We all know Seattle is in the midst of a development renaissance. But just how much development are we experiencing and where? What will that growth look like? And will we still have room for further growth in the future? I set out in search of answers to these questions. To do that, I sat down and dug into the Department of Planning and Development’s permit database. Some project proposals have come and died. Others are still in the works. And many are already in the process of construction.
Below you can see just how much activity is taking place in the central part of the city. Downtown, South Lake Union, and Capitol Hill are going gangbusters. But you probably already knew that. Any trip into these areas makes it easy to see they’re filled with trucks, cranes, construction workers, and advertising for future occupancy in a new apartment.
Using Google Maps, I was able to create feature layers highlighting the project areas. Green features are projects in design, blue are projects under construction, yellow are completed projects, and red are sites ripe for redevelopment (judgement call on my part). I’ve also linked to the permit status and latest design review PDF of each project (a work still in progress).
Projects are in the pipeline all across the city, but there is a big disparity between the central neighbourhoods and the rest of Seattle. I’ve managed to capture almost every project of significance in the University District, Roosevelt, Greenlake, and Fremont. So, it should be pretty easy to see that while stuff is in the pipeline, they just don’t come close in scale to the activity of central Seattle. Still, there are some seriously bold and exciting projects taking place in North Seattle.
While admittedly subjective, I have undertaken the effort to determine parcels and buildings that are ripe for redevelopment. I don’t have a strict definition for this, but surface parking, blighting and abandoned structures, or old strip malls in urban centers and villages are obvious catches for redevelopment. The not-so-obvious ones are the creative redevelopments such as constructing on top of existing structures and incorporating historic structures. They are challenging efforts to be sure, but the results can be good. From what I can tell, there is plenty of capacity for continued development across the city.
I’m a numbers, map, design, and planning nerd, so creating this project just for my own interests has been fun. Along the way, I’ve discovered many interesting projects and perhaps you will, too. One of my most favourite projects right now is 801 Dexter (see page 10) in Westlake if only because of Weber Thompson’s design inspiration from bold colours and the outdoorsiness of the PNW. Feel free to pan through my database and explore projects. If you have any suggestions or ideas about how I can improve this or can help fill in the gaps, let me know in the comments or send me a tweet!