Thriving Neighborhoods in Seattle [Nov. 2016 Breakfast Recap]

We all know that Seattle is booming. In our November breakfast we heard about three neighborhoods that are contributing to that boom—in fact, they’re thriving!

Our sponsors were:

  • Lake Union Partners
  • Long Bay Enterprises
  • Davis Property and Investment
  • BNBuilders

We thank them for their continued support!

President John Teutsch opened the meeting and talked about new members. Kristen Glandon gave us a recap of the Community Enhancement Event at New Start High School. More than 450 volunteers turned out to help renovate the building grounds. Mike Sita, the school principal, gave his heartfelt thanks for a job well done!

Andrew Donaldson of the Developing Leaders Committee gave us an update on the Rookies and Rockstars and Mentoring programs.

Dylan Simon of Colliers International moderated an excellent panel comprising:

  • Joe Ferguson of Lake Union Partners
  • Jill Sherman of Gerding Edlen
  • Margaret McCauley of Downtown Works

Joe began by talking about Columbia City. This thriving neighborhood has consistently placed high in the Curbed Magazine poll of best neighborhoods. Joe opined that the following factors were most in play:

  • A mix of old and new in Columbia City
  • Open space
  • Vibrant development
  • Small business

Joe also spoke of how “positive mobility” is the secret to strong neighborhoods. In Columbia City, the presence of light rail and proximity to downtown is a huge factor.

Jill Sherman spoke about the project she’s involved with at the light rail station on Capitol Hill. Capitol Hill is a very developed neighborhood, so one challenge is how to knit new development into an already thriving neighborhood. Jill spoke of the challenges of gaining consensus with Sound Transit, the City of Seattle and the local community. She related that although this process is difficult, shortcutting the consensus-building is a recipe for disaster.

Margaret McCauley is a resident of Pioneer Square and focused most of her presentation on retail. Retail storefronts are the most visible of land uses. What matters most to retailers are:

  • Brand fit
  • Co-tenancy (retailers that complement one another)
  • Sales per square foot
  • Visibility 
  • Parking

All of these factors grow out of a vision and a plan. Margaret also spoke about the importance of community involvement. In the case of Pioneer Square, the Pioneer Square Alliance has been very active. The outcome? In the last five years, the population has doubled, Weyerhaeuser has moved their headquarters from Tacoma into the neighborhood, Occidental Park has undergone major positive changes, and 26 new retailers have opened up in the last two years, with more to come.

The meeting was closed with questions by Dylan and the audience.

This was a fascinating look at three evolving and different neighborhoods. The road map outlined by our presenters has proven outcomes. Come out and visit these neighborhoods!

This article was written by NAIOP Washington State and Programs Committee member Edward Scherer, Account Executive, Avidex Industries, LLC. 

Share this post: