The Aquarium is actively engaged in the Central Waterfront and Elliott Bay Seawall planning process based upon replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct with the new SR 99 tunnel creating new public spaces along the waterfront.
In a public meeting Thursday night (July 12), the Central Waterfront Committee and landscape architect James Corner presented the latest concepts for a transformed Seattle Waterfront reconnected to the City once the Seawall is replaced and the Viaduct is removed.
At this meeting, civic leaders emphasized that this vision is now getting “real” because it includes a timeline for project development over the next eight years and a funding plan that targets a mix of public and private funding; they emphasized that 60% of the funding is already secured or pending. The Central Waterfront Concept Design and Framework Plan has been transmitted to the City Council for review, and will be considered at a July 16 City Council special meeting.
The Aquarium is identified and affirmed as a key element in this new Waterfront Plan. It is targeted for $40-$50m of City investment, with expansion space south of Pier 59 and under the Overlook Walk (which is a new and striking connection to the Pike Place Market) providing for doubling the square footage of the Aquarium over several phases of investment and construction. The construction of the Overlook Walk will vastly increase pedestrian traffic past the door of the Aquarium.
The Strategic Plan was developed by the volunteer community representatives and leaders who make up the Central Waterfront Committee. The Committee was created by the City of Seattle to advise the Mayor and City Council on the Waterfront Improvement Program, with broad oversight of design, financing, public engagement, and long-term operations and maintenance.