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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Free At Last

posted by on October 21 at 10:59 AM

Those dead telecommunication thingies have been removed from the top of King Street Station!
-2.jpg What a difference! The tower looks much, much better. It almost looks alert and handsome. But, still, why has the progress of this and other improvements been so slow? Slower than a snail. Slower than a glacier. So, so, slow.

Note: the images are by Bellen Drake.

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Hey Charles... Have you noticed that the clock works now?

Posted by DOUG. | October 21, 2008 11:33 AM

Slow... because stuff costs money? And money is scarce? Slow or not, King St. Station is a magnificent landmark that will, in time, be restored and ever more thoroughly reused.

Posted by DC | October 21, 2008 11:38 AM

charles, if you talk anything like how you write i would kill myself after 2 minutes of conversation

Posted by brian | October 21, 2008 11:42 AM

Charles Darling, here's the scoop: When Amtrak was formed in 1971 (Nixon-era Corporate Welfare) the railroads agreed to a lot of things, most of which they only half-heartedly carried through on. One of the things was that they would rent the stations to Amtrak for a buck a year (or something like that).

This actually worked fairly well for Seattle until the mid 80's or so, when the Burlington Northern moved out of the offices on the upper floors of the station. At that point, any interest they had in keeping the building maintained went away.

Still, they realized they had a valuable piece of property on their hands. They couldn't tear it down (landmark status) but they could use it as a bargaining chip to get concessions from the state and the city.

So they tried to give it to the state, but there were issues there. After several years of negotiations, the deal fell through.

Next, they approached the city. This time, it was successful, but it took several years of negotiating to get what they wanted (mostly some viaducts and elimination of grade crossings).

The City took possession earlier this year, and that's when you started seeing progress - they couldn't spend money on it until it was in their name. Even the title transfer took a year or so.

Now that the city owns it, the clocks have been repaired, the microwave stuff has come off the tower, the roof is in the process of being replaced with a new roof that resembles the original tile roof, the brick is being cleaned, and the windows are being repaired.

Once the exterior work is done, they will move into the inside of the building - that's when they will remove that horrible false ceiling in the waiting room, and relocate the ticket counter to the old dining room space.

I agree that it's been agonizingly long. But it's looking up now.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | October 21, 2008 1:16 PM


Posted by Eliza | October 21, 2008 5:21 PM

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