After agreeing today to buy the landmark King Street Station for $10, the city of Seattle will begin more than $26 million in restorations on the 1906 building.

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Seattle’s historic King Street Station will get a new green-tile roof and repairs to its clock tower in a new round of restorations, starting this year.

Mayor Greg Nickels announced this morning that the city has signed a deal to buy the station from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway for $10. That deal allows $16.5 million in federal and state spending to go ahead, along with $10 million in city money from the voter-approved Bridging the Gap property-tax levy.

Within the next three years, a dingy false ceiling will be removed from the waiting room, to reveal the original ceiling and its frescoes. Some brick walls will be removed at the northwest corner so a granite-and-marble staircase can be widened and reopened to the outdoors. The building will also be strengthened against earthquakes.

The state Department of Transportation and Amtrak have restored the lobby, a compass rose in the floor tile, the restrooms and some marble interior columns. But work was stopped several months ago while the property deal was hammered out.

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Nickels today walked up several flights of stairs to reach an outdoor balcony, where he promised to remove ugly metal communications equipment fastened to the spire. Minutes later, he switched on the red neon “KING STREET STATION” sign that faces downtown.

The 242-foot-high tower, modeled on a church in Venice, Italy, was the city’s tallest building when it opened in 1906.

Mike Lindblom: 206-515-5631 or

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