I have visited Seattle four times since 2019 and I have been constantly awed by the number of tower cranes I viewed. So it shocked me that when I searched the annals of this blog, this is the first specific post I have made regarding Seattle. Until just recently, Seattle was the undisputed heavyweight champion in terms of number of tower cranes in the United States (Toronto's response: "hold my beer"), only having recently been usurped by Los Angeles. This is a serious dereliction of my duties and I sincerely apologize.
I will get to my most recent trip to Seattle on June 10-12, 2022 in a moment, yet let's set the scene by discussing my trip in November 2019. Those were quaint times...we visited my nephew Max at Seattle University and went to Husky Stadium on the campus of the University of Washington (the most beautiful athletics venue in the country in my humble opinion). This was pre-COVID and the the construction world was on fire with Seattle being the blue center of the flame. It seemed like every downtown corner had a tower crane on it, with the Washington State Convention Center being the centerpiece of the renaissance. It was truly unbelievable. Since then, we have (largely) emerged from the COVID shutdowns and the convention center is almost complete, yet it is still unbelievably busy in Seattle. The major change from my pedestrian point of view is that downtown is cooling and the building is moving to the periphery of the city. Don't get me wrong...downtown is still a beehive of activity, yet the action is radiating outward. This is a natural progression as a market tops out and developers start looking for less expensive land and demand extends outside of the expensive city core. Given those dynamics, I am going to split the pictures below into groups of neighborhoods:
Let's start with my favorite stop. This will be the Seattle Aquarium Oceanfront Center, on the site of the former elevated Alaskan Way Viaduct. There was a mammoth concrete pour going on this day. Turner is the general contractor (GC).
This picture was taken from a distance and the site is in the Pioneer Destrict neighborhood. The homes of the Seahawks and Mariner are in the background.
The last of the tower cranes at the Washington State Convention Center site. Lease Crutcher Lewis is the GC on this project.
3rd Street and Virginia Street. BuildGroup is the GC.
Four miscellaneous downtown tower crane pictures.
8th Avenue and Columbia Street. The GC is Anderson Structures. In a twist of fate, I met a soon-to-be superintendent on this project at the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Superintendent Training Program (I'm talking about you Dakota!).
A Hail Mary long distance pic at 8th Avenue and Dearborn Avenue. If you squint, you can see the original Rainier Beer factory in the background. My grandfather drank Vitamin R (if you know, you know).
Yesler Way at South Washington Street. You can see Smith Tower (left) and Columbia Towetr (center) in the background.
622 Rainier Avenue.
Triple play at Yesler Way and 12th Avenue.
Pride Place at 1519 Broadway. Walsh Construction is the GC.
Boyleston and Spring Streets. Turner is the GC.
Somewhere in the Seattle Central District neighborhood. The cylindrical building is the Alhadeff Santuary(?). The picture was taken from a parking structure on the Serattle University campus.
Somewhere in Capitol Hill. I need to take better notes...
SOUTH LAKE UNION
Double play at rhe intersection of Taylor and Thomas Streets. Both tower cranes have Seattle Kraken signage. Interestingly (to me anyway), the hotel across the street is the ugliest building I have seen in a very long time.
228 Dexter Street.
400 Westlake Street. The base of this building is the saved remements of a Firestone Tire Center which is a cool preservation project.
412 1st Avenue North in Lower Queen Anne neighborhood, right across the street from the Climate Pledge Arena. By the way, the chocolate chip cookie at the Metropolitan Market a few blocks away live up to the hype.
Southern end of the Westlake neighborhood. This was the most disorganized project site I saw.
long shot photo of a luffer in the southern part of the Eastlake neighborhood (southest corner of Lake Union).
Random project between Seatac and downtown. If you go to Seattle, lightrail is a good bet to beat the horrible traffic. You're welcome.
Those are the cranes I saw with my own eyes. I'm sure there's more in the area given that there are some major Microsoft and Amazon projects in Bellevue and cranes visible at the University of Washington. That said, this should give some indication of the crazy level of construction going on in Seattle. Up next: rolling through the Midwest.
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