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Downtown apartment construction signals a recovery

Ashley Gross

The number of apartments being built in downtown Seattle has jumped almost 10-fold compared with two years ago, suggesting the city’s downtown core is in the midst of a rebound.

The first condo building to start construction in five years also recently broke ground in the city's Denny Triangle neighborhood. That's another sign that the market may be beginning to revive, after the real estate crash brought condo construction to a halt.

Still, most of what’s being built these days are apartments. The Downtown Seattle Association says almost 4,000 apartment units are under construction right now. That’s up from just over 400 in 2010. Jon Scholes tracks economic development for the association.

"To look at where we were just two to three years ago with the recession in Seattle and its impact on investment in residential and commercial real estate to where we are now is pretty astounding," Scholes said.

Scholes says real estate developers are anticipating that more and more people will want to shorten their commutes by living downtown, especially as transit options improve.

As for commercial real estate, construction remains slow. That will change, of course, when breaks ground on its new three-tower complex.


In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.