Pike Place Market

The heart and soul of Seattle is undergoing a major renovation. Laying claim as the oldest continually operating public market in the country, Pike Place Market is really a series of buildings with a wide range of tenants that attract nine million visitors a year. The market first opened as a single building in 1907, but has since evolved into a series of buildings covering nine acres.

So dear is the market, Seattle voters agreed to a higher sales tax in order to pay for the $68-million renovation, which is being done in three phases.

Turner Construction Co., Seattle, won the $29-million contract for the first phase. In mid-June visitors will see a refurbished Main Arcade, home to most of the local farmers; the Fairley Building; and the Hillclimb, a maze of stairs, elevators and hallways that connects the market to Seattle’s Waterfront.

A main goal of the project was to unite the mechanical and electrical systems. In all, the market has over 200 tenants, many of whom had their own HVAC systems on the rooftop, says Duncan Thieme, principal with the architecture firm for the project, SRG Partnership, Seattle. Soon the main buildings will be tied together to a central plant.

“The systems were all the most efficient for each tenant, but the central system is even better,” Thieme says. “Since we had to take out part of the Hillclimb stairway to build the HVAC system, we decided to make that more welcoming as well.” To rebuild the stairway, Turner had to work around a day care center and its playground.

Moving commercial and residential tenants is one of the most complicated factors of the project, which fell under Turner’s contract, says John Turnbull capital projects manager with the Pike Place Market Public Development Authority. “With people living there, we had to be quiet at night, but we had to be careful not to disrupt the day users, either.”

Turner ended up working up to three shifts per day, trying to cause as little disturbance as possible.

“We did everything piecemeal in order to schedule around all the tenant needs,” says Ryan Troy, Turner senior project manager. “We had to be quiet at night because of the residents, and unnoticeable during the day because of the businesses.”

Much of the work in the retail spaces took place in January and February, when foot traffic and businesses would feel less financial impact. The residents of 21 apartments, a mix of market-rate and low-income renters, found housing elsewhere until the project can be completed.

Othello Station

When South Seattle was an agricultural area, farmers would grow their produce and sell their crop at Pike Place Market. Today, the Sound Transit Light Rail runs through the area along Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and its intersection with Othello was ripe for an infill project.