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4 Emergency Conversation Starters

4 Emergency Conversation Starters
There's only 16 hours before our Second Annual State of the Market event at the W Hotel. If your normal icebreakers just aren't cutting it during the networking, here are a few possible topics of discussion. (Of course, first you have to sign up to attend.)
Vulcan VP Ada Healey at the South Lake Union Discovery Center.
Is the amount of multifamily being built in Seattle too big, too small, or just right? It's one of two big questions in the Seattle market (what color to paint the top of the Space Needle next was resolved last week). Time will tell, but Vulcan VP Ada Healey declares herself not as concerned as some: "There is a lot of buzz about oversupply in the apartment market," Ada tells us. She also points to an "unprecedented" lack of new product in recent years and tremendous pent-up demand. "Even during the recession and at a time of job losses, we had positive absorption in the apartment market. So the combination of pent-up demand, job growth and in migration has me less worried than others."
The Supply Laundry building in South Lake Union.
Side note: If aliens had landed in South Lake Union four years ago, departed, and then landed again in the same place last week, they would not have recognized the territory. The Amazon-driven area continues to be a center of development—and demand—for multifamily and office. Ada notes that Vulcan's properties are seeing occupancy rates in the high 90 percentile range, even as rents rise by double digits. Above, one of the few things the aliens might find familiar—the historic Supply Laundry building on Republican, which is currently at the cleaners (a bad joke, even for us) as Vulcan rehabs it, part of the ongoing neighborhood transformation.
Touchstone Development VP A-P Hurd at Bisnow's first State of the Seattle Market event last November.
We asked Touchstone Development VP A-P Hurd (snapped here at last year's State of the Seattle Market) what needed to happen to assure continued growth and prosperity. "Continue to import talent. The jobs will follow," says A-P. How to do that? "Regional mobility is crucial. That means we have to put jobs and people where we have made mobility-infrastructure investments (namely light rail and bus corridors)."
A rendering of what South Lake Union could look like if the city re-zones to allow taller buildings in the area.
A-P also sees rezoning of South Lake Union (read: the city allowing taller buildings, as shown in this hypothetical image from studio/216 for NBBJ) as a must-do. "If an unwieldy land use process damages our ability to accommodate growth in infrastructure-rich areas near our downtown core, that is not a good thing for our market," she adds.
BNBuilders Business Development Manager Jim Charpentier in Seattle.
BNBuilders biz dev director Jim Charpentier concedes that Seattle can be an expensive place to do business, which may drive entrepreneurs to places like—gasp—Portland. "Through government, Seattle needs to foster the development of new businesses and entrepreneurial businesses," Jim says. "By lowering the cost of doing business in Seattle, we will see more and more startups call us home." Jim tells us he'd also like to see Seattle grow in the life science industry, with a goal of being on the same level as the Bay Area and Boston. (Funny, we just read the exact same statement recently concerning the Mariners.)