Just a year ago, downtown Seattle was firing on all cylinders. We ended the prior decade with record growth, outperforming almost every major city in the country on development, job and population growth.
Since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve seen dozens of downtown businesses permanently close, and our arts, entertainment, tourism and hospitality sectors devastated. Indeed, downtowns across the world and the country have a unique and daunting set of challenges as we emerge from this historic event.
The recovery of our downtown is critical to the economic future of our entire city; to our robust tax base and quality of life; to our ability to invest in infrastructure; and to provide opportunity for the next generation.
The good news is that we are building back from a very strong base. We have some of the most innovative private sector leaders in the world, one of the largest downtown residential populations in the country, and we’re making generational investments in our city. We’ve seen hard times before. Each time downtown Seattle has faced challenges — whether it be the Great Fire of 1889, the 1950s-’60s flight to the suburbs, or the collapse of the retail core in the early 1990s — we emerged stronger.
That Seattle spirit is already at work. Many restaurants, retailers and nonprofits have creatively shifted their business models during the past year. In the first week of 2021, there were roughly a dozen announcements of new business openings downtown and approximately 90 new business announcements in 2020.
As we recover, we’re committed to embracing a new vision for the center of our city, where everyone feels that they belong and everyone has an opportunity to participate and share in the prosperity. The downtowns that rebuild in this way will be more dynamic, desirable 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 reshape and reengerize this downtown into an even better version of the one we knew in March 2020.
President & CEO
Downtown Seattle Association