Municipal Market, Marketfront

The MarketFront Pavilion

The MarketFront Pavilion

Continue west through the Desimone Bridge and out to the Marketfront Pavilion. The Municipal Market, now destroyed, once stood here. It featured a crenellated roofline and concrete stucco cladding, which was mirrored by the original bridge. It was the last of the major addition the Goodwins would make to the Market. Built during the era of Arthur Goodwin’s management, it reflected his personality, just as the utilitarian and anonymous structures built under Frank’s guidance reflected his. Featuring an area south of the bridge specifically devoted to meat market stalls, nearby refrigeration units, men’s and women’s restrooms and a continuous flow of farm stalls into the bridge area from the North Arcade, the aesthetic nonetheless continued to convey function over form. Overflow farm stalls remained in use in the Municipal Market until 1941, although by that time most of the space had been repurposed into stores.

To boost patronage to the newest addition to the Market, Arthur hired vaudeville performers to put on daily shows, a technique that would be replicated at the Crystal Market in Tacoma. One reviewer in Variety reported that “Market vaude is done presentation-style with an MC announcing the turns. Five daily shows are offered…Customers are given folding chairs and they act as their own ushers…The acts are paid of partly in oranges, apples, etc.” These were discontinued during the Great Depression.

A fire in 1961 gutted the upper floor areas of the Municipal Market, although the Western Avenue shops and lower parking area continued to be in use until the 1977 rehabilitation project. At this time the remaining portions of the Municipal Market had seriously deteriorated and were located outside the bounds of the historic district. This area was left as a street-level parking lot until 2017.

With the proliferation of the latest ‘gold rush’ to strike Seattle, this time in the form of technology, Seattle seized an opportunity in 2015 to begin construction on its first new market building in 40 years. The MarketFront, its utilitarian simplicity inspired by the framework laid out by the Goodwins, opened to the public in summer of 2017, creating 47 new day-stalls, 40 new units of low-income senior housing with seven live/work units, more parking, and the Market Commons — a community outreach center hosted by the Pike Place Market Foundation. In 2019 the MarketFront was recognized by the American Institute of Architects, and received an award for Regional & Urban Design Excellence. Meanwhile, the Market PDA and the City of Seattle were working together to create a design connecting the MarketFront to the central waterfront once again to be called the Overlook Walk.

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