The Pike Place Market expansion officially opens this afternoon (that’s Thursday, June 29 for people reading this in the future), although it’s been open for public exploration all month long. The new ramps and gathering spaces uniquely positioned for viewing Downtown to the east and south, plus the water to the west and mountains beyond.
Basically, they’re the views from the Viaduct that everyone’s going to miss when it comes down.
If you’ve taken a recent walk through the market, you may have strolled through the additional 30,000 square feet of public open space along steep hillside that borders the west side of the Market.
The design by landscape architects Berger Partnership took the concrete-heavy designs that have dominated the back of the market since the ‘70s and smashed them together with the look of a natural bluff for an effect not unlike looking over a cliffside—only with the trappings of the city all around it.
A network of stairs has connected Western Avenue to Pike Place Market for quite some time, but it wasn’t a very accessible solution. But with the “extraordinarily steep slope and tightly compressed site,” designing an ADA-compliant route was challenging, Berger said in a press release.
For their final design, they built “large-scale circulation ramps to create spaces out of the accessible routes.” In the space created by the changing grade in their ADA routes, they built gathering spaces and seating, adding to the market’s open space while making it accessible to more people.
The Market’s new outdoor spaces are lined with custom metal planter boxes “evoke plantings found on a typical Puget Sound bluff,” according to Berger.
A pavilion on the roof with 47 new vendor stalls nods to the existing vendor stalls below it while leaving plenty of open space to soak in the waterfront.
In addition to all the open space, the expansion also brings 40 new units of low-income, senior housing including seven live/work units, expanded social service, and 12,000 square feet of brand-new commercial space for food and retail.
The public can check out the views, along with music and free samples, starting at 2 p.m. today—or if you don’t want to strain to see over the crowds, you can go anytime in the coming years. It’ll be there.