Seattle's center city turned in stellar performance in the latest comprehensive report. From new residents to employers and retailing, the numbers are strong.

Share story

The Downtown Seattle Association held its annual breakfast this morning at the Westin Seattle, releasing its State of Downtown 2017 economic report. Association CEO Jon Scholes told the 1,200 attendees, “It’s been an incredible year of progress and there’s more to come.”

Vishaan Chakrabarti, author of A Country of Cities and founder of the New York-based firm Practice for Architecture and Urbanism, was the keynote speaker.

Here are some key numbers for 2016 (or in some cases, 2015, the most recent year available). The association counts 12 neighborhoods in the center city, from Uptown, South Lake Union and Capitol Hill in the north to Sodo in the south.

• More than 70,000 people lived in downtown as of last year, an increase of 18 percent since 2010. By contrast, the city as a whole saw its population grow by 10 percent during that time.

• Some demographics: nearly half of residents were aged 25 to 44; 7,000 were attending schools of higher learning; 26 percent lived in households with two or more people related; 3,200 children lived downtown, an increase of 40 percent since 2010.

• A total of 2,199 residential units came on line last year. Over the past decade, 20,000 units were added and another 30,000 are under construction or in various stages of development. For example, 5,975 are under construction this year. Eighty-one percent of housing units are occupied by renters. Of 58,000 downtown units, more than 10,000 are subsidized for lower-income individuals and families. This is 35 percent of the subsidized housing in all of Seattle.

• The center city held 265,000 jobs, a 23 percent increase from 2010 to 2015, and an amazing rebound from the losses of the recession. This accounted for 94 percent of all jobs gained in the city.

• In 2016, net commercial office space occupancy had increased by 9 million square feet over the past five years. That equals six new Columbia Towers. Companies and entrepreneurs continue to locate in the central city.

• Retail sales increased 28 percent from 2010 to 2015. Sixteen new retailers and nearly 100 (!) new restaurants opened last year.

You can read the report here. Overall, it shows the city’s heart continuing its best run in decades.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Don’t fret about Flynn

He’ll have a job in Moscow

New revolving door