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March 2017

Downtown Seattle is "a dynamic intersection of people, places and possibilities"

As reported by the Downtown Seattle Association

Describing Downtown Seattle as "a vibrant hub of activity and a symbol of urban optimism," an organization whose mission is "to champion a healthy, vibrant urban core" released an economic report with data about downtown as a place to live, work, shop and play.

2017 State of Downtown Report CoverMore than 70,000 people now live downtown, according to the 2017 State of Downtown report from the Downtown Seattle Association. The report noted the mix of residents includes a growing number of students and families with children.

Downtown Seattle's 12 neighborhoods encompass more than 265,000 jobs, 50,000 of which have been added since 2010, according to Jon Scholes, DSA's president and CEO. Downtown accounted for around 94 percent of all jobs gained in Seattle between 2010 and 2015.

Among Seattle's downtown workers, about half (49 percent) travel 10 or fewer miles to their jobs. One third have commutes of 10-to-24 miles, 10 percent commute 25-to-50 miles, and eight percent live at least 50 miles from their workplace.

Other metrics the report highlighted included:

  • Nearly 50 percent of downtown residents are between ages 25-to-44;
  • More than 7,000 downtown residents attend schools of higher learning;
  • In 2016, 25 percent of the downtown pop lived in a household with two or more people related by birth, marriage or adoption;
  • With 3,200 children now calling downtown Seattle home, this segment is one of its fastest-growing residential populations (up 40 percent since 2010)

The report's metrics for housing indicate more than 20,000 residential units have been added to downtown's inventory in the past decade, and another 30,000 are under construction or in development, including nearly 6,000 scheduled for completion by the end of this year. During December 2016, some 47 residential buildings were under construction. Apartments represent the majority of new units coming online.

Researchers also analyzed the mix of housing units by type and number of bedrooms. The vast majority - 81 percent - are rental. That compares to an owner-occupant rate of 46 percent citywide and 60 percent for the Puget Sound region. Of the total housing units, more than 14,000 are reported to have two or more bedrooms:

Downtown's Housing Units

# of BedroomsApartmentsCondominiums
Studio12,5761,437
123,4426,736
2
8,8054,768
3+
213267
Total
45,03613,208

Although the report focused on the vibrancy of downtown, both the mayor and county executive acknowledged challenges associated with growth, listing housing affordability as one of them.

In his introductory statement in the report, King County Executive Dow Constantine wrote, "We are committed to creating and funding innovative solutions for affordable housing and homelessness."  Referring to the passage of Sound Transit 3, he said he believe the expanded network will offer "downtown residents and commuters access to jobs, education, entertainment, and all the region has to offer."

The Downtown Seattle Association said ensuring Seattle and its downtown remain accessible to a wide range of people has been a longtime DSA priority. The reported noted its efforts to increase affordable housing, in part as a partner in the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), its efforts to help pass the $290 million housing levy in 2016, and an ongoing involvement in addressing homelessness via its 11-person Outreach Team that canvasses the streets every day, along with its Jobs Connect initiative to match homes individuals to jobs.

Established in 1958, the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) is a member-based nonprofit organization that champions a healthy, vibrant urban core. It focuses on "making Downtown Seattle a great place to live, work, shop and play through public policy advocacy, economic development and marketing."