Anyone who has stepped foot near’s new headquarters in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood can feel the change happening around them. Perhaps no neighborhood in the city is undergoing such a radical overhaul.

And now Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is touting that growth, saying that the redevelopment of the once gritty neighborhood is adding jobs, housing and new opportunities to the city. McGinn, along with Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin, today released a report titled Public & Private Investments in South Lake Union.

McGinn claims that South Lake Union – where moved from its longtime Beacon Hill headquarters last year — has been an “engine for job growth and new housing, helping Seattle recover from the recession.”

According to the report, South Lake Union currently has about 23,000 jobs and more than 12.5 million in new real estate developments have been added since 1995.  And that means more money for the city.  Between 2000 and 2011 development in the South Lake Union accounted for over $155 million of the City of Seattle’s revenues, with estimates of an additional $356 million in revenues between 2012 and 2022, according to the report.

Meanwhile, new rezoning proposals could help support up to 22,000 additional jobs in the neighborhood and 12,000 new households.

Conlin added in a press release continued:

“I was initially skeptical about some of the grand plans to transform South Lake Union into a regional public health/technology powerhouse.  But the numbers demonstrate that targeted public investments and forward-thinking policy decisions actually did make a tremendous difference in shaping the future of that neighborhood. The lessons learned about how our early actions primed the pump for job growth and economic prosperity will inform our consideration of the proposed South Lake Union rezone legislation and other infrastructure investments in the neighborhood.”

Here’s a full copy of the report:

SLU Public PrivateReport

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  • Jasper

    Thank you, Mayor McGinn, for turning a derelict warehouse district into a delectable destination neighborhood! Seattle is growing smartly and swiftly into the future.

  • Fuego

    Here I thought Paul Allen and his Vulcan Group was doing all the re-development of South Lake Union only to find out it was McGinn all along.

  • Dan

    Great for SLU, not so much for Beacon Hill.

  • Yobie

    nobody cares about the 400ft behemoth buildings that will close off Lake Union?
    Hurray for Mayor McGinn climbing into bed with Vulcan, seriously I feel like I’m
    taking crazy pills. Anyone who thinks McGinn’s rezoning proposal is a good
    think is kidding themselves, or is someone paid to post positive comments on
    message boards and blogs across Seattle.

    • Kringle

      “Close off Lake Union”? From what, the parking lot of Cornish? These buildings form a sort of stadium with the tallest buildings furthest back from the lake. Except for the transients who live outside the sobering center on Fairview, no one is losing their view.

      • Yobie

        Right, and the Sonics weren’t going anywhere. Don’t be so naive.

        • Kringle

          No, the Sonics went to Oklahoma City. We’re bringing them back, though, to a new arena in SoDo.

          But to bring it back on the topic, all the plans to develop SLU are on the web. Have you read them? They’re pretty clear on what heights can be built where.

          • Yobie

            I like you optimism on the Sonics, but I’m not going to hold my breath. As for the zoning, it allows for buildings ranging from 65ft – 240ft between the Mercer and Valley St. block seems rather high to me. The zoning calls not to block off view points, which is good, but I’m just not convinced this is going to be a good thing for Seattle.

          • Guest

            Hey, if you want to build a 200-foot building next to a major interstate highway, that’s fine by me. If nothing else, it will create lots of demand for window washers.

          • Yobie


      • Yobie

        Right, and the Sonics weren’t going
        anywhere. Don’t be so naive.

  • Joe d’Coder

    McGinn, didn’t he paint some bike lanes in SLU? Sheesh, that whole thing happened because McGinn wasn’t looking. Why do these idiot politicians has to try and claim credit for other’s work. Next thing you know, he’ll be saying he invented the internet.

  • SeattleThinks

    My personal opinion is: good job. Why? Because Seattle’s planning must be supported by big industry. It must create a new infrastructure that integrates a more modern way of using space…pre-existing space…to include residences,businesses, and leisure space.

    When I first moved to Seattle in ’96 (from Washington D.C.) I had hopes that this city was the progressive community that was going to be a model society for the rest of the country. How deluded was I? I watched Portland far surpass Seattle with it’s transit, forward thinking city planning (Pearl District…nice), environmental foresight, free parking for scooters and for motorcycles (Seattle gives you a ticket for parking your two wheeled vehicle on the “planting strip” give me a break.

    So when I see this plan, I think to myself…it’s about time.

    Oh, and say no to the “Sonics” returning to Seattle. IF we wanted them, we should have kept them,and the last thing SoDo needs is another stadium.

    • Liam

      What made you think that Seattle was a “progressive community”? We don’t invest in education, we tax the poor most with our onerous sales taxes and no income taxes, and we have virtually no public transport.

      To the contrary, Seattle excels as a haven for business precisely because it is not progressive. Can you imagine the brain drain if we were to suddenly punish people for earning too much money?

      • SeattleThinks

        I suppose it was the people I imagined lived here… what with Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks, Amazon, and others… I imagined that the people living in and around Seattle would be the well spring for progression. That coupled with how green Seattle touted itself to be.

        • Mesmer

          We talk a good game, but actions speak louder than bumper stickers. Seattle is deeply regressive and her people are quite reluctant to change.

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