GSBA Public Policy & Communications Manager Matt Landers has been appointed to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s Commercial Affordability Advisory Committee. This committee will make recommendations on addressing the rising cost of commercial space for small businesses, develop opportunities to activate public spaces for entrepreneurs, and identify strategies to expand economic development throughout Seattle.
“Small businesses are essential to the economy our city,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Many of Seattle’s greatest companies got their start in small, affordable storefronts, garages, food trucks, or as simple coffee shops. We will work with the small business community to encourage affordable spaces for existing businesses and develop new opportunities for those ready to launch their dream.”
During the current period of economic growth, new commercial space in Seattle often is dedicated for larger tenants, real estate values have increased commercial rents, and existing commercial properties have been redeveloped, displacing smaller businesses. The committee will review existing City policies and recommend steps to encourage development and preservation of commercial spaces. Recommendations will be made to the Mayor by September of this year.
“We have a business climate that is the envy of cities around the world,” said Brian Surratt, Director of the Office of Economic Development. “We cannot take today’s economic success for granted. By ensuring that the entrepreneurs of tomorrow have affordable options today to start businesses, we can be a city of opportunities and a world-class startup hub for all.”
The group will consider a broad range of solutions to commercial affordability, including incentivizing the construction of smaller commercial spaces, further activation of public spaces to the benefit of food trucks and other small businesses, and inclusion of affordable commercial storefronts in more affordable housing projects.
The committee includes business owners, commercial real estate stakeholders, and business development advocates. Members include:
- Liz Dunn, Dunn & Hobbes
- Maiko Winkler-Chin, Seattle Chinatown International District PDA
- Sam Farrazaino, Equinox Development Unlimited
- John Chelico, JSH Properties
- Don Blakeney, Downtown Seattle Association
- Frank Gross, Thunder Road Guitars
- Solomon Dubie, Café Avole
- Susanna Tran, West Coast Commercial Realty
- Dennis Comer, Brown Sugar Baking
- Mariela Fletcher, MANILA MANILA Asian Retail Store and Food to Go
- Mark Morel, Morel Industries
- Tam Nguyen, Tamarind Tree and Long Provincial
- Karen True, Alliance for Pioneer Square
- Shanti Breznau, independent retail recruitment consultant
- Megan Jasper, Sup Pop Records
- Matt Landers, Greater Seattle Business Association