SEATTLE – Music could eventually return to Seattle’s waterfront piers but it won’t be the large-scale venue it once was. This week the Office of the Waterfront briefed councilmembers on plans to rebuild pier 62/63.
Marshall Foster, Director for the Office of the Waterfront, told councilmembers concerts and events are part of the vision for a new life at the pier but he stressed the concerts won’t be the size of the old “Summer Nights on the Pier.”
“I want to be clear about that. We’re not proposing that very large-scale event,” Foster told councilmembers. “But we would like to bring music back to the pier.”
Pier renovations could bring music back
The structures, at 1951 Alaskan Way, make up a large industrial pier that the Seattle Parks system acquired in the 1980s. It is slowly deteriorating and parks had to cease events about 12 years ago because of its condition.
Planners want to also build a new floating dock.
“We would create water access, which is a very scarce thing downtown. It’s hard to find a place to access the downtown waterfront from the water side,” Foster said. “That would be a setting for day-to-day transient moorage for short-stay moorage if you want to bring a boat in. it would also be a great feature for cultural events on the waterfront.”
The plans are part of new waterfront park will be a 26-block reinvestment in the central waterfront with removal of the Viaduct. The timeline of the project has been at the mercy of Bertha the boring machine, which was stuck for 2 years, before it started digging the Hwy. 99 tunnel again late last year.
“It’s just a phenomenal place to not only take in the natural setting – the Olympics – but also to look back at the city removed from the noise … of the Viaduct,” Foster said. “I’m glad to say with Bertha’s schedule much more clear, we do know that the Viaduct will come down in late 2018 and that’s what really will enable us to reconnect our downtown to this waterfront … an early opportunity to demonstrate this investment and demonstrate the vision of the waterfront is the rebuilding of Pier 62/63.”
The $29 million pier project will need help from philanthropy though. Friends of Waterfront Seattle has committed to raise $8 million of that.
“People have told us they want to be near the water and they want to have things to do. The rebuild of the pier would provide that in space to the public,” said Maggie Walker, Board Chair of Friends of Waterfront Seattle.
Walker has also served as co-chair of the Central Waterfront Committee, a position Mayor Greg Nickels appointed her to almost 7 years ago.
“I can say there’s an appetite in the philanthropic community to get going on the park and to deliver the pier early,” Walker told councilmembers. “Philanthropic commitment for the park assumes that the city will fulfill its commitments on some things like the local improvement district and we look forward to bringing that piece of the funding pie along with you. The pier rebuild is an early win and it’s important for all of us to demonstrate how the entire park can be realized successfully.”
The rest of funding for the project is scheduled to come from the Real Estate Excise Tax ($11.7 million), Seattle Park District Reallocation ($4.4 million), Seawall Bonds ($3.3 million), Street Vacation Cumulative Reserve Subfund ($1 million), and a pending State Recreation Grant ($.6 million).
Other proposed events for the pier include athletic activities like soccer, beach volleyball and roller-skating. Foster said waterfront planners also hope to experiment with things like Christmas markets as well.
Planners have completed design of the projects, which is under environmental review and permitting. Foster said he hopes to go to bid this fall with construction starting next year. The project is set for completion in 2019, around the time crews will be completing Viaduct demolition.