Give Downtown Olympia Another Look
I have had people comment that they won’t go downtown because of the people and parking. Well, parking can be a challenge at times but the make-up of folks in downtown Olympia is changing, and downtown businesses are responding.
The catalyst for the change is downtown housing. This is not low-income housing, but market rate apartments. There has been a conversion of office buildings to apartments and new construction. We have seen rents as high as $2,800 for a downtown apartment! The tenants are a mix of everyone – students, state workers, retired. These people want to be able to walk to restaurants, theaters, shops & tap rooms.
We recently signed a lease with Bittersweet Chocolate, who is finishing up improvements on a space across from the Washington Performing Arts Theater. This classy new shop will offer hand-made chocolates and custom sweets. The owner wanted to be in this area. We also leased a spot by the Capital Theater to Bamboo & You, a shop that offers clothing and other soft goods. The shop has been in operations for years, but felt ready to expand and likes being downtown.
As you drive around downtown, you will notice the new Kizuki Ramen Restaurant on 4th; the transformation of a former accounting office into 222 Market, an artesian food court; local breweries and craft spirits; amazing locally sourced food restaurants and a variety of food trucks; and of course, the Farmers Market is packed on sunny days!
If you haven’t been downtown lately, come explore and support local business! Walk the boardwalk or the capital campus. Take the kids to the Hands On Children’s Museum, Wet Science Center or South Sound Estuary Center. Park your car and ride the DASH for free. There’s lots to see!