A couple of neighborhoods have seen significant changes in the past year or so. Lots of new development, lots of changes in the atmosphere. In particular, Ballard and West Seattle have seen tremendous upscale in the fit in finish of the area. It is pretty interesting to witness the chicken and the egg appearing nearly simultaneously, especially when changes in real estate take years of planning.
There are about 1,500 new residences in the area and many exciting new restaurants and upscale retail. The old Ballard, the conservative Scandinavian influenced area, is nearly gone from view now. Rents on new construction are some of the highest in Seattle now and the product being offered in excellent, appealing to the upscale renter who previously did not select Ballard as a top choice neighborhood.
After about two decades of little or no new units in the area there is construction activity on nearly all corners now, much of it being done by the region’s biggest developers. Over the past 5 years West Seattle has undergone a significant upgrade in the quality of retail and dining which has attracted many new residents to this area that previously was unknown to “outsiders.” The retail core now seems to be anchored by the best bakery in Seattle, which has spawned very hip new dining spots and retailers. This has furthered the appeal of the area which has caused many more new people to move into the area which has caused the success of the new places to continue which has caused more new places, etc.
What I see is that these two neighborhoods are now very hip areas to live and can command rents to match desire if the product is there. Most of the old landlords are not providing the product therefore they are not getting the premium tenants and rents but those that do are. Once again if you build it they will come. This time though, once they are there they attract more of their kind: high style, high rent, and active consumers. Makes sense to me.
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