After more than a year and a half in the making, public officials unveiled architects’ hopes and vision for Seattle’s new waterfront on March 5. The conceptual drawings are ambitious, with plans for a waterside wave pool, hot tubs, and even a gondola. “Around the central waterfront would be a 26-block promenade from the Stadium District to the Olympic Sculpture Park and, at its center, nine acres of new public plazas, water features, terraced gardens, and a seasonal swimming-pool barge — complete with hot tubs and changing rooms — tied up at Piers 62 and 63,” The Seattle Times explains.
Landscape architect James Corner teamed up with several Seattle officials to conceptualize the renovation project and draw up tentative plans. The Griffith’s family, owners of Pier 57’s Great Wheel, wish to contribute by constructing a gondola “that would run along Union Street from the Washington State Convention and Trade Center to the waterfront with a stop at Pike Place Market,” according to NPR. The overhaul would come at an incredible cost — amounting to at least 420 million dollars. The Griffith’s gondola, however, would be paid for in full by private funds. In order to finalize plans and begin construction, city officials will need the approval of the public vote.
Currently the project faces three potential threats. First, many worry that city would be unable to come up with the necessary funding. Second, The Seattle Times reports that the delayed removal of a viaduct may interfere with construction plans. The third and final threat, experts continue, are public safety and health concerns. Many well-meaning citizens fear that additions such as hot tubs — intended to be a luxury — will be a cesspool of unsanitary conditions. Others maintain that hot tub’s ideal pH balance (between 7.4 and 7.6) would eliminate most germs.