The Seattle Metro Area Ranked High Among of the 30 Largest Metro Areas in Smart Growth America/LOCUS Report “Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros”

Cairncross & Hempelmann attorney John Hempelmann, a member of the National Steering Committee of LOCUS, led panelists at the 2019 LOCUS Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., to announce the release of Smart Growth America/LOCUS’s “Foot Traffic Ahead 2019” report which ranks the 30 largest metros in the United States based on the percentage of office, retail, and rental multi-family space each has in their walkable urban places.

The report was released and explained by Chris Leinberger, Research Professor and Chair of the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at the George Washington University School of Business, and deliberated at great length with Calvin Gladney, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, and Doug Ressler, Research and Business Intelligence Manager at Yardi Matrix.

The report found that Seattle ranked No. 8 with a total of 26 walk-ups among the largest metro areas on the percentage of walkable urban real estate for income properties – office, retail and multi-family. Mr. Hempelmann adds, “The Seattle Metro area will climb rapidly in the rankings when Sound Transit adds more Link Light Rail stations and expands express buses and commuter rail.”

This research, conducted by Smart Growth America in conjunction with The George Washington University’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis, identifies walkable urban places (or “WalkUPs”) in the nation’s largest metro areas and ranks the top 30 based on their current and future commercial real estate metrics as well as social equity. This report will show who’s winning, who’s in transition, and who’s lagging behind in the race towards capturing the market demand for walkable neighborhoods.

As part of the Transit Oriented Development Group at Cairncross & Hempelmann and as the former Chair of the Urban Land Institute national TOD Council, Mr. Hempelmann works on numerous walkable urban projects in the Seattle Region.  He said, “The new report on walkable urban places, “Foot Traffic Ahead 2019,” confirms what we are seeing in the Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma and other Central Puget Sound markets. There is a high demand for offices and homes people can access without commuting by automobile. Thus, both for-rent and for-sale commercial and residence products demand a premium per square foot. More and more people are living and working in the same neighborhoods and that trend is certain to continue. One of the keys is to make certain that these opportunities are available to everyone in every income group.”

Joe Ferguson of Seattle’s Lake Union Partners, a development company focusing on walkable urban projects, hailed the Report. Mr. Ferguson said, “We are building new projects that are walkable and close to new Sound Transit Light Rail Stations. For example, our Grand Street Commons project on Rainier Avenue will be just a few blocks from the new Judkins Park Station and we are emphasizing its walkable, transit-oriented values.”

Smart Growth America is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that works with local city agencies, real estate investors, departments of transportation, and economic development agencies to identify long-term goals around urban planning and growth in expanding urban areas.