Pioneer Square riding on new hotel's success


by MIMI JUNG / KING 5 News

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Posted on June 23, 2010 at 5:59 PM

SEATTLE - A brand-new hotel opened its doors in Seattle, just in time for the summer tourist season. But unlike other new hotels, there is an entire neighborhood riding on its success.

The historic, 106-year-old Alaska Building in Seattle's Pioneer Square has been brought back to life. It has been transformed into the Courtyard by Marriott with all the modern conveniences and sweeping views of Elliott Bay.

But the newest hotel opened in a neighborhood that has struggled to change its reputation.

"People have started to think it's a place where there's high levels of crime, street disobedience, but really the perception doesn't match the reality of Pioneer Square today," said Lisa Dixon, The Alliance for Pioneer Square.

Bringing the Marriott to Pioneer Square is part of the long-term plan to revitalize the historic neighborhood and doing things like putting on a Saturday Market in July is just one way to give tourists and locals a reason to visit.

"Having the mobile food carts and the music and the vendors and just having a place for people come and hang out," said Dixon.

Business owners say Pioneer Square needs a little TLC.

"It was tough when Elliott Bay Books left because there's just gaps in the neighborhood," said Michael Lindsey, Laguna Vintage Pottery.

But with the new Marriott comes renewed hope that a hotel will breathe new life into what was once the heart of the city.

"If you're coming from an outside area, we're the second largest historic district in the nation outside of Savannah Georgia. People want to come in, see it and experience it, so I think it's a perfect place for a hotel to come in," said Lindsey.

The Marriott has been open for two weeks now and so far, business is good. They're actually sold out tonight -- a lot of Cubs fans are filling up the rooms and the Rock n' Roll Marathon is coming up this weekend, so it appears the hotel couldn't have opened at a better time.

Click here to check out the hotel