Mithun is working on a master plan to revitalize Seattle’s Pike Place Market

For more than a hundred years, Pike Place Market has embodied the spirit of Seattle. It now faces a variety of challenges: the loss of local customers, costs outpacing revenues, aging infrastructure, and sustainability concerns.

In response to these concerns the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority (PDA) has introduced a 50-year master plan. The plan hopes to maintain the market’s character while addressing three goals: ensuring long-term financial sustainability, increasing local patronage, and advancing a more equitable and inclusive market. To complete the job, the PDA has tasked three consulting groups—HR&A Advisors, BERK Consulting, and MRA International—as well as Seattle-based design firm Mithun.

outdoor seating under red umbrellas
The plan looks 50 years to the future. (Pike Place Market PDA)

The new master plan comes after an ongoing renovation of Seattle’s waterfront—adjacent to the market—which began in 2019. The same year, the PDA voted to develop the master plan. Work was halted during COVID-19 before restarting in 2022 with the selection of the assembled project team. Since then, the PDA has invested in significant community engagement, incorporating feedback from surveys, open house events, and discussion groups into the final master plan.

“The Pike Place Market Master Plan ensures the authentic preservation of our beloved Market while paving the way for a thriving future,” said Mary Bacarella, executive director of the PDA. “This plan honors our historic purpose and commitment to the community.”

Accessibility and sustainability are top priorities. Among the four key strategies created to meet the PDA’s goals is “sustainable physical investments to maintain and adapt the market.” More specifically, changes will be made along First Avenue to the market’s entrances and gathering spaces to improve wayfinding and reduce visitor crowding. The market will also aim to achieve low-waste, low-carbon operations.

illustration of pike place market
Changes will be made along First Avenue to the market’s entrances and gathering spaces. (Pike Place Market PDA)

The plan proposes attracting locals through re-energizing the market’s local farmer program and fostering a “thriving ecosystem” of local businesses. Corresponding initiatives include introducing temporary spaces for small business incubation and offering technical assistance programs to support entrepreneurship. The final strategy sets out to strengthen advocacy efforts through improving the market’s social services, such as the Pike Market Food Bank.

As outlined in the a press release for the plan, the PDA ultimately intends to build a better future for the market while honoring its historic past: “The Master Plan charts a course for the Market’s sustained success while honoring its rich heritage and authentic character.”

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