Smith Tower penthouse tenant bets on future of downtown Seattle

An estimated 100,000 people now live in downtown Seattle, and that number is growing despite major crime challenges.

SEATTLE – It’s a new year and a new lease for one of Seattle’s most expensive apartments.

The 2,128-square-foot unit on the 37th and 38th floors of the Smith Tower in downtown Seattle now rents for a discounted price of $13,750 per month. The one-bedroom living space includes a full kitchen, two bathrooms, and a walkway that leads to the iconic glass ball at the tip of the Smith’s Tower spire.

This is only the second time the space has been leased since it was built in 1914. The new tenant, Bruce Cornelius, CEO of MyFreeScoreNow, is betting big on Seattle.

“I love it. It’s iconic and grabs your attention as you drive down the freeway,” Cornelius said from the penthouse of his new home in Seattle.

The tech entrepreneur is in the process of moving his company from California and thinks the future is bright for Seattle.

“I’ve already discovered some really great restaurants and some great stores,” Cornelius said. “I’ve been to all the places where you can hear music and the symphony. They’re going strong, and I think it’s only getting better.”

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Listing broker Moira Holley, co-founder of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, said Cornelius was part of a growing trend of people returning to downtown Seattle.

“I call it the boomerang effect,” Holley explained. “There’s a resurgence. I would say it’s a renaissance happening downtown, and we started seeing that last summer. A lot of shoppers started coming downtown and to buy.”

According to the Downtown Seattle Association, 100,000 people now live downtown. Even during the pandemic, the downtown population grew by 10%.

“Seattle is too big to fail,” said Dean Jones, co-founder of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty.

Jones believes Seattle is poised for a post-pandemic comeback, as history repeats itself, much like it did after the 1918 flu pandemic when the “Roaring 20s” followed.

“As the masks come off and businesses rise, I think there will be a repopulation of the city,” Jones said. “We are going to see a new era.”

But given the lack of supply in the city center, rent increases are expected in the short term according to Jones.

“As we repopulate residential buildings, that means more downtown stakeholders and more eyes on the streets,” he said. “The future is bright.”

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