Downtown Seattle | KUOW News and Information

Downtown Seattle

The sunset is shown from a suspended scaffolding below the new rotating restaurant in the Space Needle on Monday, November 6, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Construction on the first phase of the Space Needle's Century Project will be complete in May of 2018. When the project is done, the 55-year-old landmark will feature the first ever rotating restaurant with a glass floor.

“It’ll just be you and the view,” said Karen Olson, chief marketing officer for the Space Needle. 

Hamilton Beale stands in the doorway of an elevator in the lobby of Smith Tower on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, in Seattle. Beale has been operating elevators at Smith Tower for 19 years.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Smith Tower, Seattle's oldest skyscraper, is getting some renovations this spring. 

The current Convention Place bus station is being considered as an expansion site for the Washington State Convention Center.
KUOW Photo/David Hyde

Seattle will get an additional $60 million in public benefits, including affordable housing and bike lanes, as part of the proposed expansion of the Washington State Convention Center.

That’s more than the project’s developers had originally offered. The new money is the result of long negotiations.

An Alaskan Copper Works employee walks in the  warehouse on Friday, September 8, 2017, in front of a mural painted by artists Blaine Fontana, Sneke, Hews and APaul, along the Sodo Track, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The second summer of painting is complete for the Sodo Track mural project, with 26 artists painting on 14 properties.

The project, when complete after next summer, will consist of over 50 artists from all over the world, with painted murals relating to one common theme – motion.

That shop owner you met at Pike Place Market? They've probably seen a ghost

Sep 6, 2017
Pike Place Market is notoriously, at least for people who work there, a hub of paranormal activity in Seattle. RadioActive's Diego Villarroel and Carlin Bills decided to head down there to see for themselves.
FLICKR PHOTO/Joe Szilagyi (CC BY 2.0)/http://bit.ly/2xQ0kaK

Millions of people across the world believe in ghosts or have had a paranormal experience. RadioActive’s Diego Villarroel and Carlin Bills delve deep into the paranormal culture around Seattle in search of a story of their own.


A sketch of The Emerald, a 40-foot condominium tower planned at 2nd and Stewart near Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. Chinese investors helped make the project possible.
Hewitt Seattle

Seattleites love to blame outsiders for skyrocketing housing prices.

Marci Carpenter, who is blind, advises Seattle on transit issues. As the convention center expands, she expects her commute time to increase.
KUOW Photo/Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

Route 150 pulls up to the University Street station in the downtown Seattle transit tunnel. On board, passenger Marci Carpenter listens for her stop.

Flickr Photo/Steven Santiago (CC-BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/q4dpg6

Downtown and South Lake Union are poised to get even denser. Seattle lawmakers have approved a rezone to increase the building heights for both neighborhoods. Mayor Ed Murray signed it into law on Friday, April 14.

columbia center gif
Courtesy of ESI Design

Capitol Hill resident Steven Sieden can see the Columbia Center from his bedroom window. The 76-story building is like a monolith, dominating his view.

Late one night a while back, he noticed it “sending out messages.”

A view of Seattle's future: Income tax and apartment construction?
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The construction cranes could eventually be raised up a little higher in downtown Seattle. That's if Seattle lawmakers allow for taller building heights downtown and in South Lake Union.

The City Council started the process to rezone those neighborhoods in a meeting Tuesday.

Drivers wait to cross Mercer Street
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Traffic engineers have a nickname for the years 2019 to 2021, when a slew of new megaprojects will get underway in downtown Seattle around the same time. They call it “The Period of Maximum Constraint.” Translated into plainspeak, it means during those three years, we’ll be up the creek in a leaky canoe without a paddle.


A view of the Columbia Tower. Trump Hotels wanted to buy property near here and erect the tallest building in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Antonio Campoy (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/3eEJaw

Trump Hotels said this week that it plans to build a luxury hotel in Seattle, according to Bloomberg.

Cody Lee Miller, known internationally as #manintree, about five years ago in Roseburg, Oregon. He lived there with his grandmother.
Courtesy of Lisa Gossett

Lisa Gossett was home in Alaska when her sister called about a YouTube video.

Gossett’s son had climbed an 80-foot sequoia tree in downtown Seattle, stayed there for 25 hours and inspired an international hashtag, #manintree.

A Lamborghini at the University of Washington. Nearly 2,000 cars in Seattle are listed as having cost more than $80,349 – the current median household income for Seattle.
Flickr Photo/ericnvntr (CC BY 2.0) http://bit.ly/2dla8Pz

The most expensive car in Seattle is a $653,000 Enzo Ferrari (2003). It is registered to someone who lives somewhere downtown. 

It ties with an Enzo Ferrari in tony Medina for most expensive car in King County, followed by a Ferrari F40 in Bellevue that cost $643,000.

Children splash in a fountain in Freeway Park in downtown Seattle.
Freeway Park Association/Riisa Conklin

Don't be afraid of Freeway Park in downtown Seattle: That's the message from Riisa Conklin, executive director of the Freeway Park Association. She told Kim Malcolm why the park covering I-5 is a safer, brighter place on its 40th birthday.


An aerial view of the proposed addition of the Washington State Convention Center.
Courtesy of Washington State Convention Center

Here in Seattle we like to debate almost everything: a monorail, the downtown tunnel, more light rail.

But some big-ticket decisions are hardly debated at all, like a proposed $1.4 billion plan to build an addition to the Washington State Convention Center.

Has Seattle declared a war on cars?

May 26, 2016
Traffic on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Oran Viriyincy (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1irsJLd

Bill Radke speaks with Brier Dudley about his recent column in the Seattle Times about what he argues is Mayor Ed Murray's attack on single occupancy cars. Also, Tom Fucoloro from the Seattle Bike Blog joins the conversation. He wrote a response to Dudley's article here.

Seattle Dept. of Transportation tweeted this map of the area affected by the power outage.
Courtesy of SDOT

Power has been restored to downtown Seattle after a large outage earlier Wednesday. 

The utility says there was an equipment failure at substation at Massachusetts Street, but are still investigating the cause of the outage. 

Joe Burnison works as a deckhand aboard Loki, a salmon gillnetting boat in Puget Sound. Loki is owned by one of his oldest friends, Jonah Knutson. Both men grew up in West Seattle. Joe Burnison works as a deckhand aboard Loki, a salmon gillnetting boat in
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

With his dark-rimmed glasses, Jonah Knutson doesn’t look like the salty fisherman.

But he smells like it.

The lobby at Exeter House, which was built as a luxury, live-in hotel in the 1920s.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Exeter House in downtown Seattle was built as an apartment hotel for elegant living in the 1920s. It was part of a construction boom downtown at the time.

Social workers Bradly Smith and Jackie St. Louis check in on Tonja Warner, who is homeless. Smith and St. Louis walk with cops on their beat and connect people they encounter with services.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s early in the morning, and Capitol Hill’s homeless men and women are just waking up. 

Tanja Warner is curled up in her sleeping bag, sheltered under the roof overhang behind a business. It’s illegal to sleep here, a form of trespassing.

A march protesting the Seattle police shooting of Che Taylor on Feb. 21 moves through downtown Seattle on Feb. 25, 2016.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

About 100 people rallied in downtown Seattle Thursday to protest the shooting death of an African American man.

New Horizons and Seattle's Union Gospel Mission are opening a new shelter downtown for youth only.
KUOW Photo/Jamala Henderson

As Seattle struggles through a homelessness crisis, more services are coming online to help meet additional need. 

A new privately funded young adult emergency shelter will open downtown starting Sunday.

Deborah Zech Artis, left, and Sally Bagshaw drove off in a car2go together. Bagshaw was driving Zech Artis to her car up the street.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

The candidates in District 7 are both dog people.

Sally Bagshaw, the incumbent, used to have golden retrievers. Deborah Zech Artis has a blind bichon frise named Thomas Jefferson.

Shoppers cross Fifth Avenue in Seattle during the Christmas season, 1954.
Flickr photo/IMLS Digital Collections & Content (CC BY 2.0)

Drivers soon won’t be able to turn right on red lights at 10 intersections in downtown Seattle – part of a plan meant to protect pedestrians.

The changes will affect drivers on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues (see map below).

Courtesy of MOHAI/Staff Photographer at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Warning: If you live in Seattle, this might break your heart.

Once upon a time, Seattle was a pioneer in transportation planning.

City officials thought in terms of economic expediency and asked themselves, how could we get our residents around as quickly as possible? Thus, at the beginning of the 20th century, the streetcar system was born.

John Syverson, facilities manager for the Frye Hotel downtown, doesn't sugar coat the problems around his buildings.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

The Frye Hotel in downtown Seattle evokes a certain nostalgia. Two towering brick buildings are connected by an awning where one imagines a white-gloved doorman standing.

But outside, facilities manager John Syverson doesn’t hide the less charming problems with the building.

KUOW Illustration/Kara McDermott

For the first time in a century, Seattle voters will choose their City Council members by district. In District 7, which includes Magnolia, Queen Anne and downtown, three candidates are running.

We asked the candidates to meet us somewhere in their district that signified why they’re running.

Homeless families outside a shelter in downtown Seattle
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Bill Hobson’s radical philosophy was born when he met a 24-year-old woman who was schizophrenic, HIV positive and addicted to crack. And she was pregnant.

It was early in Hobson’s 31-year tenure at the Downtown Emergency Services Center.

Joshua Curtis stands behind a foosball table.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Westlake Park in downtown Seattle has a lot going on. Besides the café tables, the foosball tables and the park rangers, you’ll find free classes almost every day. On Monday at 10 a.m., kids will be building stomp rockets out of paper. Tuesday evening there’s a Yoga class.

But the park is better known for drug dealing than downward dog.

The new activity is part of the city’s efforts to bring more people into downtown public spaces to reclaim them for everybody.

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