Seattle crane count falls, still leads nation
- Seattle has more construction cranes than any other city in the U.S., reported The Seattle Times. But the number dropped to 45, the lowest figure since July 2015 — a 22% decrease from six months ago. Toronto was the North American crane standout with 88.
- The latest Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) Crane Index report, according to the newspaper, found that Seattle was the only major U.S. city to lose cranes among the metros it tracks, which could signal the cooling of the city's years-long building boom. However, RLB noted in its report that Seattle's construction market was still "healthy," particularly in the South Lake Union area, which is home to many tech companies including Amazon.
- A third of Seattle's cranes, according to Curbed Seattle, are serving mixed-use projects, which are popular because of the higher allowable floor-area ratio, followed by residential and education-related construction projects.
Periodic crane counts have become a popular way of tracking building activity in major metropolitan areas. With analysts dividing their use into categories like residential and commercial, a few cities in addition to Seattle have come out on top when it comes to the number of cranes.
In November, Curbed Chicago reported that the high-rise building boom in Chicago had resulted in construction crews erecting the city's 60th crane of the year. City officials said the number was expected to go up as more residential projects were scheduled to get underway, but that enthusiasm could come from hitting a big crane count. According to Curbed, other crane counts were at a little more than 30 before the No. 60 announcement, so officials could have included in their numbers the smaller cranes that help install and break down other cranes.
Regardless, Chicago's days of record-breaking crane counts could be over. In a December report, Dodge Data & Analytics said that 2017 would likely see the end to a streak of construction start increases in the Windy City, mostly driven by a decrease in residential building, which was happening at a rate that some industry professionals thought was unsustainable.
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