SEATTLE - An iconic Seattle landmark could potentially be closed through the holidays out of an abundance of caution. City officials shut down privately owned Pier 57, home of The Seattle Great Wheel, for safety after Pier 58 collapsed earlier in the month.
“Where Pier 57 meets the sidewalk—that’s the area that would be impacted by any sort of failure of Pier 58. And obviously walking through there could be a danger if you’re heading out to the pier,” said Bryan Stevens, a spokesperson for Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections.
The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections said Pier 58 was already scheduled for demolition as part of a revitalization project of the waterfront. However, the collapse moved up the removal date immediately. Recent inspections showed no signs of damage from the collapse to Pier 57, but it will remain closed until further notice.
“We don’t know at what point in that [Pier 58] demolition the threat to Pier 57 will be removed. So, we don’t have the details of exactly when Pier 57 reopens. But, we’re sticking with the general construction of the next two months or so…two or three months,” said Stevens.
The closure could lead to two to three months of tourism dollars lost from surrounding businesses already struggling.
“Making an already quiet waterfront even more quiet,” said Joey Lamarche, Sailing Seattle co-owner.
Sailing Seattle has been at Pier 56 since 1991, but this year on the water was like no other due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Most of the companies on the waterfront including us are probably down 70-80 percent versus a normal year like last year,” said Lamarche.
The co-owner said their struggle continued when they lost six days of business due to poor air quality from wildfire smoke. From bad to worse, Lamarche said the closure of their neighboring pier is another devastating blow to all businesses on the waterfront.
“If one of those things is closed down then that’s a few more people that aren’t coming down to the waterfront,” said Lamarche. “The Ferris wheel and all the attractions at Miner’s Landing bring a lot of people down here. So, we’re just kind of having to fend for ourselves.”
Stevens said crews are working to make sure people who visit the waterfront have a safe experience. Pier 62 opened Sunday after being closed since 2017 for safety renovations as part of a major revitalization project with Friends of Waterfront Seattle. The reconstruction included replacing nearly 900 aging wood piles, nearly 300 steel piles and several tons of concrete. The same reconstruction needs to happen at Pier 58 to continue offering a safe experience at the waterfront.
Friends of Waterfront Seattle said, despite the collapse at Pier 58, waterfront renovation plans continue moving forward. They hope Pier 62 will bring visitors to the area and give a glimpse of the new attractions planned for the space. Once home to live concerts, the new and improved Pier 62 will host special events, educational programs and tribal fishing activities.
“Everything takes time. And it’s not like it’s bad out here now...it’s just going to get better. That’s the thing. It’s going to get better. It’s worth the wait,” said Lamarche.