Like many cites on the West Coast, Seattle real estate has in recent years enjoyed a surge in its energetic downtown and urban center. But due to hills to the north and east, Elliott Bay to the west and tidal flats to the South, the available geographic area afforded to Seattle’s downtown is significantly smaller than most large metropolitan cities. For Seattleites, however, their city’s smaller footprint is actually a good thing, and it helps make Seattle one of Washington’s, and even America’s, most walkable large cities. Key to this is the design of Seattle’s roads, which mostly run in cardinal directions with a grid-like pattern, which reduces the distances between locations and optimizes traffic and public transportation — mostly buses — within city limits.
If you’re looking for luxury condos in downtown Seattle, this means that your search covers a relatively small geographic area, unlike New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles. This can help make your search easier, but it’s a double-edged sword — fewer listings mean less opportunities to buy, and it’s not unheard of to wait years for the right piece of luxury real estate to surface in the city’s hottest areas. In addition to being the city’s finance and commercial hub, downtown Seattle is the epicenter of the region’s shopping, dining and nightlife, which is also connected to the Seattle Center, an active civic, arts and cultural gathering place to the northwest of the downtown center, by way of a charming monorail.
As one of Seattle’s most densely populated neighborhoods, Belltown’s history as an industrial arts district rife with low-rent housing is even more impressive considering its more recent rebirth as a trendy neighborhood with plenty of shopping, restaurants, nightclubs, art galleries and, yes, luxury living in the form of numerous residential towers. Northwest of Pike Place Market and the rest of downtown, Belltown is quickly establishing itself as a premier destination for culture and living in the downtown Seattle area. But the best Belltown asset may be its walkability, which means you don’t have to bring the car around or worry about parking when you’re out and about.
Traveling east from downtown Seattle will bring you upon First Hill, a neighborhood named for its literal position as the first hill adjacent to the downtown area. First rising in popularity in the late 19th century, First Hill was favored by wealthy Seattleites that appreciated its proximity to downtown but valued its distance from the bustling city. However, these were the days before modern-day high-rises, and one could hardly achieve the urban-solace balance that is so easily attained in one of Seattle’s many luxury towers. Physically and metaphorically separated from West downtown by the heavily trafficked Interstate 5, First Hill is similar but at the same time worlds away from the life of more centrally located living — but those looking for a slightly less urban lifestyle may want to consider setting up roots in First Hill.
Take a 15- minute walk down Pike or Pine and you’ll arrive in one of the most beautiful and fun areas of Seattle: Capitol Hill. If you’re looking for something delicious to eat, this is the part of town that’s known for its cuisine. If you’re looking for something new to wear, the shopping in Capitol Hill is something that people come from far and wide to enjoy. You can also take in some culture at the Asian Art Museum as well as some history, as Lake View Cemetery in Capitol Hill is where Bruce Lee is buried. You’ll also find the burial spots for the founders of Seattle.
Also known as the Chinatown-International District or CID, Seattle’s International District is a U.S. Historic district and includes the neighborhoods of Chinatown, Japantown and Little Saigon, which are largely made up of strong migrant communities from China, Japan and Vietnam, respectively. Featuring a wealth of culture and interesting sights and sounds, CID seamlessly integrates businesses with residences to create a bustling energy unique to the area. Located southeast of central downtown, CID offers a unique view of rich traditions and history that have over the years spread and influenced the rest of downtown Seattle. While luxury living is limited in CID, at least one new development is planned for the area.
To the west of CID and south of central downtown, Pioneer Square was at one time Seattle’s original settlement, and history of the neighborhood stretches back to as early as 1852. In the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, most of the neighborhood’s wooden buildings were destroyed, and within the next year many brick and stone buildings were erected as more permanent replacements. Even today, many of these Richardsonian Romanesque-style buildings still stand, and still influence developments in the area. Taking its name from a small plaza at First and Yesler that was originally dubbed Pioneer Place.
Pioneer Square, like CID, is registered as a U.S. Historic District, and is rich both in architecture and culture over its long history. While some newer developments have gone up in recent years, true luxury living is limited in the area, though there are many art galleries, cafes and nightclubs that dominate the neighborhood, making it an intriguing destination.
At the heart of it all is downtown Seattle, which is technically called the Central Business District. With Belltown to the north, First Hill to the east, and Pioneer Square to the south, Downtown Seattle is Seattle’s financial and commercial hub, but it also features plenty of opportunities to shop, eat and drink with countless boutiques, restaurants and nightclubs and bars. Following the Great Seattle Fire, which destroyed much of Seattle’s existing business district, then located in Pioneer Square, businesses moved north to take advantage of a massive regrading project that greatly expanded the size of Seattle’s downtown area. But, since the 1960s, it was the boom of Seattle’s developers that drastically changed the Seattle skyline into what we see today, and many of Seattle’s luxury condos are located in this district.
The smallest and most desirable neighborhood of all in downtown Seattle is the Pike-Market Corridor, which sits halfway between Belltown and the Central Business District on Elliott Bay, yet is made up of just a few square city blocks. Named after the famous Pike Place Market that sits at the neighborhood’s center and opened in 1907, the Market is America’s longest running open air public market, and contains many shops, craftsmen and merchants. Because of its iconic marketplace and rich culture, the neighborhood is a hotbed of tourism, and is by far Seattle’s most popular tourist destination. Furthermore, the area’s small size means that real estate is severely limited in this highly desirable area, and only a select few Seattleites are lucky enough to call Pike-Market home. Take a look at this video for another look at this unique place.
Lucky for you, there is currently a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a slice of the exclusive Pike-Market neighborhood. The Emerald, a new development on the edge of Pike-Market at Second and Stewart is now selling luxury condos at Seattle’s defining address. With 262 signature residences across 40 stories, The Emerald brings a level of elegance and grace to this culturally rich and historic area, and it allows for true, walkable urban living that puts you and your loved ones right where all the action is. Just a few minutes from Pike Place Market and with countless producers, boutiques, fine dining and other experiences at your disposal, The Emerald is truly the pinnacle of luxury living in downtown Seattle.