Town Hall Seattle — that historic landmark built about a century ago as a church but that looks like the Roman Pantheon — is undergoing a major seismic retrofit and interior renovations.
Sketched May 8 and 10, 2018
Chain-link fence. Land-use action sign covered with graffiti. Construction crews. Everywhere I go around Seattle, I take this common sighting as an opportunity to ponder how the city is changing.
In this case, I quite like what’s coming to this important First Hill parcel between Spring and Seneca Streets just east of Interstate 5.
Town Hall Seattle — that historic landmark built about a century ago as a church but that looks like the Roman Pantheon — is undergoing a major seismic retrofit and interior renovations. The surface parking lots next to it will be replaced by two 32-story residential towers and a public park kitty-corner with Freeway Park.
My curiosity about the site transformation also turned into a hard-hat visit. Assistant project manager John Koppe, of Bellevue-based Rafn Company, led me through a maze of scaffolding inside Town Hall to the very top of the building. Standing near some of the restored stained-glass windows, I could see parts of the building’s original steel frame and the new duct ventilation system. Of all the building upgrades, Koppe said people will like the air conditioning. “It got too hot inside in the summers.”
As the city keeps growing rapidly, it’s easy to focus on everything that’s vanishing. It’s also easy to forget that most changes are really positive. In this downtown city block, I see the forces of the past and future coming together nicely.