MarketFront FAQ

MarketFront FAQ

MarketFront FAQ

What is the Pike Place MarketFront? 

The MarketFront is a low-rise, mixed-use development that will provide parking for the Market and the waterfront, low-income housing for seniors, expanded social services and additional Market retail and restaurant space. The MarketFront will also provide 30,000-square-feet of public open space and views of Elliott Bay while creating a critical new connection between Pike Place Market and the new Central Waterfront that emerges after the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

The MarketFront will be located on a .75-acre surface parking lot on Western Avenue. The location was formerly home to the Municipal Market Building, which was demolished after a fire damaged the building in 1974. The site remained undeveloped for nearly 40 years due to the cost and complexities of constructing the site on top of the active Burlington Northern Santa Fe Train tunnel that is more than a century old. 

How will the new Pike Place Market MarketFront affect the historic Pike Place Market that I know and love? 

The existing historic marketplace will not and cannot be significantly altered with this expansion. The only changes to the existing Market will be additional doors leading out of the Desimone Bridge (the somewhat U-shaped walkway in the heart of the crafts market) to the west, across Western Avenue and the expansion of the existing parking garage. 

This expansion project poses an interesting challenge for building new construction in a historic district. Project architects have incorporated simple and utilitarian materials including heavy timber, galvanized steel and concrete, to create a familiar Market backdrop, with fresh expressions of Pacific Northwest industrial toughness to retain the character of the Market. Additional Market attributes such as public art, vibrant landscaping and a bronze piggy bank will also be part of the new site.

Will I still be able to see Mt. Rainier, the Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound and my favorite view? 

Yes! The architects of the project, The Miller Hull Partnership, took into account all of the views from the Market and from various vantage points north, south, east and west and lowered the height of the project until nearly all existing sight lines were preserved. This was a vital part of the public hearings and comments regarding the project from 2011-2013. 

Approximately 30,000-square-feet of new accessible public space with spectacular views of Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains, Mount Rainier and the Seattle waterfront and will also include much needed public seating, ADA accessible walkways, public event and gathering space and landscaping. 

Why now? 

With the removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and subsequent loss of parking under the Viaduct, Pike Place Market was given a unique opportunity to reclaim the site of the former Municipal Market Building. The site is within the Market Historic District and was part of Victor Steinbrueck’s original plan for the Market. 

Replacement parking funds from the City of Seattle and the state are driving the timing of the MarketFront, based on the need to replace parking spaces that will be lost when the Viaduct is torn down. Because of the active Burlington Northern Santa Fe train tunnel underneath the site, original plans to build on the site from the 1970s were long shelved due to the cost of construction over the tunnel. 

What is the timeline for the Pike Place Market MarketFront? 

Construction will likely begin in the spring of 2015 with a scheduled completion date in late 2016. This project is the only parking replacement project scheduled to be complete before demolition of the Viaduct, making it a critical first-step to the changing infrastructure of the downtown waterfront. 

What were the driving elements in creating the Pike Place Market MarketFront?

In the last 30 years, there have been numerous studies on how this site could expand the Market in a more meaningful way. The various plans have always centered around three key elements: providing more parking for the Market’s vendors, tenants, residents, workers and visitors; providing more housing for low-income seniors; and creating more open public space. The site will provide all three key elements, with 300 parking spaces accessible from Western Avenue, 40 units of low-income housing, and 30,000-square-feet of public space with room for farm and craft tables.

Who is in charge of this project? 

The Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority (PDA) is leading the project with oversight from the Market Historic Commission and with input from the Market community. The Miller Hull Partnership is the architecture firm selected to create the design. Project management is led by the Seattle-based firm SOJ. Sellen Construction is the general contractor and construction manager.

What about the farmers, craftspeople and small businesses in the Market? 

The MarketFront has approximately 12,000-square-feet of commercial space with a focus on businesses that provide locally produced foods and goods in keeping with the Meet the Producer tradition. There is also an opportunity for a restaurant and brew pub. There will be new opportunities for traditional Daystall tenants such as farmers and craftspeople. 

Did the Market community get to have a say? 

Extensive community involvement has played a vital role in the process to date. With plans for the waterfront redevelopment accelerating and removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct announced, it became clear to the PDA that it was time to address how the Market could connect with the waterfront in a way that would be true to the Market’s history and character. The PDA Charter requires public disclosure and a review process for actions that may have a substantial effect on Market merchants, tenants, residents and others in the Market community, and this includes projects like the MarketFront.

Frequent public meetings were held at which Market community members provided input on the various concepts presented. The current design of the MarketFront reflects those comments, particularly in respect to maintaining views, creating public space and seating, preserving the traditional character of the Market, and providing weather protection.

These public meetings continue and are announced on the PDA’s MarketFront web page and through community notices, which can be viewed at  Additionally, all comments are entered into the public record and all PDA Council and committee meetings are open to the public with designated time for public comment at the beginning and end of every meeting.

All of the public presentations and documents related to the project are on the Pike Place Market website at

How is this project funded?

Funding for the $73 million project comes from the PDA, parking mitigation funds from the City of Seattle and WSDOT, a $9 million capital fundraising campaign led by the Pike Place Market Foundation, low income housing tax credits, grants, PDA equity and debt, new market tax credits and grant funds.  The PDA funded the initial exploratory design concepts along with support from the City of Seattle.

How does the Pike Place Market MarketFront connect to the new central waterfront? 

The Central Waterfront Redevelopment is scheduled to be complete around 2020. Our project architects are coordinating directly with the James Corner Field Operations design team to create a seamless connection from the MarketFront to the future Overlook Walk that will lead pedestrians down to Seattle’s new waterfront. In the interim there will be a small path leading from the edge of the Pike Place Market site to the waterfront. 

The MarketFront timeline and project milestones are independent of the Central Waterfront Redevelopment; the MarketFront is slated to be completed in 2016, before the Viaduct removal. 

What low-income housing and social services will be part of the project and why? 

Pike Place Market is more than just fresh produce, seafood, and gorgeous bouquets of flowers. The Market is home to nearly 350 low-income seniors and an array of social services that supports more than 11,000 vulnerable children, families and seniors every year. 

The MarketFront offers the PDA and The Pike Place Market Foundation the opportunity to honor and uphold one of the key purposes of the Market, “to preserve and expand the residential community, especially for low income people.” 

Forty units of low-income senior housing are located on southern portion of the project. Thirty three units are intended for low-income seniors with seven designed to accommodate live-work space for low-income senior artists. Housing for low-income seniors has been identified as one of the most significant emerging needs in downtown and in the Market neighborhood. When available, housing applications will be announced and published on the Market’s website on the residential pages:

What is the Neighborhood Center? 

The MarketFront will also be home to a Pike Place Market Neighborhood Center to serve as a welcome space for our Market community, while also addressing the emergent and growing needs of our most vulnerable neighbors. Planning for this multi-service center is currently underway and led by The Pike Place Market Foundation. The Foundation conducted a community-wide needs assessment survey in 2014 and identified mental health treatment, health education, homeless services, legal assistance, and access to healthy food as the top needs in our community. In 2015, the Foundation will pilot some expanded programs to begin addressing these needs, while preparing for the opening of the new MarketFront. The Foundation is also exploring a partnership with the Chief Seattle Club to honor the traditions of and support the Native American community in and around the Market.

What kind of public art will be on the site? 

Beginning in November 2013, The Pike Place Market Foundation and Market volunteers conducted a public art selection process to identify local artists to develop unique art installations for this site. In March 2014 a public open house with the seven art finalists was held in the Market. Stay tuned for news on the selection of artists and development of art concepts.  The Market Foundation is working with human service providers to expand the vision and scope of vital services available in the Market for our low-income neighbors.

Will this public space be safe? 

The PDA takes the safety and security of our local shoppers, residents, commercial tenants and millions of annual visitors very seriously. As such, the Market’s own security team patrols the Market Historic District 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The new MarketFront will be an integral part of the Market security “beat” and receive the same attention and care as the rest of the Market. 

More Information on the Pike Place Market MarketFront: