There is something very special brewing in the Pike Place Market. And no, it’s not just Starbucks and the IPA at Pike Brewing; it’s the new Pike Place MarketFront. After 40 years, Pike Place Market is going to reclaim a surface parking lot on Western Avenue and transform it into a beautiful and resourceful MarketFront. Spurred by the future removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the MarketFront expansion provides the unique opportunity to complete an important chapter in the Market’s past, and create a new chapter - one with dynamic public space, more room for farm and craft vendors, food retailing, low-income housing for seniors and expanded social services.
People from all over the world come to visit Pike Place Market to experience its charm. What most visitors don’t know is that the Market not only supports local businesses, crafters, and farmers, but it also provides social services and housing to low-income and homeless residents of downtown Seattle. The Since 1982, the Pike Place Market Foundation has supported these services and housing for the Market. Now, The Market Foundation is involved in raising the final funds for the new MarketFront because the new space will include 40 units of low-income housing for seniors and a new Neighborhood Center.
Construction on the Pike Place MarketFront began on Monday, June 15 and the official Groundbreaking Ceremony is at 1:00pm on Wednesday, June 24th. I had the pleasure of meeting with Suzanne Spencer (Communications Coordinator for The Market Foundation) to learn more about the new MarketFront.
WTEG: Can you provide details on the new MarketFront project?
Suzanne: The project is all about expanding the Market we all love. The new MarketFront is going to be an important addition to the Market, and to Seattle. With this 35,000 square foot expansion, the Market will be able to accommodate more visitors, more vendors, and more residents. The new site will feature a brewery, a biscuit maker, a chocolate-maker, restaurants, local shops, housing, and much more. Since 1907 the Market’s motto has been “Meet the Producer” so the new site will embody that further. The MarketFront will also provide a beautiful waterfront-facing plaza featuring unobstructed views of the Puget Sound. At The Market Foundation we are really excited to be involved, because we have the unique opportunity to expand what we do well: supporting social service programs and housing for downtown Seattle residents.
WTEG: What does The Market Foundation do?
Suzanne: At The Market Foundation, Our mission is to help the Market that we all love remain a thriving, caring community. We provide funds for the social service programs in the Market, which include a preschool for families of all income levels, a senior center food bank, Heritage House which is an assisted living resident center for seniors, a medical clinic and we manage a food access program which offers Market residents support in nutrition, cooking, and wellness.
WTEG: How much is this project going to cost?
Suzanne: This is a $73 million dollar project and the Market has secured the vast majority of the funds needed. The Market Foundation is raising the final $9 million dollars needed to complete the MarketFront. Our Pike Up! fundraising campaign is the final push to make the MarketFront a reality! For the first time in thirty years, Market supporters can write their names into Market history. Our “Piggybackers” (MarketFront donors) will receive name recognition on the new site on a Market Charm or Piggybank Hoofprint. To be a Piggybacker and help complete the final piece of the new MarketFront, visit pikeup.org.
WTEG: Who is invited to the MarketFront Groundbreaking Ceremony?
Suzanne: Everyone is invited! Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is coming, City officials, the Preservation & Development Authority (PDA) Council, Market Foundation Board members, Friends of the Waterfront, Friends of the Market, members of the Market community, downtown workers and residents. We want everyone to come and be a part of it this historic day for the Market. If you can’t join us for the Ceremony at 1 PM, we are also hosting a Groundbreaking after-party at Pike Brewing Company from 4-6pm.
Here is a link to information on the MarketFront Groundbreaking Ceremony. Join the Groundbreaking Event on Facebook and invite your friends!
Whether you visit on a sunny summer day or a drizzle filled autumn afternoon, Pike Place Market always provides a bright spot for visitors and locals alike. There is a sense of warmth, community, and love that compels you to visit frequently and share your experience with others. The new MarketFront will bring even more of the community we love to Pike Place Market.
You can be a Piggybacker and help support this project. Click here to be part of Pike Place Market history.
Photo credit: Pike Place Market