At the start of 2020, downtown Seattle was emerging from two decades of record growth and investment, outperforming almost every major urban core in the country.
When the pandemic hit, tens of thousands of employees left to work from home, numerous downtown businesses permanently closed, and our once-vibrant arts, entertainment, tourism and hospitality sectors shuttered. Since then, downtown Seattle has begun to bounce back as it has from other downturns throughout its storied history.
Today, our urban core is home to more residents than ever before, and visitor foot traffic in the summer and fall of 2021 approached 2019 levels. Nearly 170 new street-level businesses opened downtown in the past 12 months, including nearly 70 restaurants and 30 new retail shops. We anticipate the return of more major employers to the office in 2022, which is essential to our economic vitality. At the same time, there are a record number of people living unsheltered downtown, and certain neighborhoods are experiencing unprecedented retail theft and violent crime, much of it fueled by untreated mental health and substance use.
At DSA, we believe that it’s going to take all of us working together — businesses, nonprofits, residents and the public sector — to respond to these challenges and shape a healthy downtown going forward. We also believe that a thriving and vibrant downtown is critical to the health of our city and entire region. Downtowns bring people together to foster and nurture innovation, community and culture.
As we focus on recovery and renewal, DSA is committed to a new vision for our center city, where everyone feels that they belong and has an opportunity to participate and share in the prosperity. The downtowns that rebuild in this way will be more dynamic, desirable, inclusive and resilient.
Whether you’re a longtime DSA member, potential investor or exploring the benefits of DSA membership, we invite you to join us as we reimagine downtown Seattle together.
President & CEO
Downtown Seattle Association