Earlier this month the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) released their Mid-Year Development Guide. The DSA uses city permit data to gather construction totals each summer and winter, tracking the region spanning from South Lake Union to Sodo. The region saw a record high of 74 projects a year ago, dropping to 57 six months ago, to an increase of 65 now.
The development guide shares that downtown Seattle led the country in office construction completed last year, accounting for 20 percent of all office construction completed, and Amazon being a major factor. Amazon now has 10 million square feet of space in the city, about one-fifth of the Class A office space citywide. New towers for Facebook, Google, F5 and other companies also boosted Seattle’s commercial real estate activity.
In June 2018, the downtown area had $5.6 billion worth of projects underway—a 27 percent increase over last year. In the year ending June 2018, the construction value for permits issued in Seattle was $2.5 billion. Of that, Downtown Seattle represents 58 percent (or $1.5 billion) of the construction value for permits issued.
Last year, 5,672 residential units were added, many of which (5,549) were apartment units. That is a trend that is continuing to happen. Now, about 60 percent of all projects underway in the downtown area include a residential component, a majority of which are apartments which is helping slow Seattle’s rent growth.
South Lake Union continues to have the highest percentage of projects underway at 22 percent; followed by First Hill, 18 percent; Denny Triangle, 11 percent; and Lower Queen Anne, 11 percent. Neighborhoods with the fewest projects includes Chinatown-International District, retail core, Belltown, Pioneer Square, and the central waterfront.
There are currently 224 projects in various stages of development: 65 under construction, 34 new projects ready to go (either with permits issued or in early demolition stages), and 125 in predevelopment (not all will be approved or built). From 2018 through 2020, an average of 52 projects are scheduled for completion each year—above the average of 44 projects finished per year since 2005. The year with the largest share of scheduled completions is 2020, which currently has 90 projects scheduled.
A record 2,192 hotel rooms are set to open this year. Half of those rooms are in the Hyatt Regency, which is slated to be the region’s biggest hotel, featuring 1,260 rooms. There are now more than 6,000 new hotel rooms in various stages of development, which is enough to increase downtown’s inventory by more than 40 percent.
The largest projects underway are the $600 million first phase of Expedia’s new campus in the Interbay neighborhood, and the $570 million Rainier Square Tower in the retail core.