This week in hopping downtown Seattle

Here are a few more stats from the new Downtown Seattle Association report. DSA defines downtown as going from the waterfront on the west to First Hill and Capitol Hill, west of Broadway, on the east; with South Lake Union and Lower Queen Anne on the north and SoDo on the south (so, this takes in Chinatown, Pioneer Square, and Belltown and Denny Triangle).

1. South Lake Union has a 12 percent commercial (retail and office) vacancy rate, the highest of any of downtown neighborhood. (Sorry SLU, but Weyerhaeuser, apparently not into prefab, chose Pioneer Square. I have a call in to Weyerhaeuser.)

2. When it comes to office space in particular, Seattle, with lease rates at $34.90 per square foot, is at 12.4 percent vacancy. Compare that to Bellevue, which has a 9.3 percent vacancy and higher lease rates at $37.38 per square foot.

3. This morning, I noted that the DSA report didn't apply much of a lefty lens on downtown data. That is to say: While the DSA reported that average downtown rent is $1,906 (vs. $1,485 citywide) and the average condo price is $409,500 (vs. $292,500 citywide), they didn't talk about average incomes.

Here's what I found: Nearly 10,000 people, the largest percentage of downtown residents (23 percent), make less than $15,000. However, with 2,000 people making more than $200,000 (5 percent of downtown residents), the average downtown household income is $64,180 and median household income is $40,474.

Data from the city's office of housing data seems to dispel the notion that lower income people aren't living downtown: 36 percent of the city's subsidized housing units—10,814 out of 30,308—are downtown.

4. And here's something else that should be added. From U.S. Census Bureau data: Sixty percent of downtown residents are white.


5. The Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibit had bigger 2013-2014 attendance than the Seattle Art Museum, 400,000 vs. 366,761.

(The top cultural spot was the Seattle Aquarium with 834,526 attendees. Shout out to the arty, free Frye, coming in low on the list, but with a respectable 86,677 visitors.)

"Future Ruins," at the Frye

6. Who knew? Ballet beat out pop when it came to performing arts. Pacific Northwest Ballet/McCaw Hall drew 177,911 attendees vs. The Showbox Market with 140,978 attendees. (The Paramount Theater came in first with 441,432 attendees.)

7. I alluded to this in today's Fizz with the stat that fewer than half (31 percent) of commuters drive downtown alone. But here's more detail: 45 percent take transit, seven percent walk, three percent bike, and nine percent ride share.

8. Only 17 percent of downtown residents are families (a group of two or more people related by birth, marriage or adoption). And only four percent of households have kids.

9. Another stat I'd like to add to the DSA's numbers: They note there is parking for nearly 100,000 vehicles, including nearly 80,000 spots are off-street. 

Here's some more data: More than 6,000 of those off-street parking spots are going unused according to a 2014 SDOT report, for about 75 percent occupancy rate. And the occupancy rate for paid on-street parking in downtown is about 84 percent, within the rate SDOT says people driving cars need to get a spot.

The on-street spots are subsidized by the city too: On-street parking rates are capped at $4 an hour, but the average hourly parking garage cost in downtown Seattle, according to a consultant report done for SDOT late last year, is between $8.30 and $9.30 an hour in the retail and financial core.

"War on Cars," my bike seat!

10. There are 1,146 restaurants, bars, and cafes in downtown Seattle.


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