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Posts published in “Day: March 9, 2009”

Wide open spaces


Seattle office central

The Slog's headline - a sorta invitation for Wal-Mart to shack up in Seattle - was just snark, but the post's content was worth some attention: Abruptly, there's a whole lot of empty office space in Seattle.

The Slog: "As the [Daily Journal of Commerce] reports today, owners of the 12-story 1st and Stewart Building are placing the property up for sale at the same time two new downtown office buildings are staking real-estate signs. In addition, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Building and Seattle Tower were recently put on the market. Meanwhile, other office buildings, like the WaMu Center, are clearing out their tenants. Companies that had planned to expand into new downtown spaces, including Microsoft and Starbucks, are retreating to their headquarters. And more lanky office towers are in the works downtown. In short, the inventory of commercial office space grossly exceeds the demand for offices. We’ve probably got 10 years of inventory that will sit empty."

A cautionary note: There are some apples and oranges here; some of these buildings (like the 1st and Stewart) are pretty well leased up, and sale of the building won't change that. Still, the vacancies in many large-scale office spaces are becoming massive.

Where is all that likely to lead? On its face, it seems to suggest some whole new direction for the downtown Seattle area, which has upscaled and gentrified almost to the point (in some places) of unrecognizability in recent years. How can that continue when the area is floating in "For Lease" signs all over the place?

The effort will be made. Or will Seattle return, a bit, to elements of its grungier past?

140 characters, and more

Highly amusing post on the Portland Mercury blog about Twitter, and its holdouts. Sample (responding to several recent pieces in the Oregonian): "I love articles which amount to a middle-aged person shaking their head in bemusement, making jokes straight out of Zits comic strip, as they look over some young person's shoulder and glimpse their confusing new lifestyle."

At 140 characters per tweet, Twitter obviously has its limitations. But as a means for basic linkage, it has unusual advantages. One big one may be its capacity for hot links, which allows bloggers, news media and others to post a lot more than what they had for lunch. Use it right, and you can develop an excellent, rapid-fire news wire through a Twitter account. A lot of people seem to be doing that already.

Examples? For our purposes, there are useful follows - instant updates - from a large collection of Northwest news organizations such as the Seattle Times, Oregon Public Broadcasting, the Spokane Spokesman-Review, KIRO-TV (Seattle), the Yakima Herald Republic, KTVB-TV (Boise), TVW (Washington), the Oregonian (several feeds), the Portland Mercury, KGW-TV (Portland), the Tacoma News Tribune, the Boise Idaho Statesman, Idaho Public Broadcasting, the Idaho Business Review and the Boise Weekly. Even the New York Times - we run through all of those and more. And from quite a few individuals at those organizations (such varied feeds as Rocky Barker at the Idaho Statesman and Jenni Hogan at KIRO-TV. Official feeds from the White House and Supreme Court down through a batch of local governments (even a feed offering regular updates on the amount of the national debt). And various political people, elected (see our recent post on that) and otherwise, and people with al kinds of perspectives, some of them pretty well informed. A whole lot of these posts, of course, come with links offering more information elsewhere.

Sneer if you must. But if you can parse through the options with some care, Twitter actually makes for a pretty good intermediary news source.