at the lowest point of the recession in 2010 and above the average for the past 10 years,” a mid-year update from the association states.

Within the first half of 2015, 20 projects broke ground and 24 have be completed. There are 36 projects expected to be finished by the end of the year.

“Downtown Seattle is on track to see the largest number of completed projects in the past decade,” according the the mid-year update.

Construction costs have already outpaced anything downtown has seen in the last 10 years. The average cost of projects this year is estimated to be about $80 million. That is because of the large-scale developments, such as: Insignia Tower, Seattle’s largest condominium project; The Mark, a 660-foot tower that will be the fifth largest building in Seattle; a 278-room hotel; and 800,000 square feet of office space for Amazon; and Amazon’s development of four blocks of Denny Triangle.

About two-thirds of the projects mentioned in the mid-year report have residential components, with one in five having office space.

Downtown could see nearly 3,500 apartments built in 2015. There has been more than 9,000 built in the last 3.5 years, with a vacancy rate below 4 percent.

As of June, 7.1 million square feet of office space was being built as well, according to the report. A good portion is for Amazon, but other companies are contributing to the growth as well.

“The current wave of development is not all Amazon,” the report states. Office space will be occupied by companies such as Facebook and Weyerhaeuser.

The development happening in downtown now is a continuation of a cycle that began in 2011, according to the report.

“Catalyzed by a strong economy with companies like Amazon, Expedia, Facebook, Weyerhaeuser and others moving to Downtown or growing their Downtown Seattle workforce, the current growth in population and jobs and the development that comes with that shows no signs of slowing down,” the report states.

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That boom you hear is Seattle’s development explosion