In the Seattle region, huge private investments–think Microsoft and Amazon–were behind the previous construction boom. These days, building is still going strong but, as in much of the country, civic works are the primary driver of the action.
Infrastructure and Manufacturing
The presence of cranes in the Seattle skyline says a lot, and although private construction in the region has slowed, new cranes were added in the third quarter of 2023. In fact, the region’s seen a 21% increase in cranes year-over year. Seattle’s impetus for action, as in many regions currently, is infrastructure and manufacturing: “construction volume for these sectors is predicted to grow 10.4% and 8.3% year-over-year, respectively. Money is flowing into public works like the $10 billion Sound Transit Light Rail project. Other infrastructure jobs include the Seattle Tacoma International Airport’s $1.5 billion concourse renovation.”
Ambitious airport construction in Seattle reflects the city’s forward thinking–and stringent Sustainable Project Framework. The airport build, among other features, includes rooftop photovoltaics and solar panels designed to contribute to clean energy. Of course the region’s focus on the environment is also evident in the recently completed Climate Pledge Arena, where fans of the Kraken hockey team can even contribute to the collection of rainwater for use in the production of ice.
Despite the current buzz around civic works in Seattle, experts do anticipate a decline in overall construction, as residential construction falls. Nonetheless, predictions are afloat that building for the next wave of tech innovation “will come rushing back,” as the emergence of artificial intelligence will generate demand for new offices, labs and test facilities.
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