FutureCast Forum Members & RSIR Brokers Attend BISNOW’s Multifamily Panel

Three Panels Lead Engaging Conversation Around Seattle's Multifamily Industry and its Future

As our city skyline is scattered with cranes, BISNOW hosted nearly 200 registered members to discuss Seattle’s multifamily climate; specifically, its affordability, sustainability, and community design. Held at the Westin Seattle, three panels spanned a variety of topics, all relevant as the city experiences unprecedented population growth, construction costs, and housing demand.

Richard Mitchell (Miller, Nash, Graham & Dunn LLP) moderated the first panel consisting of Maria Barrientos (barrientos RYAN) and Jaebadiah Gardner (GardnerGlobal, Inc.) focused on the affordability of housing in Seattle and how to tackle the issue with rising construction costs. The panel opened by turning the conversation to the audience, requesting their questions and thoughts around the issues and solutions. Through the collaborative discussion, the group brainstormed around maximizing the density of development sites through upzoning throughout the city.

The first panel facilitated a group think with the audience to discuss issues surrounding affordability and rising construction costs.

The first panel facilitated a group think with the audience to discuss issues surrounding affordability and rising construction costs.

“We can’t control the market and we don’t think we should,” added Jaebadiah Gardner, Founder & CEO, GarnderGlobal, Inc. “We can encourage home ownership in higher density throughout areas where we need it most.”

The panel voiced their support for projects that follow the Housing Affordability and Living Agenda. One such project, KODA Condominiums, which is anticipating its participation in the HALA-recommended rezones to exchange mandatory housing affordability for extra height, in which a fee is paid that will contribute to affordable housing elsewhere. Da-Li Development plans to have more than 200 condominiums on the northwest corner of South Main Street and Fifth Avenue South, in the heart of Japantown, with KODA Condominiums.

Proposed rendering for KODA Condominiums, located at 450 South Main Street, a 200+ unit project with estimated delivery in mid-2020. 

Proposed rendering for KODA Condominiums, located at 450 South Main Street, a 200+ unit project with estimated delivery in mid-2020. 

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“I believe KODA Condominiums will be the next available and attainable offering, benefiting from an efficient design review response process and aggressive schedule to complete design and construction, with hopes of delivering in mid-2020,” added Richard Jee, representative of Da-Li Development. “There is a potential that our homes are attainably priced for the market, that they might even quality as affordable, but I don’t have that algorithm yet, so it’s hard to tell.”

Richard Jee of Da-Li Development (left), Whitney Heffernan (RSIR), and Dehlan Gwo (RSIR) represented KODA Condominiums, NEXUS Seattle, and the FutureCast Forum at the Bisnow Multifamily event.

Richard Jee of Da-Li Development (left), Whitney Heffernan (RSIR), and Dehlan Gwo (RSIR) represented KODA Condominiums, NEXUS Seattle, and the FutureCast Forum at the Bisnow Multifamily event.

Patti Southard (Green Tools) moderated the second panel, which took a deep-dive into the examination of the economic viability of high-performance residential space. As the city experiences the demand for denser housing, Stacy Smedley (SKANSKA USA) Tim Weyand (NK Architects), and Joel Sisolak (Capitol Hill Housing) explored how to achieve green developments and incorporating sustainability into design. The panel provided colorful and passionate discussion around the importance of implementing change, so the city does not fall victim to the consequences decades from now.

The event’s final panel featured a variety of experts across all aspects of multifamily development and living, moderated by Mike Ballard (Ascent Multifamily Accounting). Scé Pike led the discussion around the role of technology in creating a community in multifamily buildings, as she serves as the CEO & Founder of IOTAS, a smart apartment hardware and software technology company. IOTAS assists the multifamily housing industry increase revenue, save costs, gather insight, and monetize data from their portfolios, while remaining proponents of privacy advocacy.

The final panel outlined trends in multifamily development and living.

The final panel outlined trends in multifamily development and living.

Pike referenced her work with Burrard Group as a prime example of how technology is shaping the design of cutting-edge and innovate condominium buildings like NEXUS. “There is a lot of data around how you can actually bring people together in these buildings to create communities and how spaces are being used,” Pike commented.

Pike works with builders and developers to provide data on how residents use the space they are given. For example, IOTAS examines how often residents are using appliances in their kitchens. If they are only turning on the oven once a month, do they need an expansive kitchen with an expensive stove?

“The multifamily housing industry owns the millennial and empty nester demographics, which are the two largest pools of buying power right now,” said Pike.

With the overall focus around the need for ownership opportunities within Seattle, projects like NEXUS and KODA Condominiums remain as the much-needed solution for condominium demand. A demand that remains top-of-mind for residents across the Puget Sound.

The FutureCast Forum continues to examine the topic at their monthly forums, specifically founding member Brian O’Connor, Principal of O’Connor Consulting Group. O’Connor, at his most recent panel discussion on October 24, highlighted the growing need for inventory, as he predicts apartment demand will start to decline while the desire for ownership will continue to trend upwards. O’Connor continued with compelling statistics on historical and projected housing cycles, offering a macroeconomic overview of the recent population growth.

The FutureCast Forum is a collaborative of independent opinion leaders who explore current and projected market fundamentals that are materially influencing the Seattle/Bellevue metro area. Founding members and guest columnist provide timely insights on the state of the economy; commercial, residential, and retail development; evolving demographics; wealth management considerations; government policies; lifestyle trends and international interests that are reshaping our skyline into a global city on the rise. For more information, visit Seattlein2020.com.