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MarketFront Pike Place Expansion to Break Ground in May 2015

City Council unanimously approved $34 million in replacement parking funds for MarketFront, thus greenlighting the proposal. The news will come as a relief for Seattlelites tired of hearing about breakdowns and delays of the now infamous Bertha. The $73 million project will be an extension of Pike Place Market, seamlessly connecting the existing structures with the Central Waterfront after the tear-down of the Alaskan Viaduct is completed. MarketFront is a mixed use development, combining retail space with low-income housing and much needed parking. In addition, the space will provide roughly 30,000 square feet of essential public areas which the current Pike Place Market lacks, featuring abundant views of the Olympic Mountains, Elliot Bay and Mt. Rainier.



The project, set to break ground in May, will be built on the site of the Municipal Market Building, which was torn down in 1974 after a devastating fire – the plot, off of Western Ave, is currently a .75 acre parking lot. The majority of financing for MarketFront, which will be the first building added to Pike Place Market in nearly a decade will come from the City of Seattle, in the form of the replacement parking funds – the teardown of the viaduct will result in the loss of public parking spaces located directly below it. In addition, the Pike Place Market Foundation is leading a $9 million fundraising campaign: fans of the historic landmark can donate by purchasing the iconic hoofprints and Market Charms. The rest of the funding for the $73 million dollar project will come from tax breaks, grants and the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority (PDA) equity.



Those who love the historic Pike Place Market as it is today need not worry – the original structure will remain unaltered, save for the doors connecting it to the new project. Dave Miller, the founding partner of Miller Hull Partnership, the design firm behind MarketFront, has stressed the need “to respect the existing and the new context of this project” in the company’s press release. The materials used to construct the structure, such as timber, galvanized steel and concrete have also been selected to complement the existing historic buildings. As an interesting aside, the site MarketFront will be built on is directly over the Burlington Northern Train Tunnel, which makes construction more expensive; it is part of the reason why no structure has been erected on the since the last one burned down forty years ago. Finally, the legendary views of Mt. Rainier and the Puget Sound that draw many to the market will remain unobstructed.


The project which is within walking distance from notable Downtown Seattle buildings such as 1921 2nd Avenue, Newmark Tower and Hillclimb Court , is set to be completed in late 2016 and its timeline is independent of the tear-down of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

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