The city of Seattle, Washington is primed for continual growth, with the combination of a beautiful and temperate location, growing prominence in the technology industry, and a stable aerospace and maritime base. The city has 14 economic clusters that are at or above the average economic impact of corresponding national clusters, including: aerospace, information technology, life sciences, fashion, maritime, trade and logistics, clean technology, financial services, global health, and philanthropy. Seattle is currently enjoying a boom in construction due to pent up demand for office space for rent which is expected to continue to surge through 2017 or 2018. There are $10 billion of construction projects, with $20 billion more in the pipeline. Technology companies continue to seek commercial space for rent, as Silicon Valley companies expand and add offices in Seattle. The region’s interactive-media business is moving to number one worldwide; 10 years ago only 10 companies were leasing in Seattle, now there are nearly 200. As the gateway to trade with Asia, many international companies continue to seek commercial rental opportunities and take advantage of Seattle’s port, which is the eighth largest in the United States.
The Great Recession hit Seattle particularly hard, but it has recovered more quickly than the rest of the nation, following a V-shaped recession decline and recovery curve. Boeing, one of Seattle’s biggest employers and growth engines, helped stabilize the regional economy, which between 2010 and 2013 showed positive growth. Wage and salary employment increased 2.2% annually over the last three years, with Boeing alone adding 35,000 jobs in that time. Personal income rose 5.1%, and the Seattle area edged out the nation in both jobs added and personal income growth by .7%. Foreign exports remain strong, with 7.7% growth in 2013; the city’s biggest trading partner is China. The sectors of employment, population, construction, retail sales, and car sales are all expanding and projected to continue expanding. Seattle’s port is the eighth largest in the United States, and the ninth largest in North America in terms of container handling.
Located 100 miles south of the Canada-United States border, Seattle is the northernmost city in the 48 contiguous states. It is situated on a narrow isthmus between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, with breathtaking views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains. The city encompasses 83.9 square miles and is nicknamed “The Emerald City” due to an abundance of lush vegetation that comes from 34.1 inches of annual rainfall. Temperatures are moderate and cool, but not cold, never climbing above the mid-70s in the summer, nor dipping to freezing in the winter. Seattle has many points of interest, beginning with activities along the picturesque waterfront. The 520-foot Space Needle found in Seattle Center is a must-see, as is the Seattle Art Museum and the free Olympic Sculpture Park. The region includes the Northern Cascade Mountains and Mt. Rainier, popular destinations for outdoor enthusiasts.
For 4,000 years before the first European settlers, Native American tribes lived and worked in the Seattle area. When Arthur A. Denny arrived as the first European in 1851, there were at least 17 villages in the region. Logging was the city’s first major industry; in the late 1800s it became a shipbuilding center and the gateway to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. In 1910, Seattle was one of the nation’s 25 largest cities, but the Great Depression severely affected the area, causing a drastic outflow of population. Two local real estate agents famously commissioned billboards that read, “Will the last person leaving Seattle . . .Turn out the lights.” The city recovered in World War II as Boeing headquartered there. In the 1980s, Seattle became a tech center, as Amazon.com, T-Mobile, and Microsoft based here. Another population growth area occurred between 1990 and 2000, as new software, biotech, and internet companies caused population growth of about 50,000 during that time. Today the city is a hub of green industry and a model of sustainable development.
Seattle’s population was estimated at 652,405 in 2013. The metropolitan area has 3.7 million residents, making it the 14th largest in the United States. Seattle continues to be the nation’s fastest growing major city; the city’s population steadily increased even during the recession. The racial and ethnic diversity of the city is not very broad, with 65.2% of residents reporting their race as White, 14.3% as Asian, 7.3% as Hispanic, and 7.1% Black. Seattle’s workforce is highly educated, as 57.7% of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Per capita income weighs in at $53,900, which is 20.4% above the national average.
The Urban Land Institute’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate ranks Seattle as the number 6 market to watch in the country. The city’s strong points include investment, development, and homebuilding, along with positive job growth due to the industry and strong foreign investment. When considered together, Seattle’s triple combination of investment, development, and homebuilding sectors are the sixth strongest market in the nation. Industrial properties are projected to perform in the near future, and interest rates are forecasted to increase. China’s economic growth moderation is a concern for regional economists, due to strong trade between the region and that nation.
Seattle has many sectors that are excellent for doing business; just a few are mentioned here. Pioneer Square is located in the southwest corner of downtown Seattle, and is a cluster market for internet companies, as well as a home for many art galleries. Amazon.com and other technology companies are located in South Lake Union, a once-industrial neighborhood that is now known for innovation, as well as diverse cuisine. The Central Business District in downtown Seattle continues to be a prime location for business, with sleek high rises and many business services. The city boasts an excellent transportation system, ranging from ferries, a monorail, light rail, and free downtown buses to create ease of commute.