Construction Tops Out on Washington State Convention Center Expansion in Seattle

Also in the city, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel has completed a $25 million renovation.

The Olympic Bar in the lobby of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle
The Olympic Bar in the lobby of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle

Construction has topped out on the Summit, the new addition to the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle that will open in mid-2022. The new building will double the existing capacity of the Washington State Convention Center, adding approximately 255,000 square feet of exhibition space, 120,000 square feet of meeting rooms and 60,000 square feet of ballroom space.

Construction progresses on the new Summit building at the Washington State Convention Center.

As part of this project, WSCC is investing more than $93 million on community improvements and is spending about $135 million to contract with approximately 100 minority- or women-owned businesses to work on the expansion. The construction covers four city blocks, creating a new pedestrian experience around the convention facility. 

The city had faced funding hurdles for the project in the last year but resolved them in April, allowing the expansion to continue.

Elsewhere in town, the luxurious Fairmont Olympic Hotel has completed a $25 million renovation, which began in January 2020. The guest rooms and corridors had already been redone in 2016, so this project focused on public spaces and meeting rooms. Upgrades to the signature restaurant, the Georgian, will be revealed later this year along with a cocktail drinker’s enclave hidden behind a bookcase in the main lobby.

The property, which has been part of the city for nearly 100 years, has been refurbished in grand style with rich textures and warm lighting. The plan for the lobby blends existing historical finishes with new elements such as an art installation above the Olympic Bar in the center of the lobby (above). The bar offers all-day dining and hosts the hotel’s afternoon tea on the weekend. 

The 28,000 square feet of meeting space was upgraded with new technology, lighting and design. The foyer outside the hotel's 5,123-square-foot Spanish Ballroom is now home to two historical chandeliers that were carefully dismantled — each crystal was removed, labeled and fully restored — and reassembled in their new location. In 1924, when the property opened, the foyer was the Assembly Lounge, a popular gathering place for Seattleites. 

A new history walk that wraps around the mezzanine level uses old photographs, newspaper articles, documents and artifacts, such as the first guest registry and letters from guests, to offer a glimpse into the early days of the property.