A Downtown In Demand

By Jon Scholes |
This article first appeared in Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty’s 2023 Forecast Report. To get your digital or print copy of this comprehensive look at the Pacific Northwest’s ever-changing residential real estate landscape click here.
Jon Scholes | President & CEO | Downtown Seattle Association

In downtown Seattle, the new year brings momentum, exciting openings, and reminders of why people choose to live in vibrant urban areas. At the Downtown Seattle Association, we’re focused on renewal and reimagining this collection of 12 neighborhoods as we continue to recover. While we still face some significant challenges, progress made in 2022 (and the many transformative initiatives underway) leaves me feeling incredibly optimistic.

From new business openings, an unprecedented 106,000 people now living downtown and the capping off of major projects, downtown’s resiliency was on full display in 2022. A record cruise season brought 1.2 million passengers through the Port of Seattle, while the waterfront redevelopment took another step forward with the reopening of Colman Dock following a five-year rebuild. DSA has noted on its Recovery Dashboard that millions of people visited attractions and booked hotel rooms downtown.

Our revered arts and cultural community welcomed thousands of guests back to theaters, performance halls and museums, and our professional sports teams filled arenas and stadiums across downtown. Fueled by a Mariners team that brought playoff baseball to Seattle for the first time in decades, LINK Light Rail recorded 2,323,000 boardings in September—the busiest month ever. Plus, the recent opening of the Convention Center Summit building demonstrates our commitment to growth and will bring hundreds of thousands of additional people to the city each year.

Discover more | Downtown Seattle’s Economic Recovery →
Downtown Seattle was the first American urban center to experience the impacts of COVID-19, enduring a sudden economic downturn. As downtown continues to recover, DSA publishes a monthly Recovery Dashboard examining key recovery metrics. The data sets provide a comparison point to the same time period in 2019. Additionally, the dashboard features notable stories that provide context regarding downtown’s recovery, renewal, and reemergence.

These highlights are just a sample of the many things that you can only find in the heart of our city. The active mix of attractions, amenities, events, and institutions create a place that is energized. Great downtowns are not static and our downtown is evolving. Since 2010, we more than doubled our residential population and we’re welcoming even more urban residents with over 6,500 units currently in the pipeline.

People who live in our city center have come to expect that their neighborhood will be clean and welcoming. With the work of the Metropolitan Improvement District, a program managed by DSA, residents in six downtown neighborhoods (Belltown, Denny Triangle, Pioneer Square, Retail Core, Waterfront and West Edge) receive cleaning and safety services that supplement what the city is able to provide. And we’ve expanded those programs over the last year with increased staffing, additional equipment, and security patrols.

As city centers around the world rebound from the pandemic, we firmly believe the assets that set downtown Seattle apart (natural beauty, diversified economy, arts and entertainment, retail, and dining) combined with what’s on the horizon, (more residential options, a new waterfront, MLB All-Star week, the FIFA World Cup) position us firmly on the global stage.

Get your copy of the 2023 Forecast Report here →