Wednesday, February 8, 2023
HomeProperty InsuranceProgress of Secondary Workplace Submarkets in Seattle and Washington D.C. – Cornell...

Progress of Secondary Workplace Submarkets in Seattle and Washington D.C. – Cornell Actual Property Overview

Central Enterprise Districts (CBD) submarkets have traditionally been a sought-after workplace and retail asset marketplace for worldwide and native companies.  The focus of economic exercise, individuals, and accessibility within the submarket incentivizes companies to relocate and make the most of clustering and agglomeration economies.  CBDs usually function a metropolis’s monetary or enterprise district, making them an space of prime significance, and driving exceptionally excessive workplace, retail, and residential rents in comparison with different submarkets. [i]

Nonetheless, there’s notable proof from current studies that secondary submarket places of work are experiencing important progress in workplace stock and gross sales quantity, anticipated to outpace that of CBD submarkets.  Secondary submarkets are outlined areas inside a broader market or metropolis, sometimes extra suburban and characterised by much less density and bigger residential communities in comparison with a CBD.  The upward development of the secondary markets’ demand precipitated workplace rents to be at par with that of the standard metropolitan workplace neighborhood.  This nationwide shift in demand was reported as early as 2011 and accelerated in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, speculatively attributable to tenant choice modifications, hybrid work schedules, and workplace house expansions.  This text opinions historic workplace actual property leasing and transaction traits in prevalent CBDs and secondary submarkets, and analyzes potential drivers of this shift.


Determine 1: Downtown Seattle                                                     Determine 2: Belltown/Denny Regrade[ii]

Seattle, Washington

Seattle Workplace Market Key IndicatorsCBD [iii] [iv] [v] Belltown/Denny Regrade [vi] [vii]
Present Market Lease (Class A)$47.70


Yr-over-Yr (YOY) Lease Progress0.2%


Historic Lease Progress1.3%


Forecasted Common Lease Progress2.6%


Historic Emptiness (YOY)10.8%


Forecasted Common Emptiness (YOY)16.7%


Whole Asset Worth$23.6 B


$7.8 B
Market Cap Fee5.1%


Sale Quantity (12 Month)$2.2B


Delivered Sq. Ft (Previous 8Q)1,059,657



Desk 1: Seattle CBD & Belltown/Denny Regrade Workplace Market Key Indicators

In 2019, Seattle CBD noticed a peak in workplace gross sales quantity, with different space submarkets following go well with in Q1 2020.[viii]  This circulation of capital into the workplace asset market resulted in Seattle’s general compressed cap fee and a wave of growth in all submarkets throughout that interval.  Apart from the CBD, one of many strongest performing submarkets within the metropolis is Belltown/Denny Regrade.  Belltown/Denny Regrade is a culturally important and classy district situated simply north of the CBD district.  The submarket is understood to be bustling with actions and is house to prosperous residential residents, upscale eating places, artwork galleries, and nightclubs.[ix]  The submarket has notably been making traditionally excessive gross sales quantity previously couple of years.  The surge in gross sales quantity could possibly be linked to Amazon’s energetic presence within the submarket since 2012, famous by their massive workplace house presence and growth exercise to increase and relocate their places of work on this area.[x]  Now, the agency is dominating the submarket with a complete of 5 million sq. toes of workplace house, influencing different companies to relocate into the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic, nonetheless, left an enduring and lingering influence on town’s general workplace market which swiftly halted town’s progress.  The beforehand wholesome actual property market was left in a distressed situation for the remainder of 2020, with a big oversupply of workplace house and rather more beneath building.  Though there are indicators of a rebound in 2021 and 2022, the restoration lags because of the abundance of workplace house stock, particularly for the Seattle CBD submarket.  Belltown/Denny Regrade was additionally closely impacted by the pandemic, declining the YOY lease progress to 0.1%, down from the 10-year common of 4.3%.  However, this submarket is anticipated to get better to YOY lease progress of two.6% in 2022, much like Seattle CBD.  This secondary workplace submarket can be forecasted to have an elevated common emptiness fee of 10.1%, nonetheless, nonetheless 6.6% decrease than the CBD projected emptiness fee.

The submarket’s anticipated regular restoration is due partly to firms’ preferences to be inside proximity of Amazon, in addition to rising demand for city areas nearer to high-end residences.  The rise in demand is influenced by the migration of youthful employees to mixed-use high-end residential areas, as they pursue a live-work-play setting amidst the hybrid work tradition.  Firms now are incentivized to relocate nearer to those demographics in an effort to entice extra high-skilled employees into their companies.  Relocating additionally has the additional benefit of having fun with decrease rents in newer and well-amenitized workplace properties.

          Determine 3: Downtown Washington D.C.    [xi]                                                     Determine 4: NoMa[xii]


Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. Workplace Market Key IndicatorsCBD[xiii][xiv] NoMa[xv][xvi]
Present Market Lease (Class A)$54.81


YOY Lease Progress-0.2%


Historic Lease Progress2.2%


Forecasted Common Lease Progress2.7%


Historic Emptiness (YOY)9.1%


Forecasted Common Emptiness (YOY)16.0%


Whole Asset Worth$26.6 B


$6.6 B
Market Cap Fee5.8%


Sale Quantity (12 Month)$484.2M



Desk 2: Washington D.C. CBD & NoMa Workplace Market Key Indicators

Traditionally, Washington D.C.’s CBD has persistently been a sought-after trophy workplace house, boasting roughly 50 million SF of workplace house with a complete asset worth of $26.6 B.  The submarket has all the time had premium workplace rents attributable to its unmatched location, but in addition presents ample reasonably priced workplace choices, making it a pretty market for a lot of companies.  Nonetheless, this submarket is among the hardest hit by the pandemic, making historic adverse web absorption and just about no transactions for the primary half of 2021.  The restoration outlook for this market is anticipated to be sluggish and tough, as studies present slowdowns in leasing, poor web absorption, and an increase in emptiness fee.

The supply of the sluggish restoration might be attributed to the getting old workplace inventories within the submarket.  With greater than half of the prevailing workplace areas constructed previous to 1980, the facilities and specs of those older property don’t meet the wants of potential tenants and buyers.  The leasing panorama at this time requires newer workplace layouts with the flexibleness to include a hybrid workspace, help work-life stability, entry to know-how, and plenty of different components.  The inflexible construction of the getting old workplace areas within the CBD, coupled with the excessive lease (highest charges available in the market), permits different areas to outcompete the CBD within the workplace market house.  Not solely that, with massive current workplace property and incoming stock from different submarkets, the CBD is constantly affected by workplace oversupply, stagnant demand, and declining occupancy. [xvii]   The CBD is now in a predicament as they decide whether or not to develop new places of work within the midst of potential oversupply, in addition to rising uncertainty of their capability to compete with workplace property in different submarkets, that are well-amenitized with decrease rents.

Workplace tenant prospects now examine different submarkets to relocate and increase to.  Many articles have reported capital circulation into Bethesda, East Finish, Tysons Nook, and Reston, with NoMa taking the lead on this progress.[xviii]  CoStar acknowledges NoMa as the highest institutional market in Washington D.C., with one of many quickest inhabitants growths within the metro space.  NoMa has proven resiliency all through the pandemic and has a optimistic prospect for a powerful restoration.  The present emptiness fee for the submarket is reported to be 7.1% and forecasted to additional scale back to six.6%, a fee 10% decrease than CBD.  Gross sales quantity for the previous 12 months has additionally outpaced the CBD, with rents rising on the identical tempo as CBD.  All-in-all, NoMa is anticipated to be the subsequent main submarket in Washington D.C., amplified by the expansion, resilience, and tenant preferences over the subsequent few years.



Many markets have seen indications of lowering investor curiosity within the CBD workplace market even previous to the pandemic, attributable to both the shift in demographics workforce or tenants’ wants for newer state-of-the-art workplace areas.  The workplace asset class was profoundly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to traditionally poor efficiency and absorption, but in addition accelerating current office traits and know-how, as proven within the Seattle and Washington D.C. market examples.  CBDs are traditionally wanted neighborhoods however are inclined to have the brief keep on with this transition attributable to restricted house, rigid workplace layouts, and unpopular working environments, motivating the relocation of companies into the opposite submarkets.  Different submarkets have the benefit of vibrant and various mixed-use environments which entice each expertise and companies alike. Will probably be attention-grabbing to see the way forward for places of work within the CBD as stakeholders and metropolis planners consider this transition and strategize methods to extend the circulation of capital again into these submarkets.


[i] Jagannath, T., 2020. Central Enterprise District (CBD) | Traits, Examples, Execs and Cons. [online] Planning Tank. Accessible at: [Accessed 15 March 2022].


[ii] Martin Selig Actual Property, 2018. Neighborhood Highlight: Belltown. [online] Martin Selig Actual Property. Accessible at: [Accessed 2 May 2022].


[iii] CoStar, 2022. Seattle CBD 22Q1 Workplace Submarket Report. 22Q1 Workplace Submarket Report. [online] Accessible at: <> [Accessed 14 March 2022].


[iv] CoStar, 2022. Seattle CBD 22Q1 Workplace Capital Market Experiences. 22Q1 Workplace Capital Market Experiences. [online] Accessible at: <> [Accessed 14 March 2022].


[v] Cushman & Wakefield, 2022. Seattle CBD 21Q3 Workplace Market Report. 21Q3 Workplace Market Report. [online] Accessible at: < > [Accessed 15 March 2022].


[vi] CoStar, 2022. Belltown/Denny Regrade 22Q1 Workplace Submarket Report. 22Q1 Workplace Submarket Report. [online] Accessible at: <> [Accessed 14 March 2022].


[vii] CoStar, 2022. Belltown/Denny Regrade 22Q1 Workplace Capital Market Experiences. 22Q1 Workplace Capital Market Experiences. [online] Accessible at: <> [Accessed 14 March 2022].


[viii] CoStar, 2022. Seattle CBD 22Q1 Workplace Submarket Report. 22Q1 Workplace Submarket Report. [online] Accessible at: <> [Accessed 14 March 2022].


[ix] Crowley, W., 1999. Seattle Neighborhoods: Belltown-Denny Regrade. [online] Accessible at: <> [Accessed 17 March 2022].


[x] Pryne, E., 2012. Amazon places its stamp on downtown Seattle. [online] The Seattle Occasions. Accessible at: <> [Accessed 17 March 2022].


[xi] Clabaugh, J., 2017. Met Sq. in Downtown DC set for facelift. [online] wtopnews. Accessible at: [Accessed 2 May 2022].


[xii] Lengthy & Foster Actual Property, N/A. NoMa Washington, District of Columbia. [online] Lengthy & Foster Actual Property. Accessible at: [Accessed 2 May 2022].


[xiii] CoStar, 2022. Washington – DC CBD 22Q1 Workplace Submarket Report. 22Q1 Workplace Submarket Report. [online] Accessible at: <> [Accessed 28 March 2022].


[xiv] CoStar, 2022. Washington – DC CBD 22Q1 Workplace Capital Market Experiences. 22Q1 Workplace Capital Market Experiences. [online] Accessible at: <> [Accessed 28 March 2022].


[xv] CoStar, 2022. NoMa 22Q1 Workplace Submarket Report. 22Q1 Workplace Submarket Report. [online] Accessible at: <> [Accessed 28 March 2022].


[xvi] CoStar, 2022. NoMa 22Q1 Workplace Capital Market Experiences. 22Q1 Workplace Capital Market Experiences. [online] Accessible at: <> [Accessed 28 March 2022].


[xvii] 2016. Rising Pattern – Benefits of Finding Workplace Product in Combined-Use Initiatives and Neighborhood. [ebook] HRA. Accessible at: [Accessed 20 March 2022].


[xviii] Banister, J., 2017. Story Of Two Cities: D.C.’s Core Workplace Market Struggles As Rising Areas Strengthen. [online] Bisnow. Accessible at: <> [Accessed 19 March 2022].


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Most Popular

Recent Comments