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Encouraging Gen Y to Live Downtown
May 15, 2013

What Gen Y
Wants Downtown

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The first generation of post-recession properties are coming online, offering a glimpse into the space young professional renters expect. (A Snooki in every garage....is that something they say?)

It's not enough to provide living space. New renters want a built-in environment that promotes community, according to this panel at the CREW Seattle and Sound luncheon: Pine Street Group principal Matt Rosauer, Tom Douglas Restaurants CEO and CVO (chief vegetable officer) Pamela Hinckley, Lease Crutcher Lewis project executive Bill Gormley, and GGLO senior associate Steve Nordlund. Favored amenities include a fitness center, rooftop gardens, entertainment space, and bicycle storage. (We really missed the boat by learning to rollerblade instead of bike.)

The "vertical neighborhood" of Via6 at Sixth & Lonora proves renters are also attracted by more unusual amenities, such as its dog-friendly details, including dog relief and wash areas. Restaurateur Tom Douglas is launching four new concepts at Via6, including Home Remedy, his take on an urban market. The property is targeting LEED Gold and Walkscore.com has already awarded it a score of 100 out of 100. (The only place 100 isn't the perfect score is a golf course.)

GID Seattle Pedestrian Level-page-001
Boston-based GID Development Group expects demand to be sustained long enough to benefit 2030 Eighth Ave, the 355-unit apartment tower it broke ground on recently. Why Seattle? GID Development Group prez James Linsley tells us that Seattle has the right mix of growth dynamic and strong employment, as well as an educated workforce that's a bit on the young side. And it doesn't hurt that the project is across the street from Amazon's under way 3.3M SF campus. "Our project is located at the convergence of the city's office, retail, restaurant, and entertainment core, and the South Lake Union area, which is booming," James says.

Urbanism Without Effort

Snapped at a recent ULI book reading: ULI Northwest executive director Kelly Mann, attorney Chuck Wolfe, GGLO managing principal Jeff Foster, and Legacy Partners senior managing director Kerry Nicholson. The book was Chuck's Urbanism Without Effort, which describes how city dwellers themselves often create the fabric of a city—which urban planners call "urbanism" and hold in high esteem these days—without government intervention. And often without a thought about the theories of urban planners. (Take that, Sir Ebenezer Howard!)

"We focus too literally on prepackaged approaches first," Chuck tells us, and all their complexities: economic and population specifics, transit modes, building appearance. "It's critical to first isolate spontaneous and historic examples of successful urban land use—with people in mind," he says. Oddly enough—at least from the standard perspective of planners—that comes before applying any plans or governmental initiative. Find out what's on the ground before going in, in other words.

Bill Clinton Approves McKinstry Retrofit

Mark Glass, Tom Bowen, President Clinton
Bellingham-based McKinstry began work recently on the green retrofit of AFL-CIO HQ in DC—installing new windows and lighting system. (Everybody's eyes thanked them.) The building system improvements are a step in the labor organization's efforts to green its property, stemming from a Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in June 2011. Pictured are McKinstry's Mark Glass and Tom Bowen, and President Bill Clinton at the recent kick-off. McKinstry notes that the HQ's efficiency will increase by 20%, saving more than $125k per year in utilities.

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