The new catch phrase in multi-family development is TOD (Transit Oriented Development). In a recent article (link to above article) Seattle Commercial Real Estate pointed out the case study of Vancouver, Canada’s vertical orientation surrounding transit centers. Our new catch phrase is TOD but we are truly lagging behind the potential to meet our needs. The real choke point is not the developers, but the planners. Will they be sufficiently far-sighted to allow real vertical development of 20-30 stories or more? That remains to be seen.

Seattle is currently the 10th most congested city in the United States. Our problems started in 1968 when the NIMBY’s (Not In My Back Yard) anti-growth votes got 51% of the population to vote against a regional lightrail system. We are now paying the price and lagging materially behind the need for transportation to accommodate our growth. The commercial real estate industry is reaping the “benefits” of that decision. We are undergoing almost 10 years of continuous growth and seem to be positioned to continue. The answer for multi-family is to locate in areas identified by planners as TOD developments. Parking is not required and units are smaller. Can this meet the demands of our growth? Seattle Commercial Real Estate can only assist our clients in their decision making process, but we need to be aware of the unanswered questions of where the future of multi-family industry in Greater Seattle is going.