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The Pike Place Market expansion grand opening is here!

View from the new viewing deck at the Pike Place Marketfront (Photo courtesy of Pike Place Market PDA)
LISTEN: The Pike Place Market expansion grand opening is here!

It’s a big year for Pike Place Market. In August, the historic market celebrates its 110th birthday and Thursday, June 29 is the grand opening of the new Pike Place Marketfront, an expansion 40 years in the making.

“What this expansion does is provide a lot of extra space,” said Pike Place Market spokesperson Emily Crawford. “We have 30,000 square feet of open public space. We have a beautiful, wooden viewing deck [with views of] of Mount Rainier all the way to the Olympic mountains and lots of farmers, craft people, and artisan producers.”

Crawford says the new expansion will eventually connect down to the waterfront. This new real estate makes room for four new feed and beverage businesses.

“Old Stove Brewing Company has a big space in Producer’s Hall; they will be manufacturing their beer onsite,” Crawford said. “We have Little Fish, which is a new restaurant concept by Bryan Jarr. We have Honest Biscuits and indie chocolate. Each of those will have some production element that visitors will be able to see while they’re in those spaces.”

Pike Place Market also added 300 new parking spaces and 40 much needed, low-income apartments for seniors, including seven for artists, right inside the market with amazing views.

“Half of our units are for extremely low-income tenants,” Crawford said. “That means their rent is about $474. Our other apartments are $791 and that means that person is making less than $21,600 a year. We had about 10 folks who moved into our building who were homeless at the time they moved in. Being able to provide housing for people when we know we are in such a crisis situation here in Seattle … And it’s part of the market’s mission to do so.”

Artist Winston Haycock is thankful he was selected to rent one of these live/work spaces.

“We’ve been here all our lives, you know,” Haycock said. “It’s great to be able to come back here. That’s what the city wanted, is artists to come back to the city. We have galleries down below overlooking the water and they’re open for the public to come and visit.”

You can’t talk about the new Pike Place without talking about the old.

Pure Food Fish Market is the oldest remaining fish market in Pike Place. If you’ve walked through the Market, you’ve likely passed Pure Food, and been tempted by their stacks of Chihuahua-sized lobster tails and pyramids of scallops as big as baby fists. It’s a family-run business and college student Solly Behar works there during the summers when he’s off school. His great grandfather immigrated to the U.S. from Turkey and opened the fish stand in Pike Place Market in 1911.

“My grandfather used to come every morning at four o’clock,” Behar said. “I think he started when he was 14 and he’s going to come in in a little bit today. So, seventy-plus years.”

Behar said he started filleting fish at Pure Food Fish Market when he was 11 years old. His cousin, Carlee Kulman, is Assistant Director of Operations. She says the market expansion is a welcome addition.

“For me, in my opinion, because I’m the new generation, I think it’s great,” Kulman said. “It shows the new Seattle and it will have its own history. There was a little bit of mixed reviews in the beginning, when not everyone knew what was going to happen with the market and the expansion. But now that the market expansion is here and it’s done, everyone really supports it.”

The grand opening festivities go from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. on Thursday, with live, local music from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

If you want to own a physical piece of the new section of the market, consider buying a charm.

“We’ve got over 6,000 charms that we’re installing on the fence with individual names and personal sayings and inscriptions on them,” said Pike Place Market Foundation’s Patricia Gray. “The charms are $180 donation.”

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