Industrial Maritime Study

What’s Happening Now?

Mayor Durkan is convening an industrial lands stakeholder group to guide development of strategies to ensure a strong industrial and maritime sector now and in the future.

Goals

  • Use the power of local workers and companies to chart a blueprint for the future
  • Strengthen and grows Seattle's industrial and maritime sectors
  • Promote equitable access to family-wage jobs through an inclusive industrial economy and ladders of economic opportunity
  • Improve the movement of people and goods to and within industrial zones and increases safety for all travel modes
  • Align Seattle's industrial and maritime strategy with key climate and environmental protection goals
  • Develop a proactive land use policy agenda that harnesses growth and economic opportunities to ensure innovation and industrial jobs are a robust part of our future economy

Seattle's Industrial and Maritime Strategy

The maritime and manufacturing activities supported by the City's industrial lands have long benefitted Seattle by contributing to the City's identity, supporting family-wage jobs, and promoting economic diversity. From the cranes and container terminals that mark the Port of Seattle, to the warehouses and manufacturing facilities within the Duwamish Manufacturing Industrial Center, shipping, fishing, and manufacturing continue to support our economic success as a City.

Both the manufacturing and maritime sectors are a critical source of middle-wage jobs, which are one of the cornerstones of a thriving and livable city. There are approximately 106,000 current industrial jobs in Seattle, representing 18% of total employment in the city and 67% of Seattle's industrial jobs require only a high school diploma or no formal education credential. Yet, in maritime industry clusters like fishing or water transportation, average earnings per worker are over $100,000 a year.

Currently, the City's industrial areas are undergoing positive economic developments, illustrated by growth rates in industrial rents that were the highest in the world between 2016 and 2017. Economic development in the city, however, supports average rental rates for commercial space that are about three times higher than for industrial space, which continues to create significant economic pressures to rezone industrial lands for other uses.

The City is also experiencing several catalysts for further change, including the Port of Seattle's plans to redevelop Terminal 46 as a cruise ship berth that will be capable of holding the world's largest cruise ships; a proposal for creating a Stadium District with a mix of uses, including housing and hotels; Sound Transit's development of new light rail stations in Ballard, Interbay, and SODO that will support transit-orientated development in the areas; the State's plans for the sale of the armory site in Interbay; and new industrial development that is taking place in non-traditional, vertical development. All of this is occurring while impacts of climate change accelerate, with the City's industrial areas facing acute risk from rising sea levels, increased floods, and extreme heat.

Seattle is committed to building a strong and diverse economy by improving our position as a gateway for global trade and increasing family-wage jobs in the maritime and manufacturing sectors. The City's existing policies establish strong protections for areas of the city that currently accommodate industrial and maritime uses. It has, however, been over a decade since the City updated its industrial land use policies, and there is an opportunity to build a comprehensive strategy to strengthen and grow Seattle's industrial and maritime sectors for the future. In order to advance those efforts, the City will engage with communities and stakeholders and produce updated economic and technical analyses built on the latest data on industrial trends and forecasts, all of which will be used to inform an Industrial and Maritime Strategy that will be released in Summer 2020.

Get Involved

For more information, please email Geoff Wentlandt at Geoffrey.Wentlandt@seattle.gov.

Previous Plans & Studies

Industrial Lands Studies

Seattle’s Industrial Lands:

Stakeholder Advisory Group

A group of diverse stakeholders advised us throughout the study. We have also met with industry and community groups to discuss any recommendations.

Project Timeline