State of Downtown recap: more jobs, apartments, kids and bus riders

Twelve-hundred of you came together to learn about downtown’s progress over the past year and connect with fellow City Makers.

Under the theme “Cities at the Center,” featured speaker Bruce Katz shared his theory of “new localism” — a belief that cities hold the power to solve the nation’s most pressing social, economic and environmental issues.

In my annual address, I had the pleasure of reporting that the state of downtown remains strong. Each year, we track four metrics to measure downtown’s health — live, work, shop and play. Across all fronts, things are moving up. For example:

  • More than 70,000 Seattleites now live downtown, including 3,400 kids
  • We’ve added 65,000 jobs since 2010
  • Downtown opened more than 75 restaurants in 2017
  • Retail in downtown added $400 million to the local economy in 2017

Our full annual economic analysis can be found on our website.

Across downtown’s 12 neighborhoods, we’re seeing record private and public investment — from new hotels and residential developments to enhanced parks and public spaces. What will downtown look like as a result? We invite you to take a peek.

Coverage on the event and the health of the downtown economy appeared in the Puget Sound Business Journal and The Seattle Times as well as other media outlets, including Geekwire. Also, Seattle Channel will be airing the event in its entirety on five occasions, with the first showing at 5 p.m. Feb. 21.

And while there is much to be celebrated, we remain committed to ensuring that downtown and Seattle remain welcoming for everyone who wants to be here. During the event, we highlighted the importance of increasing housing across Seattle to sustain our prosperity and vibrancy. A great resource for learning how to support housing affordability and livability is Seattle For Everyone — a coalition, including DSA, that’s working to keep our city accessible for all. I encourage you to learn more about the work of this organization. I also ask for your support and participation in the coming months as the Seattle City Council makes critical decisions about housing and affordability that will impact our city for years to come.

If you were unable to attend last week’s event and would like a copy of our 2018 Economic Report, please contact Carolyn Tow at

I’m grateful for all you do to help make our downtown vibrant and healthy.

Jon Scholes
President & CEO, DSA