Over the Top

Seattle overtakes New York City and Los Angeles in list ranking construction cranes

Development News
(Courtesy Ganapathy Kumar)
(Courtesy Ganapathy Kumar)

A recently-released report by construction and building consulting agency Rider Levett Bucknall has determined that for 2016, Seattle has surpassed New York City and Los Angeles as the city with the highest concentration of construction cranes in operation.

The Pacific Northwest city is currently experiencing an unparalleled construction boom: In addition to high-rise, mixed-use construction projects going up across the area, a new neighborhood of high-rise skyscrapers is sprouting up adjacent to the new, NBBJ-designed headquarters for online retailer Amazon. More to the point, according to the report, Seattle has 58 construction cranes in operation. That’s more than New York City and San Francisco combined, which have 28 and 24 cranes each, respectively. This total more double Chicago’s count (26 cranes) and is 18 cranes higher than the second-highest city in ranking, Los Angeles (40 cranes).

The report also sheds light on the expanding scope of large-scale construction projects dotting the West Coast. Seattle’s booming Denny Triangle neighborhood, the aforementioned Amazon-adjacent condo-town, and various other downtown developments are leading a city-wide push for new construction. In San Francisco, the Transbay Center and Salesforce Tower complexes, as well as the surrounding and also-booming South of Market neighborhood, are raising the skyline higher. And in Los Angeles, luxury developments like the Metropolis, Oceanwide Plaza, and Wilshire Grand Hotel projects, each of which will ultimately cost more than $1 billion to build, are throwing up cranes there. The report also lists 22 cranes dotting the skyline of Portland, Oregon, a city with a comparatively lower skyline populated by a higher number of the mid-rise, seven-story and up structures that require cranes for construction.

According to the report, Seattle has seen a 43-percent increase in crane counts since this time last year, led by the commercial, mixed-use, and residential market sectors. One unknown from the rapid pace of construction, however, is if the overall increase in development will have a noticeable impact on housing prices across the region, which from San Diego to San Francisco and Portland to Seattle remaining stubbornly high.

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