Editorial: Commercial signs looking up, finally
The announcement of a 660-foot tower in downtown Seattle is a sign of good times.
Seattle Times Editorial
WHEN developers announce a 43-story skyscraper in downtown Seattle without a solid tenant, it’s a sign that hard times are over.
The bright spot is no longer just Amazon.com or the South Lake Union district. The new Fifth and Columbia Tower will be built toward the south end of downtown.
The project was announced in 2008, shelved when Washington Mutual collapsed, and is being revived now with a hotel as a possible tenant.
In Bellevue, it was announced in December that the long-delayed expansion of Lincoln Square, with office, retail, hotel and condo space, is on for this year.
These are big projects. People don’t do them when signs are bad.
A number of signs look good:
• The drop in office vacancy rates in downtown Seattle and Bellevue;
•The biggest boom in apartment construction in 20 years;
• Seattle’s dropping unemployment rate — 5.9 percent in November, down from 6.9 percent a year before and 8.7 percent two years before.
House prices are up. In King County in 2012 the median sales price of a house went up for the first time in five years: 7 percent.
People and companies are different, and always some are in their own private shadows. But as the year opens, the commercial tone in metropolitan Seattle is the strongest it has been in five years.
And about time.