Below are comments and links to news articles and other topics relevant to the Seattle office space market from the month of February 2017.
In February Amazon revealed further expansion plans…again. The E Commerce giant has filed permits to build a 17 story office building at 2205 7th Ave, where the Days Inn currently sits. Amazon recently surpassed 341,000 employees globally and nearly 40,000 in Washington state.
Also this month the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to “up zone” the University District neighborhood in Seattle, allowing developers to build much higher than current limits. Several parcels currently zoned between 65-85 feet can now reach heights of 85-320 feet. In addition, several single family parcels are now zoned for low rise multifamily uses. Many community members think that the University District could be the next big “tech hub”, given its proximity to the University of Washington, walkability, and the spur of new developments that will likely follow the upzone vote.
There were no building sales reported in February.
Office leasing in February was again driven by the tech sector. Google revealed that they will be taking over the 50,000 square foot former Sound Mind and Body gym that was previously converted to office and occupied by Tableau. Another California based tech giant, Apple, added another floor at the Two Union Square building in Seattle with many sources stating that the company is on the lookout for much more space in the near future. Apple declined to mention how many employees are at the downtown Seattle site, but revealed that they have 1,200 people in Washington State including retail locations and an engineering center in Vancouver Washington.
Kaiser-owned Group Health stated that about 100 employees will be moving from its Westlake Terry building to Two Union square at the expiration of its lease. The remainder of the employees in Seattle will be relocated to a new facility currently under construction in Renton.
Finally, it was announced that Delta Dental will fill the last remaining vacancy at 400 Fairview in South Lake Union. Delta plans to move from Northgate to the new 61,000 square foot facility this summer.
Seattle continues to be at the forefront of technology growth and our local economy continues to reap the benefits. A new study ranked Seattle as the second highest paying market for tech workers with the average salary being $126,000, just behind San Francisco at $134,000.
High paying jobs and hiring sprees continue to feed a development frenzy of office and residential construction in the downtown Seattle core. In the last two years, over 5 million square feet of office space has been built with an estimated 13 million more to come by 2020. In the residential market, more than 20,000 units have been built in the past 10 years with an additional 30,000 currently under construction. In the region, Colliers estimates that 100,000 new apartments will be built in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties from 2010 to 2020.
The downtown core is now home to over 70,000 residents, which is up roughly 18% since 2010.
Not surprisingly, U.S. News and World Reports ranked Seattle as the sixth best city to live in the country by ranking migration, desirability, quality of life, value and job market health.
Tunnel boring machine Bertha has continued to plow along with no delays. The dig is now more than 83 percent complete with only 1,600 feet to go; crews expect Bertha to reach daylight this May.
Chris Hansen took another shot at building a new Arena by offering to finance the stadium without public subsides, with the exception of a waiver of admission and occupation tax for revenue generated out of town. Hansen has asked the City Council to close part of Occidental Ave South, so that they can assemble enough land for the project.
Seattle has been on pace for the past few years to reach commuting standards set several years ago. A new study revealed that only 30 percent of city center workers drive in alone. Although the working population has increased by 45,000 in the past six years only 2,255 of those employees drive by themselves.
Finally, the Pike Place Market construction has been humming along and opening is set for June 29th. Photos of the progress can be found here.