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Big changes ahead for Seattle’s waterfront and downtown

Pike Place Market, the Seattle Aquarium, and Occidental Park are all getting a face lift.

Significant changes are coming to downtown Seattle and the waterfront over the next few years.

As the Alaskan Way Viaduct comes down, new attractions will go up with the goal of allowing Seattle residents to truly experience the beauty the city offers.

The Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) is holding a meeting Thursday night for their members to get a behind the scenes update on some of the plans in store for the city. In February, they released a hype video which highlights some of those plans.

WATCH: Seattle waterfront of the future unveiled in video

First, the Seattle waterfront itself is going to undergo a major renovation. Crews have already completed parts of the seawall construction to help replace the aging seawall along the waterfront, and build the wall to meet seismic standards.

They're also doing work right now on Pier 62, which is scheduled to be done by 2019 and would be the first part of the new waterfront project to be completed.

Credit: Photo courtesy: City of Seattle, Custom
Pier 62 plan

The biggest change to the waterfront will no doubt be the new Overlook Walk, which will allow people to walk from Pike Place Market all the way down to the waterfront and take in exciting views while relaxing along the way.

The Overlook Walk is expected to open in 2022. The City of Seattle released a PDF document that goes into specifics about the Overlook Walk and the Ocean Pavilion, which will be a new addition to the Seattle Aquarium.

Heidi Hughes with Friends of Waterfront Seattle says the new waterfront designs will promote an “open canvas” that allows people to enjoy the views, music, recreation, and even festivals. The new waterfront will also feature more space to enhance its pedestrian-friendly goal even further.

Friends of Waterfront Seattle has also made it easy for you to see what’s happening for yourself. They have a 360-degree virtual experience to see the renderings of the new waterfront. They also have an app available via the Apple App and Google Play stores that will allow you to use Augmented Reality to see for yourself how the new designs will look.

Oh, but there’s more

In addition to the waterfront project, the DSA is working on updates to two of Seattle’s most iconic areas – Pike Street right in front of the market, and the open-area park on Occidental Avenue in Pioneer Square.

Called the Pike Pine Renaissance: Act One, it is a multi-year effort to improve the pedestrian experience and connect Pike and Pine to the waterfront.

James Sido with the DSA said they want the area to be more inviting for people and have less of a focus on transit. Construction on this area is slated to begin sometime in 2020.

For Pioneer Square, the DSA aims to add a park and a timber pavilion to the brick area on Occidental Square between Main Street and South Jackson Street.

For all the projects, the City has estimated completion around 2024. The entire project has a budget of around $688 million, but that cost will change as it does not include the Marion Street pedestrian bridge that will go over Alaskan Way that is being funded by the WSDOT.