King Street Station first opened to the public in 1906 to much fanfare having been designed by Reed and Stem, the architectural firm responsible for New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. As the gateway to the West, the clock tower was modeled after the grand Campanile di San Marco in Venice, Italy. In 1973 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The station itself is located in Pioneer Square, a historic district.
With the demise of train travel in the 20th century and lack of funding, the station fell into disrepair. In recent years the station has seen ridership on the rise. In 2008, the City of Seattle purchased the station from Burlington Northern Railway Company for $10. The rehabilitation preserves and restores the original character of 62,400 SF station and strengthens its role as a regional transportation hub and important civic landmark. The project enhances public spaces, improves pedestrian and multi-modal connections in and around the station, and has been a catalyst for additional redevelopment within the neighborhood.
The $55 million renovation brings the facility up to modern codes and standards with significant seismic and structural updates to improve the building’s safety and durability – complying with the City of Seattle’s sustainable building and energy performance standards and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standard and Guidelines for Historic Preservation.
Core elements of the project include the rehabilitation of the iconic 12-story, 6,400 SF clock tower; repair and restoration of the original 45-foot-high ornamental plaster ceilings and halls, terrazzo and mosaic tile floors; operable windows; and the improvement of space and amenities for visitors to the station and the employees who work there.
The rehabilitation capitalizes on materials and energy invested a century ago by reusing materials rather than replacing them. The project is LEED Platinum certified.