SEATTLE IS THE FASTEST GROWING CITY IN THE UNITED STATES. 

Seattle is the fastest growing city in the US according to US Census Bureau. The population increased by 18,000 or 2.8% in the last 12 months. During this period the city added 6,621 housing units. This included 320 single-family houses and 31 accessory units.

The rise of the Creative Class identified by economist and social scientist Richard Florida is thought to be the driving force for economic development of post-industrial cities in the United States. In Seattle, 49.66% of the population over 25 years of age have college degrees.  The major employers in the region require workers that fit the creative class description. This is having an effect on the rate of economic development and expansion in the Seattle Metropolitan area. Fast Company recently named Seattle the Smartest City in North America, leading the country in Smart Government and Smart Economy, and the Global Startup Ecosystem Index ranked Seattle’s entrepreneurial ecosystem ranked fourth in the world.

 The population of the Seattle Metropolitan Area has increased by 57,514 from 2012 to 2013. The area is expected to grow by another 1,700,000 by the year 2040.  The real engine of an expanding economy is job growth. The number of jobs in the Seattle Metropolitan area has increased by 45,300 from June 2013 to June 2014. The top Seattle companies – Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Costco, Starbucks - have created more than 700,000 jobs worldwide.

Boeing Assembly Plant

Boeing Assembly Plant

Downtown Seattle construction activity is on the rise. In June 2014 there were 100 active development projects, under construction or in the permit process. There are $2.8 billion worth of projects currently under construction in downtown, which includes more than 9,000 apartment units.

Seattle is in the process of implementing it’s long-term solution to urban mobility.  The first light rail line opened in 2009 and the extension to Northgate to the north, Federal Way to the south, and across Lake Washington thru Bellevue to Redmond to the east are in the property acquisition phase.   Voters have approved $17.8 billion multi-phased project.  An expansion of the South Lake Unit Transit streetcar rail is in the works and the $134 million line from South Lake Union to Capitol Hill line is nearing completion.

After years of study and analysis, Seattle will be demolishing the elevated roadway along its waterfront and replacing it with a 2-mile long tunnel below the waterline.  Project cost will be $2.8 billion. With the roadway gone, Seattle will move forward with a complete redevelopment of the waterfront area including a Waterfront park costing $1 billion.

Seattle Waterfront Development Plan

Seattle Waterfront Development Plan

 The newly accessible waterfront will open the City to a wave of redevelopment that will reorient the commercial core of the city towards Elliot Bay.  The old working waterfront industrial area will be replaced with public access opportunities.  Literally hundreds of development and redevelopment projects will result from the dramatic change in Land Use patterns.

The new direction for the city will require a massive increase in the housing stock.  The trend for suburban employers like Microsoft to relocate into the urban core will result in the construction of a significant amount of Class-A office space. The ripple effect of this urban core expansion will be a boom in commercial construction in the perimeter markets as well.