Pleased as punch to be sprung from SoDo on this rare sunny day, Seattle mag staffers were treated to a tour of what's next for the 50-year-old Seattle Center. Youbetcha, things are changing down there, with the arrival of SIFF and VERA Project and the planned new KEXP headquarters (which will be built out of awesome), major renovation of the Food Court (goodbye, food-on-a-stick; hello, big, tall windows, outdoor patio seating, a rooftop promenade and...dare we hope?...a beer garden!) and the ambitious, enormous new museum being built where the Fun Forest used to be. That's it in the photo above; not much to look at, so let me draw you a picture. The big frumpy 70's building you see there used to house lasertag and whatnot; soon it will house 12,000 square feet of pretty glass thingys by Chihuly. The big hole being dug out front is for the foundation of a 16,000-foot garden with a huge glass greenhouse structure (and outdoor glass chandeliers!); check out a rendering of the Chihuly Garden and Glass to see more.
Plans, they've got big plans down there at the Center; if it all gets approved and paid for, we'll be looking at a very different public gathering place in a few years. A place with fewer cement walls and more glass windows (and even glass roofs); with playgrounds and a splashpool and winter skating rink, with less kitsch and clutter and more upscale cuisine and outdoor dining, more relevance. A place where you'll want to stroll, because there will be so much to see and do. As a kid, I thought the Bubbleator was a thrill ride; as a teen, I got sick more than once riding the zipper. Now, as an adult, I'm thrilled to see the Center's growing up, too.