Seattle’s iconic Space Needle, a symbol of innovation and progress, is set to undergo another remarkable transformation. Crews have commenced a significant elevator modernization project that will see the addition of a temporary construction enclosure at the top of the Space Needle. This unique “tiny crown,” which will grace the skyline until mid-May 2024, serves as a critical component of the $18 million renovation endeavor, ensuring the landmark remains a beacon of progress.
The Space Needle’s latest transformation comes on the heels of a groundbreaking elevator modernization project that began last month. This project aims to replace the three aging elevators that have faithfully transported visitors to the top of the Space Needle for decades, according to a report in the Daily Journal of Commerce.
Turner Construction has been given the opportunity to bring these elevators into the 21st century. The project involves replacing the existing elevator cabs with modernized versions, installing a new hoistway system and attachments, reconfiguring the machine room to accommodate state-of-the-art equipment, improving existing elevator pits, and raising the existing mezzanine floor level.
The new elevator cabs will maintain the classic design of the existing ones, with a notable exception – two of them will be double-stacked to accommodate more visitors efficiently. The third elevator, designed for freight, will retain the single-stack design, ensuring the Space Needle continues to serve as a hub for visitors and supplies.
One of the project’s key objectives is to ensure minimal disruption to visitors while modernization efforts are underway. To achieve this, the Space Needle will replace one golden cab elevator per year, allowing two others to remain operational, safely moving visitors and supplies to the top during construction. The installation of the first new elevator is scheduled to commence in September 2024, with commissioning expected by May 2025. Otis Elevators has been selected to lead the transition of upgrading the lifts.
This elevator modernization project marks the final phase of the $100 million Century Project renovation. Initiated in 2014, the Century Project was a comprehensive renovation endeavor that added over 176 tons of glass and introduced the world’s first revolving glass floor to the city’s iconic structure.
The architectural firm Olson Kundig, responsible for the Space Needle’s prior improvements under the Century Project, once again takes the reins as the project designer. Their vision, combined with the expertise of Turner Construction, is set to breathe new life into the next phase of redevelopment of this iconic structure.