Department of Transportation Scott Kubly, Director
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King Street Station Restoration

About King Street Station

King Street Station Restoration Project Information Board currently displayed at the station

King Street Station first opened to the public in May 1906. Reed and Stem, the architectural firm responsible for New York City’s historic Grand Central Terminal, designed the station. The San Marco bell tower of Venice, Italy, served as the model for the building’s familiar clock tower. The structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

King Street Station, located on Jackson Street between Third and Fourth Avenue S., is a brick and granite three-story building with a twelve-story clock tower. The ground floor, accessed from King Street, is clad in granite. The walls of the second and third floors, as well as the clock tower, are faced in pressed brick with decorative terra cotta elements such as cornices and window lintels.

While much of the exterior of King Street Station has remained intact since the building was constructed in 1906, parts of the interior have been substantially altered and others have suffered neglect. Similarly, while nearly half of the facility’s original finishes remain intact, most of the significant finishes in the lower portion of the station have been removed.

The station is served by Amtrak Cascades, Coast Starlight and Empire Builder long distance rail lines and Amtrak intercity buses. It includes convenient connections to Sound Transit commuter rail, local and regional buses, Sound Transit Link light rail, and the future First Hill Seattle Streetcar scheduled to open in 2013.

The restoration of King Street Station will ensure it remains a critical transportation hub and gateway into Seattle for the next hundred years.

Click here to see King Street Station for yourself and imagine its restoration.

Click here to learn more about King Street Station.

Click here to see historic photos of King Street Station.



The restoration was divided into separate phases to repair major elements of the station:

Phase I: Completed July 2009. Station roof fully restored with new terra cotta tiles replicating the original roof tiles. Salvaged glass tiles replace broken ones for the pyramid above the clocks. The four clocks repaired and restarted. Improved lighting installed to illuminate the tower clocks and pyramid. The cracked finial atop the pyramid repaired, and exterior around clocks cleaned.

Phase IIA: Completed August 2011. Installation of a new geothermal well field connected to a heat pump system providing energy efficient heating and cooling for the station. Electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems have been upgraded. Non-historic enclosure on the west including the non-functioning escalator has been removed to restore the station exterior façade.

The Jackson Street Plaza has been transformed into a new public pedestrian plaza. The drop-ceiling in the main waiting room is removed.

Phase TI: Begins March, 2011. Amtrak baggage, ticketing and office facilities will be upgraded to modern standards. Anticipate completion date in April 2012. Amtrak will move into their new space in May 2012.

Phase IIB: Begins March 2012. It will complete building seismic upgrades and restoration of interior and exterior historic architectural details, including the waiting room’s ornamental plaster work. It will complete the distribution upgrades of the building’s mechanical and electrical systems.

Building Access Improvements include: Reopening of the Jackson Plaza entrance to allow station visitors to use a new elevator to access lower station area.  Restoration of the grand staircase connecting the Jackson plaza to the lower station entrance will be reopened to the public at the end of Phase IIB, anticipated to be completed by Spring 2013.

Multi-modal hub planning: Began September 2010, on-going.

Cost & Financing

Restoration of King Street Station is funded by contributions from city, state, and federal governments as well as nonprofit organizations. The voter-approved Bridging the Gap levy provides $10 million to the project. Funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the Washington State Historical Society, the South Downtown Foundation, and 4Culture contribute $40 million to the project. This support makes is leveraged by the Bridging the Gap fund and supports all aspects of the project noted above. Restoration work by the Seattle Department of Transportation began in summer 2008. WSDOT and Amtrak previously purchased new exterior awnings, restored the entryway foyer and waiting area restrooms at a cost of $4 million.

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