The start of the 2018 year finds Seattle commercial real estate materially impacted by traffic considerations. Seattle currently ranks as the 4th most congested city in the United States . Now comes the better news. An example is the impact of the closing of the underground bus tunnel with the construction of the new addition to the Seattle Convention Center. This act alone will put an additional 570 buses a day on Seattle Streets. The value of projects under construction is well into the billions of dollars.
There will be street cars on 1st Avenue (think Pike Place Market), bike lanes on 4th Avenue, buses on 5th and 6th Avenues and restrictions on parking in the downtown core, yet the situation is compounded by the construction of some 22,000 parking stalls in South Lake Union.
The impact on commercial real estate is going to be profound. It will take until about 2021 (only if you believe Sound Transit will complete the Northgate facility on time) for the link light rail to reach Northgate. If it is bad now and if rents are slowing in terms of the rate of increase in multifamily real estate, the pressure of continued growth will ultimately impact rents in multi-family, office rents and even retail rents.