Pike Place Market is Seattle’s most popular destination, and the 33rd most visited tourist attraction in the world. On a sunny Wednesday afternoon, a new era for the landmark was ushered in with a parade, some speeches and shovelfuls of dirt.
“The Market is Seattle’s heart and soul,” Murray said to roughly 400 city officials and community members at the official groundbreaking, which will expand the market for the first time in 40 years. “This new addition to the market weaves our city back together.”
The $73 million project will keep much of the market the same, while creating a dramatically new, modern expansion. It will open up more stalls for vendors and artists and provide 300 short-term parking spaces, 40 low-income apartments for senior housing, and 30,000 square feet of public space.
The planned demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is part of the motivation behind the expansion, and new designs take advantage of it. The new market will provide expansive views of Puget Sound, and numerous public pathways between Pike Place and the waterfront.
Much of the market’s east front will stay untouched, including the iconic sign, brick roads and familiar shops. This also includes the original Starbucks, which contributed $500,000 to the renovations. The expansion will primarily be focused on the market's western side, facing the water.
The bronze pig sculpture at the entrance of Pike Place Market is named Rachel, and was installed in 1986, as a fundraising tool for the human service agencies at the Market. At Wednesday's ceremony, Murray introduced a new pig sculpture to be installed at the market.
The Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority (PDA) council chairman Matt Hannah expressed pride in the market’s attention to the less fortunate. “The new marketfront will build on that legacy with a street level neighborhood outreach center that will serve the urgent needs of our community with even more expanded social services,” Hannah said.