The professionals of Seattle Commercial Real Estate have well over 100 years of experience. We continue to learn in a dynamic industry that is continuously evolving, so it behooves us to look back and see how accurate our predictions have been. As the summer winds down in 2022 we want to look at a couple of areas. The first will be retail in Seattle.
A series of recent articles in the Seattle Times and the Puget Sound Business Journal focused on retail in downtown Seattle. Tourism is rebounding in Seattle. Aided by an increase in Alaska tours over previous Covid years (projected 295 tours with over 1.26 million people versus 82 cruises in 2021), hotel occupancies have jumped to above 80% (with a mid-June peak of 98%) and foot traffic has rebounded to 80% of what it was in 2019. The “downtown” neighborhoods population has grown from 88,000 in 2019 to 104,000. All of this has led to a resurgence in CBD retail. The primary beneficiaries are the areas surrounding the Pike Place Market and Broadway.
On the other hand, the Pike Pine Corridor and the historical areas in Pioneer Square are still suffering. Amazon Go temporarily closed its store on 4th and Pine due to crime. The streets are better but homelessness under the new mayor and crime are still problems searching for solutions. The city has started a program call Seattle Restore. This allows temporary tenancies in vacant spaces until long term tenants can be found and underwrites Tenant improvement grants and subsidies.
The programs are stop gap until office occupancies turn around. There is every reason for caution. Seattle Commercial Real Estate wants nothing more than to look back five years from now and say that we did not survive the downtown retail slump, but we conquered it, thrived and rebounded to prosperity.