It is an exciting time to be in Seattle! With the success of Microsoft and Amazon leading the way of the tech-boom, Seattle has become one of the most influential cities in the world. Some go as far as to say it will soon become the New York of the west coast. And I agree.
On that note, I thought I would discuss what I think are the two current projects that will forever change Seattle.
1. The Seattle Waterfront Project
This one-billion-dollar project will add something that Seattle never has had, a proper waterfront that is seamlessly connected to the downtown core, Pike Place Market, and Pioneer Square. The scope of the project is to essentially create a brand new waterfront that replaces the footprint of highway 99 which has separated our city since 1969. The first phase of the project is done, which is the removal of highway 99 viaduct. Construction on the buildout has already started and the completion of the waterfront will be in 2023. Below you will find the before and after picture of the highway being removed.
This new waterfront park design will have a focus on five aspects.
Gathering and Event Space (imagine attending a concert ON the pier!)
Increased Access from the downtown core
Pedestrian Safety ("walking only" pathways and dedicated bike lanes)
Connection with Nature
This twenty-six block park will change Seattle forever. It will be the crown jewel of our beautiful waterfront city. It is expected to increase tourism and spending by about 20%, bringing total revenue to the city to about 191-million in annual visitor spending. Additionally, the city will add 145 jobs dedicated to maintaining the park. The stats could go on forever but the bottom line is that this park will be one of the catalysts that will push Seattle towards rivaling other world-class cities like LA, Boston, Barcelona, and Hong Kong.
*Stats and more information can be found at - https://waterfrontseattle.org/
2. The Washington State Convention Center Expansion
Did you know that the current Washington State convention center is often overlooked by many conventions because it is too small? This is why if you have ever been to a large business conference it has likely been in a different city like Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami. Those cities have the infrastructure to handle the kind of events that heavily rely on the size of the venue and hotel accommodations. If you've driven on Boren Street lately you probably noticed the convention center's new home - a huge hole in the ground with many construction workers and three cranes. That is where the convention center will go. Here is a rendering of what the 1+ million-square-foot expansion potentially will look like.
The timeline of completion is 2022. One thing I would like to point out is that many big-name hotels have already taken notice of the project. The largest hotel in the PNW, the Hyatt Regency (1200 rooms), did not move in just across the street by accident. They are preparing for the huge number of conference-goers that will need a fancy hotel close by.
This project is estimated to create over 2,300 direct jobs, 1,600 indirect jobs, and employee over 6,000 construction workers during the time of construction. Additionally, the expansion is expected to generate about $200 million per year in out-of-state visitor spending and $60 million per year in spending from Washington residents. All in all this project will help create a focal point to the Denny Triangle neighborhood, something that it has not had.
*Lastly, a personal prediction of mine is that with the completion of the of all the infrastructure that the convention center expansion is creating, Seattle will finally host a Super Bowl between 2023-2026. Let me know if you want to make it a bet!