Guilty of Slandering Seattle

Irony only goes so far and apparently, my list of things you should know before moving to Seattle was only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the way I’ve been known to slander Seattle…

The story behind the story… Apparently, the powers that be on wikipedia agree that “Rain City” is not an appropriate nickname for Seattle! (It’s not listed at the time of publishing!)

I changed the nickname. As a Seattle native, I have never, ever heard it called “Rainy City.” It is not, nor ever has been a common nickname of Seattle. For one, we get less rain than most cities East of the Mississippi River. Seattle is most commonly called “The Emerald City” followed by “Jet City.” If you folks want to continue this nonsense, of re-posting a lsanderous nickname, please provide some documentation.

[photopress:starbucks_logo_with_RCG.jpg,thumb,alignright] This got me thinking of other ways I’ve slandered Seattle in the past and this photoshop of one of our prized institutions feels so wrong…

In all seriousness, does the name of a website really matter? Would you be a regular reader/contributor of a site that was named Emerald City Guide or Jet City Guide? How about if it were as originally planned?

Real estate and coffee… It’s so obvious in retrospect

All Seattle real estate agents should be holding our heads down in shame today as we let a company out of Jackson, Mississippi Michigan open a the world’s first real estate cafe.

It seems so obvious in retrospect! I imagine just about every agent in Seattle has had at least one meeting with a client in a coffee shop (heck, many of us run our entire operations out of coffee shops!), but none of us ever took the initiative to open up a cafe devoted to the real estate arts!

By the way, if there are any Starbuck executives reading my blog, I just thought I’d let you know I’d be willing to discuss ways of teaming on a real estate cafe venture! You guys have been focusing too much on music lately… There’s definitely more money in real estate!

Story via Inman News.


UPDATE: One of my readers has been kind enough to let me know that this is not the world’s first real estate cafe, as as a matter of fact, Bill Wendel out of Cambridge, MA has been hosting a real estate cafe since 1995. None the less, my offer to Starbucks executives still holds!

How far is too far to commute?

[photopress:round_and_round.jpg,thumb,alignright] The most common question I get from people moving to Seattle regards their potential commute… The question typically follows this format:

“How far away from my work can I live and still have a reasonable commute?”

It doesn’t really matter whether the person is planning to work in Downtown Seattle, Downtown Bellevue, the Amazon Campus, or the Microsoft Campus, because a “reasonable commute” is different for each person.

Some people are willing to drive an hour to save money on a home (or be able to afford a home for that matter), while others want a commute that is less than 20 minutes. Across the country (and especially in the Seattle area), the farther you are willing to drive every day, the less you have to pay for a home.

Interestingly, my work as a transportation planning consultant has put me in contact with some very interesting resources. For example, I recently came across these five maps that were put together by the regional government (PSRC) that give a great indication of the average commute:

These maps are great if you know the area you are going to be working (say Downtown Bellevue) AND you know that you are willing to commute a specific distance (say 40 minutes) because then they can help you put a definitive boundary on your home search!

NOTE: These maps are created “topographical-style”. If you are new to this, imagine that the graphic is displaying a huge mountain centered on the point of interest (like Downtown Seattle). If you move anywhere within the first circle (the top of the mountain!), then your commute to Downtown Seattle would be less than 20 minutes. However, the farther out you live, the large the hill you have to climb to get to work. For example, if you were to move to Issaquah, then you could expect about a 40 minute commute to Downtown Seattle.

By the way, the maps are a little dated (they are based on 1997 data), but the commute patterns have not changed much in the last 8 years, so the trends are still pretty accurate.

The same regional model that was used to create this data also spits out data for future years! Wouldn’t it be great to have the same maps for future years (2010, 2020, etc.) so you could gauge how your commute might change? This can be done! And if there is sufficient interest, I’ll put something like this together!

Starbucks is Built for Growth

Pike Place Market StarbucksI ran across this interesting article on how Starbucks manages their real estate. Corporate real estate is not my usual thing, but I thought the insights were quite interesting and show how important location is to the Starbucks brand.

Starbucks is a concept driven as much by real estate as it is by coffee and the coffee experience. These days Starbucks opens at least three new locations a day somewhere in the world. It has taken a lot of real estate to open up 9,000+ Starbucks locations and it will take even more real estate to reach their stated goal of 30,000 global locations.

The blog entry quoted above is from a review of Built for Growth by a former EVP of Real Estate with Starbucks. In the book, the author describes how “Starbucks gained market dominance through finding the best real estate locations.”

While not surprising, it’s interesting to hear the different ways that location has become an intergral part of Starbucks’ growth strategy.