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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2013, 9:56 PM
simms3_redux simms3_redux is offline
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Seattle: America's Next Big Gateway

The city is smaller (~3 million MSA) and tucked away in the Pac NW, but it has so many characteristics that put it in the same league of “gateway markets” such as SF, Boston, DC, NYC, LA, NYC. Such a stunning place with an almost unbeatable natural environ, and it is CLEAN and safe. It’s got a huge port, thriving international communities, 21st century industrial sector/economy, excellent public transit (don’t gripe at me about lack of rail…the busses here are more useful than most rail in America), educated population and universities (UW), parks and amenities, etc.

Still, while this was my first trip to Seattle and I happened to catch a BEAUTIFUL day when I had time to take these pictures, my expectations were so high that I was reminded that it was indeed a smaller city that still had some catching up to do to rival its neighbor to the south (SF) and other East Coast markets (Boston for example). While there is plenty of older building stock, plenty of culture, and tons of infill and urbanity, there is still tons of dead space, empty lots, and a “quieter” atmosphere indicative of a smaller American metro. I guess with the way things are going (read booming economy) and the multitude of development opportunities there (read empty or under-utilized lots), that is why I counted something like 25ish tower cranes up at once in and around the CBD!

My favorite area by far was Belltown…this place is happening! Still, a little difficult to catch a cab (not that SF is actually any better, LoL). Nonetheless, I can really only count on 6-7 fingers cities in America that are more walkable and more urban/vibrant. There is a lot more going on in central Seattle than all of modern America’s current growth cities (aka Sunbelt).

disclaimer: do not make fun of me or Seattle for the music, just shut the fuck up, put it on and enjoy
Video Link




The famous Pioneer Square. This area took me by surprise…I had heard so much about all of the development in the area that I didn’t realize that it was still a transitional area that has a ton of homeless/grit. This is where a lot of the city’s best new restaurants seemed to be, as well as art galleries and lofts, and of course they are redeveloping King St Station. I'd call it the "Soma" of Seattle where Tech has sort of provided an impetus for redevelopment/gentrification, with its proclivity to locate office space in older high-ceiling buildings. Everyone else has seemed to follow.

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5. The port and the stadiums provide the backdrop for the area.


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7. By the time you’ve reached the highway, you’ve already walked up a *massive* hill. Look to the office buildings to the left and notice that you’re halfway up their elevation. Columbia Center and surrounding towers are actually way up on a hill.


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9. St. James Cathedral (Catholic, c. 1907)…by now you all know I love churches


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24. The famous Olympic Hotel (one of the first Westins…aka Western International, then a Four Seasons for 2 decades, now flagged by Fairmont…it’s Seattle’s established hotel). UW owns the land and the improvements.


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30. The view at Columbia Center is only around 900 ft, but with that hill leading up from the water, I bet you're at least as high up off the Sound as JHC is high off the lake in Chicago.


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32. Very large port…love cities with ports/shipping trade. Seattle has ferries, PWCs and yachts, container/oil ships, cruise ships, and with Bremerton it has lots of old Navy ships, too…as well as a robust coast guard and tall mast ships docked alongside the harbor/piers.


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34. The International District (very Asian, particularly Vietnamese?)


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37. Mercer Island, where most of Seattle’s wealthy live, including Bill Gates.



38. Look at that natural beauty!


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40. I tend to love cities with ferries (Seattle, SF, NYC, Anchorage, Hatteras, Stockholm, Sydney, Osaka, etc)


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46. I couldn’t get a good pic of Rainier…but man is it tall! I learned it was the most dangerous slope to climb in the continental US while I was there.


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49. Westlake Center, the hub of Seattle transit (LRT, busses, monorail), tourism (hotels), and shopping (at corner of 5th Ave and Pine across from Nordstrom HQ and flagship).


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51. SLU (South Lake Union): Every real estate investor’s wet dream of a submarket.



52. Look at all the tower cranes in the area!!


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56. Much better views in my opinion at the Space Needle, but the line is a little ridiculous and it is a ripoff.


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63. Now that’s quality infill…guess residents will have to find street parking or take the bus as they probably already do!


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66. Lake Union…UW is near the bridge…didn’t make it over there to take pics, but man what a beautiful campus!


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69. This seemed like it would be a common site in the area


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73. Alto Apartments, one of the newest buildings in Seattle, in the Belltown neighborhood. 1BRs from $1500-$1600 and 2BRs from $2100 for new construction with amenities. I looked at a few apartments while I was there, and I know rents are skyrocketing 10+% annually (expect that to level off with all the new deliveries), but Seattle is still a lot cheaper than other gateway markets (SF, Boston, DC, central Chicago)


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81. I tend to love cities with CityTargets


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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2013, 10:23 PM
OhioGuy OhioGuy is offline
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I've been wishing for a Seattle thread. We haven't seen as much of the city/region since pwright is no longer living there. Thanks for sharing these photos!
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  #3  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2013, 10:24 PM
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Magnificent set, bravo!
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  #4  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2013, 12:28 AM
mhays mhays is offline
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Excellent!
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Old Posted Mar 4, 2013, 12:40 AM
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Seattle seems to have FAR better inner-city/infill than Vancouver. Jealous.
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  #6  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2013, 4:25 PM
mhays mhays is offline
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simms3_redux, your basic analysis is right on. Seattle is in transition mode. We've been moving toward having dense mixed uses in greater Downtown and other nodes, and the transition has been speeding up. But we have a long way to go.

One clarification. The apartment where you asked about parking actually has almost 0.9 spaces per unit, plus another 50 or so for public use. The highrise where you noted the rents has a 0.5 parking ratio.
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Old Posted Mar 4, 2013, 5:53 PM
MplsTodd MplsTodd is offline
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Beautiful set! Amazing City!
I never knew the Columbia Tower had an observation level. Interesting views from up there.
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  #8  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2013, 7:58 PM
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Great photos of a great city.
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  #9  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2013, 11:56 PM
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Fantastic set and thanks for the insight.

Being from San Francisco you may or may not have felt it, one thing I think is similar between San Francisco and Seattle... very pretty locations, but probably the absolute worst spot to build major cities, not even considering tectonics, the land restrictions and the logistic nightmares it creates.
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Old Posted Mar 5, 2013, 3:25 AM
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Pretty!
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Old Posted Mar 5, 2013, 5:26 AM
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Thanks. Love Seattle and I love photos when the sun is bright and the sky is blue. Great thread.
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  #12  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2013, 5:34 AM
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I haven't been there for a few years now, but your photos make me want to visit again. I'm not surprised that such an attractive place is booming as you say.
Really great photos BTW.
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  #13  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2013, 5:39 AM
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Excellent pics! Bellevue's skyline has sure grown a lot & is looking pretty good too.
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  #14  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2013, 6:52 AM
seaskyfan seaskyfan is offline
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Great photos! Thanks for sharing them.
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  #15  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2013, 4:35 PM
novaCJ novaCJ is offline
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Nice!
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  #16  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2013, 5:57 PM
joeg1985 joeg1985 is offline
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Very cool photos. Bill Gates lives in Medina though, not on Mercer Island.
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  #17  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2013, 12:10 PM
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Smile

Very nice shots, simms3_redux! Thanks for sharing your visit to the city of Seattle.

I´ve enjoyed your pics from Columbia Center and from Space Needle. Seattle is a very nice city. I appreciate very much to be surrounded by so much nature and amazing landscapes. I see it´s an ideal city to live in. I´d love to visit it.

Congrats and greetings from Madrid, Spain!
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  #18  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2013, 12:27 AM
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amazon.com's current HQ, right?


Great pics. Seattle is a winner.
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  #19  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2013, 2:24 AM
mhays mhays is offline
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No, Amazon moved to the other end of greater Downtown. They have several new lowrises and midrises that you can see in the South Lake Union photos, plus they've leased big chunks of three taller buildings. Combined about 3,000,000 sf.

They plan to more than double that with three towers totaling 3,300,000 more square feet. The first two blocks are in demo and utility relocation. The first block is getting ready to start excavating/shoring in June. Giant pdf: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/AppDocs/G...endaID3712.pdf

Plus they recently started another couple lowrises in SLU for 370,000 sf.
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Old Posted Mar 19, 2013, 11:35 PM
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nice tribute to Seattle sound or should i say the grunge era that Seattle pioneered thanks to Nirvana.
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