Home Page
Link to Mayor McGinn Blog Home Link to Mayor McGinn Web Site Home Page Link to Mayor McGinn About Us Page Contact Us

Mayor Mike McGinn left office on January 1, 2014.
This website is for archival purposes only, and is no longer updated.

City of Seattle

April 24, 1:34 PM click here to comment > 0

Reopening King Street Station’s main waiting room

Completing King Street Station’s major public space renovation and seismic retrofit, the City of Seattle today officially reopened the station’s main waiting room. Mayor Mike McGinn and other distinguished guests officially reopened the waiting room to public use by ceremonially relighting its grand chandelier.  mayor king street 01 sm

Rescuing it from decades of neglect, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) performed a top to bottom rehabilitation of the station’s public spaces while also repairing and improving the main building, clock tower and all building systems. When Amtrak begins using the waiting room on April 25, rail passengers will now enjoy modern station amenities alongside historic beauty.

“King Street Station is a great example of how Seattle works hard to protect and make use of its historical buildings,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “I congratulate SDOT on reaching this important milestone in their work. And I invite everyone to come down and check out the beautiful waiting room.”

Over the past five years, the SDOT has completed the following station enhancements:

  • Refurbished the clock tower, repaired its clock and removed the old microwave antenna mast
  • Installed a new terracotta roof to replace the old, leaky roof
  • Seismically strengthened the station and its tower
  • Upgraded all mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems
  • Created a new Jackson Street Plaza from an old parking lot
  • Restored the grand staircase to use (open to the public in early May)
  • Created a new ticketing area, baggage area and office space for Amtrak
  • Installed an elevator to make the station ADA compliant
  • Rehabilitated the main waiting room to feature its elegant plaster ceiling, marble walls, terrazzo tile floor and grand chandelier

Ongoing during the recent recession, the work on King Street Station also created more than 500 jobs, including ones for skilled trades like electricians, masons, carpenters and plasterers. 

“Even though the King Street Station had fallen on hard times, the City seized the opportunity to breathe new life into a beautiful building that has served travelers to and from Seattle since 1906,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. “The City paid BNSF Railway $10 for the station and Seattle voters approved spending $10 million to help pay for restoration. The result is all that we had hoped for. Seattle is proud of the King Street Station, which is ready to welcome millions of visitors in its second century of service.”

King Street Station serves more than four million passengers a year using Amtrak trains, Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches and Sounder commuter rail, and the station remained fully operational throughout construction. It also acts as one of three intermodal transportation hubs in downtown Seattle, alongside the Westlake Hub and the Coleman Ferry Dock. For the southern portion of the city, the station enhances transportation connections between long distance rail, commuter rail and intercity buses, along with convenient access to Link light rail, Metro buses and, in the future, the First Hill Streetcar line.

Numerous sustainable features have been incorporated into the station to include ground source heat pumps for station heating and cooling, and solar panels on south facing canopies for generating renewable energy. The project also salvaged original building materials for reuse and recycled 98 percent of project waste. The station will receive LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council later this year.

“The King Street Station Rehabilitation Project is an excellent example of responsible development within an historic preservation district,” said Ryan L. Hester, chairman of the Pioneer Square Preservation Board. “The board applauds the efforts of SDOT’s Major Projects staff, all members of the design and construction team, and all the craftsmen on completion of this iconic development. Their outright obsession of every detail in this magnificent restoration will be appreciated by all who enjoy this space for the next 100 years.”

The multi-year project was financed with $10 million from the city’s Bridging the Gap transportation initiative as well as significant contributions from the Federal Railroad Administration ($16.7 million), Federal Transit Administration ($18.9 million), the State of Washington ($10.1 million), the South Downtown Foundation and 4Culture. The installation of seismic steel to strengthen the historic train station was a significant part of the project’s construction costs. Of the $55 million total project budget, 42 percent of it was spent on steel and its design and installation to protect the station during an earthquake.

The station’s clock was stopped and disassembled to aid with seismic steel installation. The department plans to restart it in early May. For more information on King Street Station, please visit its web site at:


Posted by: Words: April Thomas, Pictures: Jen Nance