By   – Staff Writer, Puget Sound Business Journal

The 2+U office tower in Seattle had one of the 59 construction cranes counted in the city in November. That number kept Seattle at the top of the Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index. Los Angeles was second with 44 and Portland third with 30. (ANTHONY BOLANTE | PSBJ)

With 59 construction cranes dotting the city’s skyline in November, Seattle remains atop the latest Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index.

Seattle, which has led the biannual index for three consecutive years, had six fewer cranes than in May but 14 more than in November 2017. RLB releases the November count in January and the May count in July.

RLB, an international property and construction consultancy with a Seattle office, provided an early copy of the index Monday. The full report, which includes construction cost trends, is due out later this week.

Among places where RLB counts cranes, the Pacific Northwest was the most robust region. Seattle and Portland had a combined 89 cranes in November versus 73 in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The total count in Boston, New York City and Washington, DC was 70 cranes.


Rider Levett Bucknall released an early copy of its January 2019 Crane Index on Monday.


With 104 cranes, Toronto had the most in North America. Toronto has topped the index since the summer of 2015.

Of Seattle’s 59 cranes, 25 were for mixed-use projects, while 15 were for residential, 10 for commercial developments and the rest divided among health care, hospitality and transportation jobs.

Barring a recession or some other event, this building boom will go on for some time with tower development planning continuing not just downtown but in the University District. The apartment market appears to be softening downtown, but more condo towers have been proposed.

The office market, meanwhile, continues racing ahead. Commercial real estate brokerage the Broderick Group on Monday said it does not anticipate a slowdown, because Bay Area companies like Google, Facebook and Uber are leasing full buildings or at least large blocks of space in Seattle.

Seattle’s crane count peaked in November 2016 at 62.