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Can Seattle turn underused office towers into apartment buildings?

They’re already doing it in Tacoma. We explore that idea, along with other strategies to get people to move downtown so they can help revive it.

In downtown Seattle, whether your retail or restaurant business succeeds depends a lot on how much you depend on office workers. The long-term strategy to diversify downtown’s economy by encouraging residents seems more relevant than ever, with many of those office workers gone.

In this segment, we look at two big strategies — turning old offices into apartments (which is already happening in Tacoma), and a new kind of tower that can change its use from office to residential to hotel like a chameleon when the economic winds change.

Finally, planners at city hall say we have to think more deeply about adaptation to avoid the mistakes of the past. The more economically and culturally diverse downtown is, the less susceptible it is to booms and busts. They’re starting the process of planning the downtown of the future now.

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