How do 60,000 new employees affect Seattle?

On February 14th, at Downtown Seattle Association’s (DSA) State of Downtown event, several note-worthy stats were brought to light to paint a picture of Downtown Seattle’s story, since 2010. The driving factor behind the city’s transformation is the demand for more employees; it’s clear that housing is the “traffic jam.”

Reported statistics for Downtown Seattle

2010 – present:

  • 60,000 new jobs were added
  • Population has grown 22%
  • Taxable brick-and-mortar retail sales have increased 34%


  • Downtown businesses contributed $3.2 Billion in local, state, and federal taxes


  • From construction, 3.6 million square feet of space was added above street level
  • 5,725 residential units and 637 hotel rooms were added

Present – 2020

  • 3 million square feet of space will be completed
  • More than 8,700 residential units and 2,400 hotel rooms will be developed
  • Public projects, budgeted around $330 Million are planned or underway

The short version

The takeaway is more people are moving to Downtown Seattle than there are places for them to live. For the majority of Downtown Seattle, the only way to accommodate these new residents is to build upward. Two major concerns that the DSA discussed were homelessness and affordable housing, and traffic. They have not developed a solution, however, there is a 20-year plan called One Center City to develop a solution.

The event discussion was focused on Downtown Seattle (Downtown Seattle area defined by the DSA), but the findings reflect the story of all of Metro Seattle. Without an adequate supply of housing for the thousands of new employees hired per month, it’s not difficult to see how problems can arise. Downtown Seattle has its issues of traffic and congestion that other neighborhoods may not have, but the bottleneck in the story is the amount of available housing. Below is a snapshot of statistics for all of Metro Seattle, telling a similar story. The snapshot is taken from our 2017 Annual + Quarterly (Q4) Report.

What do you think?

Click to view the Puget Sound Business Journal article.

Posted on February 16, 2018 at 17:03
Brandon Sturgis | Category: 2017, Annual Report, OWN, Quarterly Report, Report | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bye-Bye to Boring Bertha

Bertha has left the tunnel, finally. What’s next?

[arve url=”” title=”Bye-Bye to Bertha, the world’s largest tunneling machine” description=”This time-lapse video captures the difficult and challenging work to disassemble the world’s largest-diameter tunneling machine. For four months, crews cut, hoisted and trucked away 8,000 tons of the machine’s equipment and steel, removing it from inside the tunnel it had built. Up next – finishing the double-deck highway inside and installing all the operating systems to open Seattle’s new SR 99 tunnel by early 2019.” upload_date=”Aug 23, 2017″ /]

As of August 24, 2017, Bertha has been completely disassembled. Bertha was working for nearly 4 years under the objective of a much larger project, The Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project. If you weren’t keeping up with Bertha and what the largest tunnel boring machine has been up to, less than 215’ below downtown Seattle [view the simulation below], here’s the highlight reel.

  • 2008 – The Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement project officially began (primarily legislation, planning, mitigation, and demolition)
  • 2009 – WOSCA building demolition
  • 2010 – Pier 48 demolition
  • 2011 – SR 99 Tunnel project kicked off (mitigation and structural work)
  • 2011 – Demolition and repair of the South end of the Viaduct
  • 2012 – Cedarstrand building demolition
  • 2013 – Bertha began digging, boring, tunneling, and doing what “she” does. (Bertha was named after Bertha Knight Landes, elected mayor of Seattle in 1926)
  • 2014 – North Tunnel Access construction began
  • 2016 – South Tunnel Access construction began
  • 2017 – Bertha completed her boring and tunneling

…so, what’s next?

  • 2016 – South Tunnel Access construction began
  • 2017 – Bertha completed her boring and tunneling
  • 2018 – Connections between Tunnel, Access, and surface streets
  • 2019 – SR 99 Tunnel completion and open to the public
  • 2019 – Demolition and decommissioning of Alaskan Way Viaduct
  • 2019 – Begin Alaskan Way Surface Street Project
  • 2023 – Complete Waterfront and Alaskan Way Street

A Glimpse into 2023

When the entire Alaskan Viaduct Replacement project is completed (2023), Seattle will have a brand new 1.7-mile-long tunnel, an additional mile-long stretch of highway at the south end of the tunnel, new Alaskan Way street, new Alaskan Way Waterfront, Elliot Bay Seawall, and a seismic-safe way to travel. The current budget stretching into 2019 (when the tunnel will be open to the public) is set at $3.2 Billion. Another $149 Million may be needed to complete the program, estimated 2023. We can’t wait to see the entire project completed in all of its glory (and to have some major construction wrapped up around here). What are your tunneling thoughts?

Extras for your entertainment

[one_half padding=”0 10px 0 10px”]

Did you know? Bertha actually built the tunnel behind her as she bored through the earth.

[arve url=”” title=”Building a highway inside a tunnel” description=”This video shows how Seattle Tunnel Partners crews build the highway inside the SR 99 tunnel in Seattle. For more information, visit SHOW MORE” upload_date=”Jul 13, 2016″ maxwidth=”300″ /]

[/one_half][one_half_last padding=”0 10px 0 10px”]WSDOT simulation, taking you underground along the crown of the tunnel.

[arve url=”” title=”Proposed SR 99 Bored Tunnel Underground Simulation March 2010″ description=”The Washington State Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, King County, the City of Seattle and the Port of Seattle, is leading a program to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct section of State Route 99, which runs along Seattle’s downtown waterfront.” upload_date=”Mar 16, 2010″ maxwidth=”300″ /]


Visit Milepost 31 for a museum-like tour of projects that shaped Pioneer Square and the SR 99 Tunnel project.


Posted on August 28, 2017 at 16:55
Brandon Sturgis | Category: LIVE | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Falling in LOVE with Seattle

Take a stroll around any Seattle neighborhood. No two neighborhoods are the same. They each have distinct “personalities” that makes them unique. Yet, without each neighborhoods’ quirks and characteristics, Seattle wouldn’t be the beautifully awe-inspiring city that it is.

So, what is it about Seattle that makes it so unique? Why do people gravitate to Seattle? What is it that gets people talking all day and staying up all night? What is it that makes people fall in love with Seattle?

How do you fall in love?

We’ve been tossing around this idea of Seattle’s stimulating senses…join me on this journey really quick.

As you begin to connect and fall in love with someone, you typically excite some powerful senses about them, right? Think about it. Think about your current or last love (try to be positive).

  • Do they have a smell? Maybe their hair smells like roses, their neck smells like fresh cookies, or maybe you can’t get enough of their sweat after an intimate game of “tag.” 😉
  • What do they taste like? Does your mouth salivate at the thought of them?
  • What do they look like? Think more about HOW you see them. Are their eyes like the ocean – deep, powerful, hypnotizing, and mysterious – but no matter what you do, you can’t seem to look away; you drown in them?
  • How do they sound? Does their laugh make you laugh? When they share an intimate secret with you, does nothing else matter? When they sing, does the rest of the world go silent?
  • What do they feel like? Is their silky-smooth skin like the landscape of your dream destination?

Seattle’s Stimulating Senses

Now think about Seattle. Everywhere you go, you’re showered with beautiful sights (e.g. the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden, the Great Wheel) and alluring smells (e.g. food trucks, nature hikes). And depending on the activity, your senses could be amazed with sounds (e.g. Seattle Theater, Pike Place Market, a Seattle Seahawks game), tastes (e.g. any of Seattle’s incredible restaurants, your favorite coffee, your neighborhood Sunday market), and textures (e.g. the SAM, the gum wall, hiking). Seattle’s ability to touch several senses at once helps to solidify that experience in your memory and seduces you to explore further.

Why did YOU fall in love with Seattle?
If you haven’t yet, get out there and explore. Find a place that’ll stimulate your senses. Seattle has enough love for everyone. Cheers.

Check out more ways to fall in love with Seattle.

Posted on August 14, 2017 at 16:23
Brandon Sturgis | Category: LOVE | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,