Photo: David Newman

What’s New

Story Suggestions for Seattle and Washington State

Spring 2016



Pike Place Market Grows for the First Time in 40 Years

Ground has been broken for the new “MarketFront,” a .75-acre, 30,000-square-foot public terrace and plaza that will expand the western flank of Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market. When completed in 2016, MarketFront will open panoramic views of Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains, create space for 47 new day stall tables for farmers, crafters and artists, as well as 12,000-square-feet of commercial and retail space for artisan purveyors and 40 low-income housing units for seniors. The site’s location on the western edge of the market will provide future access to the central waterfront development and create a vital link from the west to the market and downtown Seattle. The site is within the Market Historic District and was part of the Friends of the Market’s original plan for Pike Place Market. The MarketFront will complete the district, created in 1971, and will connect to the main arcade via the Desimone Bridge.

Media Contact: Emily Crawford, (206) 774 5278;

Museum of Flight Plans Massive Aviation Pavilion

The Museum of Flight’s $22 million Aviation Pavilion is underway, and will open to the public on June 25. The open-air structure will extend the length of two football fields and exhibit more than 20 commercial and military airplanes, including the original Boeing 727, 737 and 747, the 787 Dreamliner, Air Force One, Concorde airliner and the B-17, B-29 and B-47 bombers. The Pavilion will also offer a café and playground. Founded in 1965, The Museum of Flight is one of the largest air and space museums in the world and its collection includes more than 160 historically significant airplanes and spacecraft, from the first fighter plane (1914) to the world’s only full-scale NASA Space Shuttle Trainer. The museum also features the original Boeing Company factory, called the Red Barn.

Media Contact: Ted Huetter (206) 455-5360;

Seattle Aquarium Expansion Approved

In summer 2015, the Seattle City Council approved an extensive master plan and expansion for Seattle Aquarium. Conceptual design has begun on a new aquarium campus which will include a major new exhibit at the central/overlook walk location and a renovation of Piers 59 and 60. The effort will be led by architecy Marc L’Italien from EHDD in San Francisco, who designed and directed a number of similarly complex projects, including Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium master plan, design of the new Exploratorium at Pier 15 in San Francisco, and design of expansions at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Media Contact: Tim Kuniholm, (206) 386-4345;

Chihuly Garden and Glass Joins Seattle CityPASS

CityPASS has joined forces with Chihuly Garden and Glass in its Seattle CityPASS attraction book, effective March 1, 2015. Chihuly Garden and Glass joins other great Seattle attractions such as the Space Needle, Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, Seattle Aquarium, and two option tickets with the choice of visiting EMP Museum or Woodland Park Zoo and the choice of visiting the Pacific Science Center or Chihuly Garden and Glass. Adult Seattle CityPASS books are $74, while youth passes (ages 4-12) are $54. The collection of passes saves 45% of what each ticket would cost if it was purchased separately. Seattle CityPASS may be purchased at any of the included attractions or online at

Media contact: Tin Bui, Seattle CityPass; (503) 292-4418.

EverGreen Escapes Opens New Adventure Hub & Winery

EverGreen Escapes, Elsom Cellars and Kaf Adventures have joined together to create a place for inspired travel and wine, just south of downtown Seattle. The new Adventure Hub & Winery, opened March 26, features adventure travel presentations, live music and special events. It is also be a place to enjoy a glass of wine or read guide books, check outdoor conditions, plan or book customized guided experiences, hiking, backpacking or yoga activities, take mountaineering classes, or rent backpacking, camping, snow and mountaineering equipment . The venue is also available for private events. Learn more at

Media Contact: Brian Cant, Tartan Group, (250) 592.3838;

Space Needle Launches New Digital Experiences for Visitors

Built for the 1962 Age of Space World’s Fair as a symbol of the future, the Seattle Space Needle continues its legacy of innovation and creativity by offering new digital and mobile experiences for visitors. At 520 feet above the city, visitors typically gaze over downtown Seattle and plan their next stop in town. With the new Space Needle mobile app and digital kiosks like the 520 Teleporter and touchscreen SkyPad, guests can transport to a different attraction in Seattle offering alternate views and learn more about key sights in town. The new kiosks can transport visitors onto the field with the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field or climb aboard one of the famous houseboats on Lake Union. Guests can come away with more historical knowledge as well as digital photos personalized to their like. Additional elements of the new technology will continue to roll out over the coming months. Individual tickets to the Space Needle may be purchased or Seattle CityPass offers a booklet of attraction passes at a discounted price. Download the app at

Media Contact: Dave Mandapat, 206-905-2164;

Center for Wooden Boats to Open New education center

In January 2016, Seattle’s Center for Wooden Boats broke ground on its new Dick and Colleen Wagner Education Center. The 9,600-square-foot building will consist of a large boat shop, classroom space, gallery space, a visitor center and offices adjacent to the center’s existing South Lake Union site. The Center for Wooden Boats, founded in 1976, promotes the Northwest’s small-craft heritage through the preservation of historic craft used in boating lessons, outings and education.

Puget Sound Express Offers Whale Watching Tours

In March 2015, Puget Sound Express began whale watching departures from Edmonds, Wash., north of Seattle, to see orcas, humpback whales, and all the majestic wildlife in the San Juan Islands. Guests travel on a propeller-less hydrofoil that is the fastest and greenest boat in the Pacific Northwest with travel times to the San Juan Islands of just over one hour. Puget Sound and the Georgia Strait are home to some of the world’s  highest concentrations of whales and other sea life. The resident pods of orcas in the islands are the tour highlight.

Media Contact: Keven Elliff, (360) 821-9414;


Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop Exhibit Runs through Spring

The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) presents The History of Seattle Hip-Hop, September 19, 2015 – May 1, 2016. Curated by Seattle natives Jazmyn Scott (The Town Entertainment) and Aaron Walker-Loud (Big World Breaks), this interactive exhibit immerses visitors in the sights and sounds of Seattle’s growing Hip-Hop culture through audio recordings, photography, artwork, artifacts, and more. The exhibit explores many facets of the Seattle Hip-Hop scene, including graffiti, deejaying, break dancing, production, and emceeing, linking our region to the continuously evolving global Hip-Hop movement. First-person narratives and experiences of Seattle performers and artists are featured throughout the exhibit.

Media Contact: Jackie Durban, (206) 324-1126;

EMP Museum Says “Hello Kitty”

The first large-scale Hello Kitty museum retrospective in the U.S. is on display at Seattle’s EMP Museum November 14, 2015 through May 15, 2016. In celebration of the pop icon’s 40th Anniversary, Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty is organized by Sanrio, the global lifestyle brand best known for Hello Kitty, and the Japanese American National Museum, where the exhibition originated. More than 600 rare and unique pieces from Sanrio’s archives are on display. Plans are underway for the exhibition to travel to additional museums across the U.S.

Media Contact: Anita Woo, (206) 262-3245;

Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic Exhibit Joins Seattle Art Museum

The new exhibit A New Republic featuring, Kehinde Wiley, one of the leading American artists to emerge in the last decade, opened at the Seattle Art Museum in February 2016. Wiley’s portraits are highly stylized and staged, and draw attention to the dialectic between a history of aristocratic representation and the portrait as a statement of power and the individual’s sense of empowerment. Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic will run through May 8, 2016.

Media Contact: Rachel Eggers, (206) 654-3151;

Chihuly Garden and Glass Adds Mobile Hot Shop in a Retrofitted Airstream

Chihuly Garden and Glass, a long-term exhibition of Dale Chihuly’s artwork located at the Seattle Center, unveiled a new Mobile Education Hot Shop in the exhibition’s garden in spring 2015. The educational hot shop is located in a retrofitted Airstream trailer. Inside, guests can view 20-minute glass art demonstrations handled by a group of local artists from Pratt Fine Arts Center. Chihuly Garden and Glass brings together all the elements of Dale Chihuly’s work, including Drawings, signature glass series, large architectural installations and personal collections in a long-term exhibition.

Media Contact: April Matson, 206-753-4924,

Bruce Lee Exhibit Expands in Second Year

Building on the first year of its Do You Know Bruce? exhibition, the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (The Wing) digs deeper into the significance of Bruce Lee and his impact in media during a time of racial stereotypes and barriers. Year two of the two-year exhibit begins October 5, 2015 with the support of Linda and Shannon Lee and The Wing is the only museum outside of Hong Kong to present an exhibition about Bruce Lee. The exhibit presents the largest display of Green Hornet toys and collectibles ever in the U.S., personal letters from Lee’s early television career, behind-the-scene photos from the sets of Way of the Dragon and Enter the Dragon, handwritten film notes by Bruce for Game of Death and photos from his years in Seattle.

Media Contact: Margaret Su, (206) 623-5124, ext 127/

KEXP Brings Seattle Sound to Visitors and Locals

Cutting-edge Seattle music station KEXP will open its new station adjacent to the Seattle Center Campus in December 2015. The station’s new home will allow better community access, live performances, learning opportunities and more opportunities for music lovers from near and far to connect. More than 400 in-studio performances will be free and open to the public (up to 75 audience members), daily tours will be offered, educational programs are planned and the DJ booth will be visible to visitors. KEXP is known to showcase local music every hour and has hosted the longest-running local music show in the Pacific Northwest, Audioasis, which has championed local artists since 1982.

Sea-Tac International Airport Expands Music Initiative

In March 2014, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) doubled the number of live musicians playing and number of hours throughout the terminal as part of the award-winning Sea-Tac Airport Experience the City of Music Program. The artist roster features 40 local musicians seven days a week over an eight hour period in up to three different locations throughout the terminal. The program is a private/public partnership between Sea-Tac Airport, the Seattle Music Commission, and PlayNetwork. The program includes overhead music in common areas, live artist performances in the terminal, artist-recorded overhead announcements, curated videos on terminal and baggage claim monitors, and a multi-channel web radio player available through the free airport Wi-Fi network. In just the first year of the overall music program, the airport playlist has grown to 630 songs with 204 Northwest artists volunteering their time to tape overhead welcome, security and informational announcements including such diverse artists as Macklemore, Ben Gibbard, Ann Wilson, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Jerry Cantrell, Quincy Jones, Ludovic Morlot, Brandi Carlile, John Popper, Allen Stone and many more. Travelers can submit feedback or let the airport know what they are hearing by following @SeaTacAirport on Twitter and using #SEACityofMusic.

 Media Contact: Perry Cooper, Port of Seattle, (206) 787-4923;

Bumbershoot 2016 Pre-Sale Begins

Pre-sale three-day weekend passes and three-day VIP passes for Bumbershoot 2016 are on sale now. The 46th annual end-of-summer music festival will take place at Seattle Center on September 2-4, 2016. Bumbershoot’s diverse programming includes live music, comedy, theatre, film, visual arts, dance performances, and more. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit

Yves Saint Laurent Comes to Seattle Art Museum

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) presents Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style, Oct 11 2016 – Jan 16 2017. The exhibit will showcase highlights from the legendary designer’s 44-year career. Drawn from the collection of the Fondation Pierre Bergé—Yves Saint Laurent, the exhibition features new acquisitions by the Foundation that have never been shown publicly before, including a selection of 100 haute couture garments, photographs, drawings, films and other multimedia elements from the Foundation’s vast archive. Visitors will observe Saint Laurent’s immersive working process from his first sketch and fabric selection to the various stages of production and fitting before the final garment was realized. The exhibition is organized by the Seattle Art Museum in partnership with the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, Paris.

Pacific Science Center Presents Chinese Terracotta Warriors in 2017

Seattle’s Pacific Science Center and The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia will present Terracotta Warriors, a one-of-a-kind exhibition that will premiere at Pacific Science Center for a limited five-month run in spring 2017. Exact dates have not been announced for the limited two-city tour. Tickets will be available to the public fall of 2016. The honorary exhibit co-chairs are the Honorable Gary Locke, former Governor of Washington, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and U.S. Ambassador to China, and Mona Locke, senior vice president of corporate communications and marketing for Intellectual Ventures, and a former television reporter and nonprofit executive.


Taste Washington Features New Wineries and All Star Chefs

Now in its 19th year, Taste Washington, Seattle’s premier wine and food event includes four exciting days of wine tastings, farm excursions, chef demonstrations and educational seminars. From March 31-April 3, 2016, more than 225 Washington wineries and 65 Pacific Northwest restaurants can be found throughout the following Taste Washington events:  the red & white party, March 31; Taste Washington on the farm and the New Vintage, April 1; and the Grand Tasting and educational seminars, April 2 and 3.

Taste Washington has partnered with more than a dozen Seattle area hotels to offer exclusive hotel packages for the four-day event. Visitors can enjoy a wine and food getaway by booking hotel packages at or calling the hotel directly.

Media Contact: Kauilani Robinson, Visit Seattle, (206) 461-5839;

Chef Ethan Stowell Creates New Restaurant for Four Seasons Hotel Seattle

The Four Seasons Hotel Seattle and Seattle Restaurateur Ethan Stowell opened Goldfinch Tavern in May 2015 inside the five-star hotel’s lobby level. Led by Chef Joe Ritchie, the restaurant offers simply prepared Pacific Northwest cuisine using the finest local ingredients. The variety allows for several plates to be shared family-style, or one can order as a coursed meal. The center bar anchors the restaurant and the addition of a fireplace in the bar area lends to the warmth of the room. Floor-to-ceiling windows give guests views of Elliott Bay, the Seattle Great Wheel and the Olympic Mountains. The restaurant seats 183, including two private dining rooms with space for 16 people in each. Stowell, who was named one of the Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine in 2008 then chosen as a Best New Chef All-Star in 2013, conceptualized the menu with Ritchie. The redesign was led by EDG Interior Architecture & Design.

 Media contacts: Kirsten Graham, (206) 890-3435;

Meg Paynor, Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, (206) 913-3848;

Starbucks and Star Chef Join Forces

Seattle-based Starbucks opened the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in December 2015. The hybrid roastery/coffee shop in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood features roasting operations that are viewable by visitors and the building also features a Serious Pie restaurant, the highly successful franchise of Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas. The 50-seat pizza eatery incorporates coffee into its menu as well.

Media contact: Pamela Hinckley, (206) 604-1442;

850 Wineries and Counting

In 2015, Washington is the nation’s second-largest producer of premium wines and boasts more than 850 wineries across 13 American Vitacultural Areas (AVAs). Some 350 wine grape growers produce more than 40 wine varietals. Washington wines made the 2014 “top” lists of Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator and Wine & Spirits in 2014. The combined best-of lists included 32 wineries and 35 different wines from the State. Throughout the year, these publications each score and review approximately 18,000 submissions from around the world and then name their most celebrated wines in the following categories: Top 100 Best Buys, Top 100 Cellar Selections, Top 100 Values, Top 100 Most Exciting Wines, Top 100 Wines of the Year and the Top 100 Wineries of the Year.

Washington State’s Cider Revolution

Hard cider is the fastest growing sector of the alcohol market with sales tripling since 2007, according to the Northwest Cider Association. The association includes more than 30 cider makers and 15 cideries, many of whom are apple growers as well as early adopters of premium cidermaking. Washington produces more apples than any other state in the U.S. and that, combined with a young but robust heritage of cider making explain why Washington State leads the U.S. in premium cider production. Some top ciders in Washington include Tieton Cider Works, Finnriver Cidery and Seattle Cider Co. Increasingly, bars, restaurants, wineries and breweries are giving cider their own taps. With 32 hard ciders on tap and over 250 hand-selected ciders from around the world, the Schilling Cider House in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood boasts the largest selection of draft hard ciders in the nation. Other cider tasting rooms are springing open, including several in Seattle: Beveridge Place Pub; Full Throttle Bottles; 99 Bottles; The Noble Fir and the Sixgill; and Capitol Cider.

Craft Beer and Ale Builds on Heritage and Regional Products

Washington’s Yakima Valley produces 77 percent of the hops used in U.S. beer production and Seattle is home to some of the nation’s first microbreweries and is often cited along with Portland for forging the craft beer and ale trail. The pioneer brewing spirit continues with a 25 percent increase in Washington craft breweries since 2014. The state currently has 297 craft breweries in operation, second only to California, and there are 80 craft breweries operating in the Seattle area. By comparison, Portland, Oregon, has 61 breweries and Oregon has 234 breweries.

Craft Distilleries and Tours Grow

Along with wineries and breweries, distilleries are now growing in the city and throughout western Washington. Passed in 2008, the Washington State Distillery Law now allows smaller distillers to operate with a craft distillery license, the first time since prohibition. The new law lowered craft distillers’ licensing fees from $2,000 to $100 and raised the amount of spirits a craft distillery can distill from 20,000 to 60,000 gallons annually. The law also allows for on-site tasting, bottle sales and facility tours. Dozens of new distilleries are now operating and distill absinthe, whiskey, grappa, gin, rum and vodka. Distilleries are required to use 51 percent state-sourced ingredients. Local Craft Tours’ Distillery Tour features three distillery visits and 12 spirit tastings, including award-winning vodkas and whiskeys. Local artisanal snacks and luxury transportation are provided. The newest tour, inaugurated in 2014, is Downtown Brown, focusing on the Emerald City’s craft whiskey and bourbon offerings and featuring three of Seattle’s hottest craft distilleries. Group tours are available.

Eat Seattle Offers New Pike Place Market Tours and Classes

New chef-guided tasting tours of Pike Place Market and hands-on cooking classes are featured by Eat Seattle. A two-hour tasting tour of Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market takes guests on a journey through Pacific Northwest culture. The tour features artisan vendors and tips on where

the chefs shop, how they select their seasonal produce and daily proteins. Eat Seattle also offers a new, 3 ½ hour farm-to-table cooking class and produce tour through the Pike Place Market, guided by the chef who will explain the local and seasonal produce as she selects the ingredients for the 3-course menu to be cooked. The tour concludes in the Atrium Kitchen where the chef guides guests in preparing the menu and provides tips on cooking techniques.

Media Contact: Michelle Sanders Leyva, (206) 858-8135;

Tom Douglas Opens The Carlile Room

In summer 2015, Douglas opened The Carlile Room at Ninth Avenue and Pike Street; inspired by singer Brandi Carlile, his newest restaurant has been described as equal parts bar, restaurant, pool hall and sporting goods store.

 Media contact: Pamela Hinckley, (206) 604-1442;

Pop-Up Restaurants are Popping Up in Seattle

Chef-driven, after-hours pop-up concepts in and around Seattle include options from the award-winning Café Juanita in the former Old Lark space, a Mexican-Chinese pop-up at Ballard’s Bloom restaurant called Chinese Laundry, Parchment Bakery located at Brimmer & Heeltap on two Sundays each month, and Vashon Island’s Meat & Noodle ramen pop-up.

Josh Henderson to Open Six New Seattle Restaurants

Executive Chef and founder of Huxley Wallace Collective, Josh Henderson is opening six new restaurant concepts throughout the Seattle area in 2016. Adding to the already-popular Quality Athletics sports bar in Pioneer Square and South Lake Union’s Westward, Huxley Wallace’s newest concept of Great State Burger opened in early February 2016. More to come include American-style brasserie Saint Helens located in Laurelhurst; chef’s counter, Vestal in South Lake Union; taproom-lounge, Cantine; taqueria Bar Noroeste; and a rotisseries chicken take-out window, Poulet Galore. Josh Henderson will also be serving up new restaurant concepts in the Thompson Seattle hotel, opening in 2016. There, he will open Scout restaurant with an 18-sea chef’s table and The Nest rooftop bar.

Media Contact: Lesa Linster, (206) 550-1200,


Seattle’s Largest Hotel Planned

In July 2015, a ruling by Seattle’s city hearing examiner cleared the way for developer R.C. Hedreen Co.’s 8th & Howell hotel project, which will be the largest hotel north of San Francisco. Seattle developer R.C. Hedreen Co. plans to build the new headquarters hotel two blocks north of the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC and adjacent to a planned future WSCC sister facility.)  The new hotel will be one of the largest on the Pacific Coast when it is expected to open in 2018. Located in the heart of downtown Seattle between Stewart and Howell streets and Eighth and Ninth avenues, the $450 million, 45-story building will include 1,260 hotel guest rooms,  approximately 105,000 square feet of meeting and ballroom space, and nearly 30,000 square feet of restaurants, lounges and bars enlivening the pedestrian streetscape. The Hotel operator is expected to be announced this spring.

Kimpton Opens Fourth Downtown Seattle Hotel

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants opened a new four-star hotel in downtown Seattle in February of 2015. An adaptive reuse of the landmark Palladian Building, originally built in 1910 as the Calhoun Hotel, is now the new Palladian hotel. The newly renovated 97-room property includes two new culinary concepts by Chef Walter Pisano. The first is a modern fresh seafood restaurant (Shaker + Spear) and an old-world style bar (Pennyroyal) all with an edgy urban vibe. The new hotel is just steps away from Pike Place Market and other downtown attractions. This is Kimpton’s fourth Seattle property, joining the existing Hotel Monaco, Hotel Vintage and the Alexis Hotel.

Media Contact: Brandyn Hull, (206) 340-6678;

Style, Luxury and Service (SLS) to Open in Seattle

Ground has broken for the new SLS Four Star hotel on Fifth Avenue and Columbia St. The new luxury hotel will be part of a new 660-foot skyscraper in downtown Seattle. The 43-story tower is scheduled to open in 2017 with a 15-story hotel consisting of 184 rooms. The hotel will have a full luxury spa with a pool, 15,000 square feet of meeting space, a 5,000 square-foot ballroom, a sky lounge, restaurants and fitness center.

First Thompson Hotel in the Pacific Northwest Announced

Commune Hotels & Resorts plans a new property under the Thompson Hotels flag at 1st Avenue and Stewart Street in downtown Seattle near the Pike Place Market. The 158-guest room hotel will be part of a 12-story mixed used development that also features residential and retail. The hotel is expected to open in May 2016.

Fairmont Olympic Announces Major Renovation

The Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle will began a $25 million renovation of all 450 guest rooms and corridors, soft goods, hard goods and bathrooms in December 2015. Completion is scheduled for early July 2016. The renovation will be completed floor-by-floor, utilizing buffer floors to maximize current guest experience.

Media Contact: Casey Barks, (206) 858-3433;

Hotel Clare Planned for Downtown Seattle

Pineapple Hospitality plans the 208-guest room Hotel Clare at 2nd Avenue and Virginia near the Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. The project will be developed by Columbia West and is scheduled for completion in 2018.

Stadium Place Project to Include Hotel

Phase 2 of the mixed use Stadium Place Project just north of Seattle’s CenturyLink Field will include a 282-guest room Embassy Suites Hotel. The project located at 255 S. King Street is being developed by American Life, Inc. and plans call for opening in 2017.

Hyatt House Opens Near Space Needle

A new Hyatt property in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood, designed by Johnson Braund Design Group, opened in July 2015 and consists of an eight-story, 172-guest room hotel on the streets surrounding the Seattle Center campus. This project is the second Seattle Hyatt development led by Kauri Investments Ltd. in the last three years, with the Hyatt Place Seattle/Downtown opening in June 2010.

Hilton Garden Opens in Downtown Seattle

A 222-room Hilton Garden hotel opened in July 2015 on Boren Avenue near the Washington State Convention Center. The hotel offers more than 2,000 square feet of versatile meeting space. Six of its guestrooms will be suites.

Media Contact: Carol Lobaito, (206) 631-8040;

Residence Inn to Open in U-District

The Residence Inn – University District opened in summer 2015 with 165 studio and one-bedroom suites, a 1,200-square-foot meeting room and 400 square-foot board room. The new property will be within walking distance of the University of Washington (UW) and UW Medical Center.

Media Contact: Julie Mackey, (206) 322-8887;

Seattle Marriott Bellevue Opens

The first full-service hotel in downtown Bellevue (just east of Seattle) opened in June 2015. The Seattle Marriott Hotel Bellevue offered 384 guestrooms, 21,000 square feet of event space that includes a 6,200-foot ballroom and 17 meeting rooms.

Media Contact: Bruce Janzen, (425) 429-5189;

W Bellevue Planned

W Hotels, a brand of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, plans to open a 245-room hotel in Bellevue, WA, five miles east of Seattle. The new property will be located in the Lincoln Square development amid a thriving retail and entertainment district. Plans call for opening in spring 2017. The hotel will occupy the first 13 stories of the 41-story tower, with 231 apartments on the next 28 floors. Some 180,000 square feet of retail will contribute to a $1.2 billion expansion of the Bellevue Collection. The 424-room W Seattle opened in downtown Seattle in 1999.


Convention Center (WSCC) Plans Additional Facility

The Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) continues to undertake extensive feasibility studies and work on an environmental impact study for an additional convention facility at the King County-owned Metro Transit station, one block from the existing WSCC facility. This site, augmented by certain adjacent properties, could yield an additional facility to the existing WSCC – one large enough to successfully attract the size of national conventions that want to come to Seattle. Seattle’s Pine Street Group has been selected as project manager and LMN Architects is working on early concept design for the program spaces. A general contractor will be hired this year. The overall development is currently envisioned with up to 250,000 square feet of heavy-load exhibition space on two levels, 120,000 square feet of meeting rooms, a full service kitchen and 60,000 square feet of ballroom, freight loading and support space, as well as certain transit operations, retail, and potential private co-development. If the signs remain positive, construction could start in early 2017 with projected opening in 2020.

Washington State Convention Center Completes Major Refurbishment, Adds Bandwidth

The Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) recently completed a $20 million refurbishment of its downtown Seattle facility. The updates took place in multiple phases throughout 2014, concluding with updates to ceilings, lighting public spaces and the facility’s exterior. The largest portion of work was scheduled during times with the least impact on events. Lobbies and pre-function spaces throughout the WSCC have recently been fitted with wood and leather couches, benches and arm chairs and two new fireplaces to create an inviting environment for visitors. Way finding was enhanced with new digital meeting room signage and completely redesigned directional signage. Many pieces of local art on display work to establish a strong sense of place that is tied to the Pacific Northwest.

In late 2015, the convention center underwent a major upgrade of wireless and fiber optic connectivity at its downtown Seattle facility. The convention center increased Internet bandwidth from one to 10 gigabits and increased wireless access points from 75 to a total of 180, replacing all switches and routers to the latest Cisco Edge gear. The refurbishment also replaced all multi-mode fiber optic cable and Cat 5 copper cable with single-mode fiber optic cable and Cat 6 copper cable.

Illuminating Public Art at the Washington State Convention Center

The Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) has partnered with a new mobile app STQRY (“pronounced “story”) to showcase its popular public art collection of over 100 works on display. STQRY provides a novel, interactive way for visitors to actively engage with arts, culture, science, and other attractions in their area, and the WSCC is the first convention center to be featured on the app. Using STQRY on a mobile device, visitors can easily locate and explore sculpture, paintings, multimedia, and other works on display at WSCC. Other organizations participating with STQRY include many of WSCC’s art partners such artists, museums, galleries, corporations, foundations, private collectors and the government.


Seattle Cruises, Passengers Grow

The Port of Seattle’s 2016 cruise season, which runs April 29 through October 21, features 203 sailings and passenger volumes of 479,922. Cruises from Seattle to Alaska’s Inside Passage include seven-, 10- and 14-day itineraries. The industry generates $2.5 million with each vessel call and $441 million in total annual business revenue for the city and region. Some 3,647 regional jobs are sustained by the local cruise industry. 2016 Seattle Homeport cruise lines included Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean.


Norwegian Cruise Line Signs Historic Lease with the Port of Seattle

The Port of Seattle signed an unprecedented 15-year lease with Norwegian Cruise Lines to operate out of the Bell Street Cruise Terminal at Pier 66. The lease agreement includes a shared facility upgrade plan of nearly $30 million, investing in terminal improvements to allow Pier 66 to better accommodate modern cruise ships with larger passenger capacities. Norwegian Cruise Line will charter more than 40 ships out of Seattle between May and September 2016.


Seattle’s Light Rail System Expands

Beginning March 19, 2016, the University Link extension to Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail will be open to passengers. The 3.1-mile extension includes two new stations in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and at the University of Washington, near Husky Stadium. The University Link extension will connect the already 15.6-miles of Link Light Rail that opened in 2009. Passenger will be able to ride from the University of Washington to downtown Seattle in less than eight minutes, and to Sea-Tac International Airport in less than an hour.  This project will serve the three largest urban centers in the state of Washington – downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill and the University District – bypassing some of the most congested traffic in the region.

Riding Sound Transit’s Link Light to Sea-Tac International Airport became easier than ever in September 2015. Sound Transit added more trains at peak travel hours to accommodate commuters and guests, with trains now arriving every six minutes between 6:00-8:30 a.m. and 3:00- 6:30 p.m. Trains will continue to arrive at stations approximately every 10 minutes most other hours.

Media Contact: Bruce Gray, Sound Transit, 206-398-5069;

Seattle Streetcar Connects City History with Trendiest Neighborhood

Seattle’s streetcar system expanded to a new route with 10 stops, connecting some of Seattle’s most vibrant neighborhoods. The First Hill Streetcar began service in January 2016, running 2.5 miles connecting historic Pioneer Square and trendy Capitol Hill.  The street-level street cars provide reliable, frequent service with headways of approximately 10 minutes during peak periods.

New Transit Smart Card Designed with Visitors in Mind

Seattle’s regional transit agencies teamed up to launch a Regional Day Pass program designed to make it easier and more affordable for visitors to get around. There are two new pass products that can be added to the regional ORCA card:

  • An $8 Regional Day Pass for adult riders valid for unlimited rides on services with fares up to $3.50
  • A $4 Regional Day Pass for ORCA Regional Reduced Fare Permit (RRFP) valid for unlimited rides on services with fares up to $1.75.

Day passes are also available where ORCA cards are sold and revalued. Regional Day Passes are accepted on bus, light rail, commuter rail, streetcar and foot ferry services. Learn more about ORCA or purchase cards and products at


Seattle-Tacoma International Sees Record Growth, Plans Infrastructure Improvements

For the fifth straight year, passenger traffic at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) increased. With record-setting 42.3 million overall travelers, Sea-Tac passenger levels increased nearly 13 percent, including a 14.6 percent increase for international travelers, according to the Port of Seattle. Sea-Tac remains one of the fastest growing large hub airports in the U.S. Throughout 2015, Sea-Tac saw the introduction or announcement of 30 new services on five different airlines, including five new (previously unserved) nonstop destinations: Charleston; Dallas-Love Field; Helena; Oklahoma City; and Raleigh/Durham.

International traffic continues to grow at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac). Since 2010, long-haul international passengers have increased nearly 80 percent and all international passenger traffic (including Canada and Mexico) has increased more than 60 percent. In 2015, Sea-Tac welcomed more than 4.4 million international passengers. During the past ten years, Sea-Tac has added 14 new intercontinental services. Sea-Tac currently has 19 intercontinental nonstop services to six cities in Asia (Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo), five cities in Europe (Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Paris, and Reykjavik) and Dubai.

Airport projects over the next five years total $1.9 billion, including renovation and expansion of the north satellite, a new International Arrivals Facility, a new centralized, high-efficiency baggage system, and the reconstruction of the center runway (completed in December 2015). Airport officials are considering up to $10 billion on future facility upgrades as part of a Sustainable Airport Master Plan, including an estimated 35 additional gates.

Delta to Add Destinations and Flights to Seattle

Delta Air Lines, Seattle’s second-largest carrier, plans to add 10 new destinations between November 2015 and May 2016 to and from Sea-Tac International Airport. New destinations include: Billings, Mont.; Boston; Cancun, Mexico; Edmonton, Alberta; Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island; Missoula, Mont.; Orange County; Orlando; Pasco, Wash.; and Victoria, British Columbia. Some service may be operated by Delta Connection carriers SkyWest Airlines and Compass Airlines.

By June 2016, Delta Air Lines will also offer more than 140 peak-day departures to 44 destinations, including eight international destinations in Europe and Asia. In addition to additional destinations and departure times to and from Sea-Tac, Delta Air Lines is also investing within the airport. Delta will open a 21,000 square foot Delta Sky Club in late 2016, located between Concourses A and B, this will be the second Delta Sky Club in Sea-Tac International Airport.

Alaska Airlines Plans Seattle Service between Nashville, Charleston and Raleigh-Durham

In fall 2015, Alaska Airlines began nonstop flights from Seattle to Nashville, Tenn., Charleston, S.C. and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Nashville flights began Sept. 23; service to Raleigh-Durham began Oct. 1; and flights to Charleston started Nov. 16.  There is one daily round trip flight between Seattle-Nashville and Seattle-Raleigh-Durham. Seattle-Charleston flights are on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. 

Emirates Airlines Adds Second Daily Flight to Seattle

Dubai-based Emirates Air added a second daily flight between Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Seattle July 1, 2015. The new flight uses a 266-seat Boeing 777-200LR aircraft with 8 first class, 42 Business class, and 216 Economy class seats. Emirates inaugurated daily, nonstop flights to Seattle in March 2012 and added another 80 seats with a larger aircraft in May 2014.

Delta Air Lines Offers Non-Stop Service from Hong Kong and Seoul to Seattle

Delta Airlines began daily nonstop service between Seattle and Hong Kong on June 16, 2014 and Seoul on June 2, 2014. The routes are the thirteenth and fourteenth additions, respectively, in new international routes at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport since 2007.

New Heathrow-Seattle Service with new Delta-Virgin Venture, March 2014

Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. began new nonstop service between Seattle and London-Heathrow, March 29, 2014.

New Hainan Airlines Begins Non-Stop Service from Shanghai to Seattle

In June 2015, Hainan Airlines began its non-stop service from Shanghai to Seattle. The Seattle-Shanghai flights are on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

 Media contacts:

David Blandford, (206) 461-5806,

Kauilani Robinson, (206) 461-5839;

Heather Bryant, (206) 461-5805;





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