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Seattle’s Development Boom Shows No Signs of Stopping

Seattle, which blossomed from a port city, has seen remarkable growth over the past few years. With tech giants establishing their headquarters in the locale, Seattle’s economic boom continues to dictate the weave of its urban fabric. The construction of skyscrapers, futuristic campuses, and posh residential apartments are anchored with the city’s robust economy, along with the outpour of investments that reflect confidence in the city’s future.

A city in economic ferment

Seattle’s transforming skyline is deeply rooted in its steady economic growth and massive construction boom. According to the Downtown Seattle Association, nearly half of the residential apartments in the city center were built from 2010 onwards, with the Greater Downtown Seattle representing almost half of the city’s declared value. The city has a whopping 3,500 units currently under construction and 5,600 units in the pipeline for 2020.

Its vigorous economy made an astounding positive impact on its tourism, bringing in the Hyatt Regency Seattle which opened its doors in 2018. Located in the Denny Triangle, the mega-hotel boasts 45-storeys and 1,260 rooms in all. The Hyatt’s arrival paved the way for the massive growth of the hotel sector and in that same year, 2,100 new hotel rooms entered the city scene. Average real estate prices saw a rapid 85 percent increase, making Seattle one of America’s most expensive cities to live in seemingly overnight.

Tech multinationals as drivers of growth

Seattle is at the forefront of the global tech scene, thanks largely to the presence of four tech multinational companies—namely Expedia, Google, Facebook, and Amazon—all of which are based in Seattle and have since become significant drivers of its building boom. Expedia alone is set to spend around $600 million on a corporate campus.

The Amazon group, with its Seattle HQ already made up of 44 buildings, is looking at 32 additional construction projects in the near future, with another 129 in the years ahead. Likewise, Facebook and Google are also looking to expand its campuses and build new office spaces. With a vibrant labor market, businesses are anticipating the rush of white-collar workers in the immediate future.

Infrastructure and Sustainability

Sustainability has become an integral part of the city’s transport strategies. City planners are developing the city’s infrastructure with care, ensuring that it coincides with its rapid urban development and emphasizes optimal social mobility. One of Seattle’s most significant projects right now is the expansion of the light metro rail from West Seattle to Ballard Link. According to the project timeline published by Sound Transit, construction starts in 2025 and the opening is scheduled in 2035.

In addition, Seattle is also looking forward to the construction of the East Link Extension that will serve ten stations from Downtown Seattle to Redmond Technology Center. This one is set to open in 2023. Sound Transit is also invested in the modernization of sustainable mobility in Seattle, with a heavy emphasis on minimizing environmental impact, in an attempt to decongest the city by making commute efficient and attractive.

Although the Seattle’s busyness with infrastructure projects has ebbed and flowed over the years, the city’s economic and demographic growth is set to increase in the coming years, and so the general trend is to keep building more. At the epicenter of the construction boom is South Lake Union, followed by Lower Queen Anne and First Hill. Denny Triangle and Capitol Hill continue to be at the heart of the city’s development.

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Photo by Kyler Boone on Unsplash