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Real Estate

Brian Miller
Real Estate Editor
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May 25, 2023

On the Block: How to combat work-from-home and save downtown? Shorten the commute

Commuting is essentially a real estate problem; that's how we ought to think of it now, post-pandemic. Instead of leaving the commute to transit engineers at SDOT, WSDOT and Sound Transit, it's downtown building owners and developers who urgently need to address the problem. Only then can they save their skins.

Work-from-home is here to stay, obviously, but not all former cubicle rats will remain forever on their couches, with laptops glued to knees. Hybrid work, exemplified by Amazon's new three-day office mandate, is also now permanent in our changed workscape. All of which has led to a jaw-dropping surge in vacancy rates and decline in actual occupancy rates, as has been exhaustively documented. (I'm trying to keep this column free from those dismal numbers.) The sublease market and number of expiring leases are truly frightening.

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