Investing in Seattle’s Economic Strengths
KEY BUSINESS SECTOR AGENDAS – IMPROVING REGIONAL AND GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS
Seattle's economic competitiveness is bolstered by a strong entrepreneurial ethic, robust manufacturing and maritime base and leading businesses in innovative and creative sectors. These key economic sectors are the foundation from which we derive our growth in jobs and income.
- Manufacturing and Maritime: OED is partnering with King County to develop a regional program to incentivize new, sustainable investment in our industrial sector.
- With King County, we are creating a countywide inventory of industrial firms in the form of a web-based GIS mapping system in order to provide better customer service and facilitate collaborative partnerships.
- OED is cataloging the regulatory issues and constraints that most directly impact the growth of manufacturing and maritime firms.
- Healthcare and Life Sciences: The Mayor has convened stakeholders to identify priorities. Work has begun on the following issues:
- Re-examination of the hazardous materials code to allow for greater flexibility in the development of laboratories in South Lake Union without compromising public safety standards.
- Mapping of opportunities for collaboration among global health organizations and new business opportunities in the global health sector for non-global health companies.
- Construction of a new Seattle City Light substation to accommodate current and future growth in South Lake Union.
- Evaluation of zoning changes in South Lake Union with a focus on additional housing development and to meet the demands of innovative companies.
- Content Technology Initiative: This initiative connects film, music, and interactive media with local technology creators to position Seattle as a leader in digital media.
- Organized monthly networking events attended by over 2,600 business leaders in the content technology industries resulting in at least 20 new business ventures started.
- Established the Seattle Music Commission, which already has several creative economy initiatives underway.
- Recruited 10 new civic partners to the City of Music Initiative.
- Developed capacity of the UmojaFEST P.E.A.C.E. Center to better connect African American youth to entrepreneurial opportunities in the creative economy.
- Energy Efficiency Innovation: Seattle possesses the public, private, and research strengths to capture a large share of demand for new energy efficiency technologies, projected to grow from $300 billion in 2004 to $700 billion in 2030. Collaboration to take advantage of this opportunity has accelerated over the last year.
- Prosperity Partnership completed a regional business plan for developing Seattle's energy efficiency sector, which has been endorsed by the Brookings Institution.
- Supported the launch of the 2030 District, a coalition of downtown building owners committed to creating a high performance building district that will drive significant reduction (ranging from 10% to 60%) in energy and water usage and greenhouse gas emissions in existing and new buildings in Seattle's commercial center by 2030.
- OED, Seattle City Light, the University of Washington, and Microsoft are collaborating in the development of a pilot project to demonstrate and evaluate information technology solutions for achieving energy savings and load balancing across a broad landscape of building types.
- Restaurant / Retail / Hospitality: The Mayor and Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau have convened stakeholders to identify several priorities including public safety, parking, public transit, streetscape improvements, and the activation of public spaces. Work has begun on the following issues:
- Formation of the Seattle Tourism Improvement Area to increase leisure tourism to Seattle by advertising and promoting our city as a premier vacation destination in external markets.
- Submitted an extended liquor service hours proposal as part of the Nightlife Initiative to give businesses greater flexibility to adapt to the market demands of residents and visitors.
- Successfully petitioned the Washington State Liquor Control Board to approve changes that make it easier to open and operate sidewalk cafés that activate public spaces in commercial districts.
- Neighborhood Business Districts: Seattle is envied for the authenticity and vibrancy of its neighborhoods. The City has prioritized helping neighborhoods organize strategically to strengthen their commercial districts.
- The Only in Seattle initiative has invested $1 million and provided staff expertise to help 18 neighborhoods execute strategies for business attraction and retention, marketing and promotion, cleanliness and safety, physical improvements, and organizational capacity building.
- 13 of these neighborhoods are participating in the Only in Seattle marketing campaign that promotes shopping and dining locally and finding the unique hidden gems in our neighborhood business districts. www.onlyinseattle.org
- The City invested $300,000 to assist the business community during the South Park bridge closure, including supporting the Latino businesses along 14th Ave. S. to form a business association and investing in marketing the business district as a unique Seattle neighborhood.
- Partnered with the Alliance for Pioneer Square to develop and execute "Pioneer Square 2015: A Strategy for Seattle's First Neighborhood." Major accomplishments include:
- Passage of the South Downtown rezone legislation to increase residential density.
- Investment of $100,000 to help the Alliance for Pioneer Square develop a retail attraction and retention program and organize promotions and events to draw shoppers to the neighborhood.
- Launch of the community's historic "Trails to Treasure" walking tour assisted by an $85,000 grant from the Neighborhood Matching Fund.
- Partnered with arts organizations on "Storefronts Seattle"- a series of temporary galleries and studios in vacant spaces in Pioneer Square and the Chinatown/ID. The program has showcased more than two dozen local artists since its inception late last year.
- Manufacturing: Solicit "pioneer" industrial development projects that result in increased economic benefit and improved environmental performance within our Manufacturing and Industrial Centers.
- Healthcare and Life Sciences: Complete planning for a new electric substation for South Lake Union.
- Energy Efficiency Innovation: Execute energy efficiency demonstration project.
- Restaurant/Retail/Hospitality: Successfully pass and implement the tourism improvement area.
We have to build on our strengths to help Seattle compete in the global economy.