Last week, the Seattle magazine team was invited to preview the changes in progress at the Space Needle. We donned hard hats, neon orange vests, safety glasses and gloves before hopping on the elevator and entering an active construction site. The grand reveal of the new observation deck is May 25, with no opening date set for the restaurant yet. Here’s the progress we saw so far:
The construction isn’t stopping anyone from going up to the observation deck--which has been open throughout the Needle’s renovation--including this family. Currently, visitors are seeing 70 percent of what the Needle has to offer, but they are getting to experience this unique transition by getting to see both the before (wire-fence viewing area) and after (glass-panel viewing area) of the observation deck.
This machine, called the Ndulu, was made specifically for this project to help install the glass panels (each one weighs 2,300 pounds) on the observation deck. Check out those suction cups!
We’re standing under the belly of the Needle! How many of you can say that you rubbed the belly of the Needle? (We did!) Soon all the scaffolding will be gone and this space will be in open air.
These construction workers are making magic happen. They are trying to rotate this huge piece of glass in a pretty limited space. So far, no panels have been broken!
Underneath all this plywood, on the restaurant level, is the glass floor. Save for the walkway around the needle, the rotating part of the restaurant floor will be entirely composed of glass panels. The plywood is protecting the floor from damage during the construction process. An opening date for the restaurant has not been hammered down.
This big hunk of glass is actually a bench—one of many that will be placed all along the glass panels on the observation deck; sit on one, and you’ll look like you’re sitting on air. These glass panels are replacing the “wire cages” for a completely unobstructed view.