Seattle Springs to Life: Seattle Market Review, March 2012

I love daffodils photo by musicisentrophy
Photo by musicisentrophy

The economy remains stalled, but hope springs eternal for a Seattle market recovery. The most recent Seattle Market Review shows Seattle ranking at or near the top in recent rankings for tech-startup jobs, retail investment projections and export value.

On the labor front, Boeing’s Washington employment is the highest since 1999 (remember those good old pre-dotcom bubble bursting days?). The state’s Employment Security Department’s jobless estimates indicate the economy might be improving. Outsourced work is returning to Washington manufacturers and Alaska Airlines just issued $33 million in bonuses to its workers in the Puget Sound area!

Seattle Sprouts a Mushroom Farm

Put this one in the “only in Seattle” category, with pride: an indoor urban mushroom farm has taken root — if only temporarily — in the Pioneer Square front office of Olson Kundig Architects (OKA), using spent coffee grounds as the growth medium.

In other retail news, the long awaited Nordstrom Rack opened in Westlake Center and Trader Joe’s is planning an April opening in West Seattle.

New Building Projects Breaking Ground

South Lake Union continues its growth spurt with more apartment and office-tower projects utilizing landmark buildings. But that’s not the only place where dirt is moving; a  new 40-story downtown apartment tower is about to break ground in mid-town, another condo tower is back on track for Belltown and Stadium Place is about to change the face of Pioneer Square. Speaking of changing faces, a shiny new one is taking shape on the Seattle Center grounds: The Chihuly Garden and Glass Center, with nine indoor galleries, a retail store, a collections café, a glass house and an outdoor garden, plans to open on May 21st.

Bon Voyage to Air France; Ahlan, Emirates!

Alas, we lost our non-stop Seattle to Paris flights with the departure of Air France from Sea-Tac Airport, but gained the luxury liner Emirates, offering non-stop luxury travel to Dubai.
Tourism
is up a tad but business and leisure travel still is suffering from continuing hard economic times. Those same hard times, and soaring gasoline prices, may be spurring the noteworthy light-rail usage growth in the marketplace.

Home Prices Dip… Again

For many, the steep decline in home prices feels like the zero-gravity dip on a roller-coaster, but in this case, what is falling isn’t going back up…at least not in the near term. In fact, it is estimated the median home price in the market might just fall below $300,000. Relief may be in sight as lack of inventory is starting to influence prices.

If what already is built isn’t moving, think what the impact is on new-home development. In an interesting and entrepreneurial move, some local home-builders have sought out private investment by forming Blueprint Capital for financing new projects. Let the building begin!

Read all the details and more in this month’s Seattle Market Review, compiled by Steve Fuller of The Seattle Times Company’s Strategic Research Department. If you are doing business in the Emerald City, you need to read this! Get the full report here.

 

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