You aren’t imagining it. Seattle’s office construction isn’t slowing down. Seattle’s history is a series of booms and busts. The most famous bust was celebrated with the 1971 billboard, “Will the last person leaving SEATTLE - Turn out the lights.“ Amidst the recent boom after the recent bust have been worries that the next bust must be near. Maybe not. Maybe this time is different.
Amazon is becoming the new Boeing, or at least the tech companies are. Facebook, Google, Apple, and many others are moving to Seattle. The collection have driven Seattle to vie for the construction crane capital of America, at least for a while.
Geekwire published an interesting set of data in a recent article about Seattle’s office space. According to them, Amazon accounts for 20% of Seattle’s office space, plans to have forty buildings by 2022, and is already expanding outside the city to Bellevue.
Microsoft helped start the tech trend. Amazon amplified it. Scores of other companies either competed or collaborated with them to shift the Seattle region from aerospace to information technologies. UW and other colleges’ programs have fed the growth. Rather than saturating the market for talent and facilities, the result may have been to reach some critical mass that has accelerated the appeal.
Seattle has attracted tech workers, which means other tech workers see Seattle as a place for them, which attracts more tech workers. Companies in need of that talent come here, and the cycle continues.
Left alone, that dynamic would eventually slow, but the metropolitan competition with places like the Bay Area also swings in Seattle’s favor because, yet again, we’re seen as being inexpensive, relatively.
As Geekwire pointed out;
“Seattle and its surrounding counties added 86,320 new residents between April 2015 and 2016, marking the region’s biggest population gain this century.“ - Geekwire
Eventually our region will reach its limits, or some other region will out compete us, but as we reported earlier, for tech workers, Seattle has one of the best balances of income and affordability. Until that changes, expect the boom to continue.