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Newsletter for May 8, 2009

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Fast Company Names Seattle City of the Year

Fast Company, the national business magazine devoted to innovation and creativity in the marketplace, has named Seattle the 2009 City of the Year. Local novelist Garth Stein praises Seattle for its frontier spirit and ecological leadership. Stein writes, "This is a destination, a meeting place, for creative people. There's something about this area. The weather. The winters. The Mountain. The sense of purpose of those who have settled here. Perhaps all of us who have found this city have, to some degree, aligned our priorities: Innovation is imperative; quality of life is crucial. In Seattle, we have a cornucopia overflowing with both."

Small Business Spotlight: The Crocodile

After months of hard work, Seattle's legendary music venue The Crocodile reopened on March 19th. The Office of Economic Development provided The Crocodile with technical assistance and made sure the club opened on schedule and in compliance with all City guidelines. In a letter to City Council, Crocodile owner Marcus Charles thanked OED and the Office of Film + Music for helping his business navigate city government and for ensuring that businesses can thrive in the Downtown core.

Vulcan Breaks Ground on Latest Phase of South Lake Union Development:

On April 20th, Vulcan Inc. announced that construction is officially underway on's new corporate headquarters in South Lake Union. Governor Chris Gregoire, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, and City Councilmember Jan Drago attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the future site of eleven buildings with 1.7 million square feet of office space and nearly 100,000 square feet of retail space. "'s new headquarters reaffirms that Seattle is a great place to do business. We focused on areas that had growth potential such as Northgate, Columbia City and South Lake Union, and our investments are paying off," said Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. "By investing in transportation and infrastructure, we create jobs, enhance our neighborhoods, and move Seattle forward."

Rolls-Royce Marine Service Center Open for Business

On March 13th, OED and Mayor Nickels were proud to attend the Grand Opening of the new 21,000 square feet Rolls-Royce Marine Service Center at Todd Shipyards in Harbor Island. The Rolls-Royce Global Marine Services Network supplies equipment to local maritime companies and currently has 30 employees in Seattle with plans to hire an additional 10 engineers this year. According to OED's 2009 Maritime Cluster Economic Impact Study, the maritime cluster employed 16,652 individuals and generated $5.6 billion in output in King County in 2007. OED is also currently assisting local shipyards with the Small Shipyards Grant Program applications, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Rainier Valley Community Development Fund (RVCDF) Annual Meeting

Mayor Nickels addressed the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund at their 6th annual meeting on April 16th. In his speech, the Mayor praised RVCDF's work and their success in retaining businesses through construction. The RVCDF then presented their Economic Vitality Awards and the Entrepreneur of the Year Award to three wonderful businesses with success stories. Kate Quinn Organics and Universal Transportation and Translation (UT&T) were awarded the Economic Vitality Awards. Both have received business loans from RVCDF to grow their businesses and create jobs. The owners of UT&T also received mitigation funds for another business and used them to reinvest in their new successful venture. Huarachitos Mexican Taqueria received the Entrepreneur of the Year award for their incredible perseverance in overcoming many obstacles to finally open their business on MLK. Congratulations to all the award recipients, and OED looks forward to RVCDF's continued success!

Welcome Back, Seattle's Farmers Markets!

Spring is here and Seattle's world-famous farmers markets are back! Broadway, Columbia City, Lake City, Magnolia, and Phinney will all reopen in the next few weeks. OED provides technical assistance and funding support for the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance. Support your local farmers and communities and enjoy fresh food this summer!

Squire Park Plaza Now Renting

Squire Park Plaza, a project of the Central Area Development Association (CADA), is now renting after a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 12th. Squire Park Plaza has 59 units of rental housing, of which 31 units are affordable to households below 80% median income, and 11,000 square feet of new retail space. This project signifies the continued renaissance of Jackson Street and will help create a vibrant urban corridor. OED and the City of Seattle invested close to $4 million in Squire Park Plaza. The project also went through Seattle City Light's Built Smart for Affordable Housing program and received an incentive payment for installing energy saving measures beyond the code.

Do You Have a Brilliant Clean Tech Idea?

Enter the Clean Tech Open and compete for more than $1 million in cash and startup services! Early stage clean tech startups are invited to enter the inaugural Pacific Northwest Clean Tech Open! The Clean Tech Open is the planet's leading clean technology business competition offering clean tech innovators the tools, training and connections they need to become tomorrow's viable clean tech businesses. Prizes include startup cash, workshops, and consulting sessions with industry experts. OED is proud to be a sponsor of the Clean Tech Open. Submissions due May 30th.

Getting Employees Across the Lake During the Bridge Closure

I-90 lane closures on the Homer Hadley Bridge (westbound direction) are starting in May! There are options and special offers for 'trans-lake' commuters. Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is offering free Metro vanpool fares or Metro vanshare fees for three months for new commuter van groups starting between May 1st and July 1st.

Washington Has Eight Companies in Fortune 500

Washington state has eight companies listed in the newest ranking of Fortune 500 companies. Costco Wholeshale leads the list at number 24, followed by Microsoft,, Paccar, Weyerhaeuser, Starbucks, Nordstrom, and Expeditors International of Washington. All eight companies are based in the Puget Sound area.

Green Building Tenant Improvements

It's called the Quick Guide to Green Tenant Improvement series, and is a guide that shows users how to do sustainable commercial improvements in a variety of ten topics. The guides are a product of Seattle's Department of Planning and Development's City Green Building team. Each guide includes an overview of a topic, key benefits and strategies, quick facts, a case study, a checklist, additional resources and potential LEED-CI credits.

The Rise of Seattle's High-Tech Cluster, As Told By Madrona Venture Group's Tom Alberg

In the first part of Xcomony's interview, venture capitalist Tom Alberg touches on the early days of his career as a lawyer at Perkins Coie in the late '60s, his later stints as president of LIN Broadcasting and executive vice president of McCaw Cellular, and the birth of Madrona in the mid '90s. Along the way, he built notable relationships with leaders in wireless, medical devices, and e-commerce-people like Craig McCaw, Jeff Bezos, and Gordon Kuenster of ATL (and more recently, Asemblon). The story of Alberg's career and his observations from the local scene gives people a deeper understanding of Seattle-area innovation and Madrona's role in the business community.

Office of Economic Development Seeking Intern

The City of Seattle's Office of Economic Development seeks a part or full-time communications intern. This position requires a minimum six-month commitment starting at the end of May and 20 - 40 hours a week. The ideal candidate will have strong reading comprehension, writing skills, and organizational/research skills, as well as being self motivated and independent. Applicants should also be familiar with writing blogs, newsletters, and using basic HTML. Send a brief letter of interest, a resume, and three work or volunteer related references by email to Deadline for applications is May 13th, 2009 for a start date at the end of May.


Greater Seattle Chamber Tradeshow

Gain a competitive edge in the marketplace at the region's biggest and best business-to-business tradeshow! Attend the Chamber Annual Tradeshow on May 12th at Qwest Field where you can browse exhibitors' displays and network to build those important B2B relationships. The tradeshow is an evening networking event where exhibitors provide detailed displays of their products and services. This year's event promises to build on the success of the 2008 show which had over 1,500 attendees and 150 exhibitors. Register for the Tradeshow today!

Tourism Needs Your Support!

Hotels and meeting facilities, attractions, restaurants, cultural institutions, tour companies and transportation providers are among the local businesses greatly impacted by travel to Washington State. The tourism industry here employs 149,900 people, generates total direct visitor spending of $15.8 billion and generates $1 billion in state and local tax revenue. Join the Tourism Matters Rally on May 12th in Westlake Park at noon to celebrate the first anniversary of the Why Tourism Matters campaign, which was developed in Seattle and now shared in concept throughout the state and nation. Seattle's first Tourism Ambassador of the Year will also be announced at the event!