Annual State of Downtown gathering held at Seattle Convention Center
Mar 15, 2023, 5:47 AM | Updated: 6:32 am
(Photo from KIRO 7)
Hundreds came together in Seattle on Tuesday for the 18th annual State of Downtown gathering, held at the Seattle Convention Center’s new Summit addition.
The theme was “Optimism and Opportunity,” and Mayor Bruce Harrell made it clear that that connected to his philosophy, saying that he wants to support business despite working with a tight budget.
“I could tell you about the financial challenges that I have, but I don’t make excuses,” Harrell said. “I’m simply saying I have limited funds and I don’t think you want me to be that tax, tax, tax, tax person that drives businesses away. I came in on a platform of a strong business environment, strong public safety, so I will take my hits on being vague for a few more weeks until I figure this out because I have a talented, committed administration.”
Despite the challenges, Downtown Seattle Association President and CEO Jon Scholes highlighted the strides the city has made since the pandemic.
“Downtown’s momentum was on display this past year as we set a residential population record, welcomed new retail outlets and restaurants and saw major developments come online, including the new Convention Center addition,” said Scholes. “Visitors are back, experiencing our unique cultural and entertainment offerings, and workers are steadily returning to the office.”
In conjunction with the State of Downtown gathering, DSA publishes an annual State of Downtown Economic Report that explores downtown’s health using 2022 economic metrics. According to DSA, the report “provides a clear picture of downtown’s assets and vitality, the impacts of the pandemic and historical context for the information presented.”
Some highlights from this year’s report include:
- A record-high 104,000 residents living downtown
- Nearly 130 new street-level businesses opening downtown in the past year
- More than 340,000 jobs located downtown, 55% of all jobs in Seattle
- Office worker foot traffic reaches 44%, up from 15% at the height of the pandemic