King Street Station Renovation, Washington

King Street Station is one of the largest railway stations located in King County, Seattle, the largest city in the state of Washington, US.


Seattle, Washington

Construction Commenced

Summer 2008


April 2013

Estimated Investment



King Street Station is one of the largest railway stations located in King County, Seattle, the largest city in the state of Washington, US. The station renovation project began in 2008 and was completed in April 2013. The project was sponsored by Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the City of Seattle.

The station provided service to more than four million passengers in 2010. Since its opening, the station exterior has remained the same, but some of the interiors were altered and some of them also suffered neglect.

City of Seattle purchased the station in 2008 and undertook a project to improve the station facilities and restore the neglected and damaged infrastructure. The restoration was carried out with an estimated investment of $50m.

History of King County’s largest rail station and renovation

"The funding included WSDOT’s contribution of $16.7m under its federal high-speed rail funds."

King Street Station was built in May 1906. It was designed by the architectural firm Reed and Stem. It has a three-storey building and a twelve-storey clock tower. The clock tower at the station was built with the inspiration of the San Marco bell tower in Venice, Italy. The ground floor of the station was clad in granite and the walls of the second and third floors and the clock tower were constructed using pressed brick and terra cotta elements.

The purpose of the station renovation project was to improve the public safety and prolong the life of the building by strengthening the building walls and the clock tower. The project also aimed to improve the customer experience at the station and to restore the historical features of the station, while creating a modernised train station.

Construction phases constituting King Street Station’s restoration

The construction was divided into many phases. The initial phase of construction began in summer 2008 and was completed in July 2009. In this phase of construction, the roof of the station was fully restored by using new terra cotta tiles, the broken tiles on the pyramid above the clock were replaced with salvaged glass, and four clocks were repaired.

"The station renovation project began in 2008 and was completed by April 2013. The project was sponsored by WSDOT and the City of Seattle."

The next phase of construction was completed in August 2011. In this phase about 36 geothermic wells reaching to more than 300ft were drilled at the station for installing heating and cooling systems, while electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems were upgraded and a non-functioning escalator was removed to restore the station façade.

The Jackson Street Plaza was transformed into a new public pedestrian plaza, and the drop-ceiling in the main waiting room was removed.

Upgrade works on the Amtrak baggage, ticketing and office facilities began in March 2011 and were completed in May 2012.

The last phase of construction at the station began in March 2012. Its cost was estimated at $24m. It included seismic upgrades, interior and exterior architectural details and completion of mechanical and electrical systems.

Services running into the transport hub and passenger facilities

The station is the main transportation hub and gateway into Seattle. It provides services to the trains operating on those rail lines, including along the Amtrak Cascades and Coast Starlight routes.

It provides connections to the Sound Transit commuter rail and light rail services, as well as local and regional buses. It also provides services for the Seattle’s First Hill Streetca.

The passenger facilities at the station include three island platforms, nine tracks, rest rooms and a baggage checking area.

Contractors involved with Seattle’s railway station’s upgrade works

The station renovation was designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects. The $26.5m project management contract for the renovation was awarded to Shiels Obletz Johnsen (SOJ).

Sellen Construction was awarded the general construction contract. The station roof replacement contract was awarded to Biwell Construction. Otak was awarded the contract to provide service as the prime consultant for design and engineering consultation for the rehabilitation of the Compass Room, new restrooms and an expanded passenger waiting lobby.

Financing King Street Station’s renovations, in the state of Washington

The total cost of renovating the King Street Station was about $50m. It was funded to the tune of $40m by the federal, state and city governments.

The funding included WSDOT’s contribution of $16.7m under its federal high-speed rail funds. About $10m was provided from the City of Seattle’s ‘Bridging the Gap’ transportation levy. ‘Bridging the Gap’ is a nine-year, $365m levy, which was passed by Seattle voters in 2006.

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