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Seattle remains crane capital of the US, despite decrease

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We’re No. 1!

Oksana Perkins/Shutterstock

Seattle’s crane count—literally, the amount of cranes erected in the city—is under 50 for the first time since 2015. But we still have the highest number of cranes out of any city in the United States, according to Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB)’s latest Crane Index.

That number dropped by 13 since their last count six months ago, but it’s still significantly higher than the second-place US cities. Los Angeles, Denver, and Chicago all have 36.

Still, a major North American city far outpaces us: Toronto, with 88.

Despite the drop, RLB’s analysis says our construction industry is still robust. While construction costs have gone up more than 5 percent, the report notes that cranes are “rising quickly to replace those taken down when projects are completed.” (In previous reports, construction costs also rose, even with soaring numbers of cranes.)

Mixed-use buildings are what a third of those cranes are working on, according to RLB—no surprise, with a higher allowable floor area ratio for mixed-use projects in the commercial core—followed by residential and education. The strongest neighborhoods for development right now, according to the report, are South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, and the University District.

2017 was a big year for construction, and 2018 shows no signs of taking a breather, with multiple skyscrapers and a changing skyline on the way.