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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Turn to the Art Scene When Seattle Turns Cold and Grey

Grey Weather in Seattle is a trending topic

We often cruise the cosmic interwebs (e.g. Google trends, Facebook feeds, and news articles) to see what the buzz is, around Seattle. After all, we’re involved in one of the most dynamic real estate markets in the world (currently), and it’s our job to know what people are talking about. Oddly enough, a lot of people are wondering what there is to do during the cold and rainy winter season and how people survive “this weather.” We’ll assume most of the people asking questions like this are Seattle transplants, but we have encountered a few Seattleites sounding a similar request.

The fact is Seattle doesn’t shut down when the weather changes from the beautiful sunny summer to the grey…other season. Actually, quite the opposite. This is when Seattle’s culture gets to shine.

Seattle is a city of Art

See, over the years, Seattle has grown to be a thriving city for the arts community. As early as the 1920’s, Seattle began to emerge as an international arts center. Jazz, Russian ballet performances, painters, and musicians of all kinds began showcasing their talents here. As of January 2011, Seattle was home to 4,571 arts-related businesses employing over 20,000 people. If that’s not compelling enough, Seattle was recently designated by UNESCO, as a City of Literature in the Creative Cities Network. Seattle is the top city in the United States for arts organizations per capita, and our nonprofit arts landscape is the fourth largest in the USA. Needless to say, apart from the booming tech industry as of late, the art culture has always been the major factor in people’s decision to relocate to the Seattle area.

[arve url=”″ title=”Welcome to Seattle City of Literature” description=”Listen to a few of the many literary leaders in Seattle discuss why Seattle is such a literary city and why it would make such a great addition to UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network. ” upload_date=”Monday, July 13, 2015 at 2:52 AM EST” /]

To add to its recent recognition, Seattle’s art scene is amplified by more than 140 theaters, museums, galleries, and arts-related businesses.




So, when the warm summer days, hikes with friends, long walks through downtown, and neighborhood festivals are put on hold during the grey season, look to the art scene. There are some hidden gems out there.

Don’t worry if art isn’t your thing

Of course, there are endless things to do in Seattle during the grey season. Are you a beer enthusiast? Would you rather spend your time in coffee shops, by the fire? I bet you’ve always wanted to learn how to play an instrument. What about dusting off those board games that you’ve accumulated over the years? Now is the perfect time self-exploration and indoor stimulation (although rainy hikes are quite liberating, too). What’s your favorite thing to do during the rainy, winter season?

Posted on November 14, 2017 at 14:22
Brandon Sturgis | Category: LOVE | 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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From the Mountains to Your Tap


Are we using up all of our water?

As most of us are Human. 😉  We need water to stay alive. We also need this magical substance for hygiene, cooking, farming, making alcohol, and of course all of our Seattle water activities (fishing, sailing, paddle boarding, floating, riding on ferry boats, etc.). Considering everything we use water for and knowing less than 1% of the Earth’s water is available for consumption, you may wonder if we’re in danger of using it up. Well, here’s the quick and short answer from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

While population and demand on freshwater resources are increasing, supply will always remain constant. And although it’s true that the water cycle continuously returns water to Earth, it is not always returned to the same place, or in the same quantity and quality.

Key takeaways – water is not always returned to the same place, or in the same quantity, or quality. Basically, we’re not going to use it all up, but we need to be mindful that what we do to the water isn’t always natural.

How does the water flow to my tap?

Now we can ask questions like, “where is my water coming from,” and “where is my money going.”

In Seattle (and 22 other cities and utility districts), our primary source of water comes from 2 major watersheds. About 65% comes from Cedar River Watershed and about 35% comes from the Tolt River Watershed. The water embarks on a journey down the mountains to two treatment facilities for testing and treatment to ensure safety. Finally, after a thorough examination of the water, it travels through 1,900 miles of pipeline to your faucet.

Of course, the process is more complex than flowing water, which includes:

  • 2 protected mountain sources
  • 2 state-of-the-art water treatment facilities
  • 1,900 miles of pipeline
  • 13 reservoirs
  • 14 storage tanks
  • numerous pumping stations
  • over 600 employees (for testing, treating, repairing, monitoring, building, and protecting)
  • 1.4 million people to drink and use the water in their homes, businesses, and public facilities

So that’s where your water comes from, and hopefully gives you a better understanding of what you’re paying for. Which, by the way, bottled water is not as heavily regulated and can be up to 1,000 times more expensive than tap water.

Conserving saves money!

Now let’s talk about what you can do to conserve your Seattle water…and let’s save you some money while we’re at it.

Brushing your teeth

We all like the sound of water, but running it while you brush your teeth is unnecessary. Turning the water off as you brush your teeth could save, on average, 7 gallons per day.

Washing clothes

Wait to do laundry until you have a full washer.

Washing dishes

Did you know washing your dishes by hand can waste as much as 20 gallons of water? Invest in a dishwashing machine. Look for the ENERGY STAR endorsement.

Taking showers

Take short showers. Cutting your shower time from 10 minutes to 5 minutes can save 10-25 gallons of water!

Fixing leaks

Fix your dripping faucets and leaky toilets. An efficient faucet could save up to 570 gallons of water per year.

Finding Rebates!

In 2000, Seattle founded the Saving Water Partnership. The partnership is comprised of 19 local water utilities dedicated to providing water conservation programs to their customers in Seattle and King County. The Saving Water Partnership has helped Seattle and the nearby cities save 9.6 million gallons of water per day (from 2000 to 2010) and built some pretty awesome rebates (queue excitement).

Us Seattleites are pretty environmentally conscious and we do most of these things without a thought, but there’s always more we could do. What are some other water saving tips that you use? Share this article and include your tips, by clicking on the share button below.

Posted on July 13, 2017 at 16:34
Brandon Sturgis | Category: OWN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Summer Issue of Windermere Living Magazine

The Summer 2017 issue of Windermere Living, showcasing residences and destinations from across the West, is now available! Windermere Living is the exclusive listings magazine published by Windermere Real Estate.

Read the magazine here or by clicking on the image below…  and if you see a listing that looks like it might be your dream home, please contact us.


Windermere Living: Summer 2017


Posted on June 29, 2017 at 12:49
Brandon Sturgis | Category: LIVE | Tagged , , , , ,