city of industry

Driving through SoDo to Georgetown today I was struck by the vastness of the industrial landscape.  Lowrise industrial buildings and parking lots full of trucks seem to stretch for miles in all directions.  And so I couldn’t help wondering about all the concern over converting a relatively small area of industrial uses on the south downtown waterfront to housing or office.  Is there really a shortage of industrial lands?  How well-utilized is the land currently zoned for industrial?    Just based on looking around down there in SoDo, I get the impression that the land is not that well-utilized, i.e. there are many abandoned buildings and empty lots.

And then there’s that huge Costco and its acres of parking lot on 4th Ave.  Did I miss the outcry over retail replacing industrial when the Costco was proposed?  Don’t think so.

Clearly most city leaders have decided that it is politically expedient to be perceived as protectors of industrial uses in Seattle, especially when the scapecoat can be those evil condo developers.  No question that industry is important for a diverse economy in Seattle, but as the city grows one might reasonably expect some industrial uses to move, just as other uses do.  For example, does it make sense any more to have industrial uses in a relatively remote neighborhood like Ballard that will probably be adding 50% to its population in the next decade or two?