Travel Wise | A long wait for food at Seattle’s train station
It’s a slow process to get cafes, shops at Seattle’s spiffed-up King Street Station.
Special to The Seattle Times
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It’s going to be a while before Amtrak passengers will have a place to buy coffee, magazines, snacks or light meals in the newly-restored King Street Station.
A $55 million renovation was completed last April, restoring the interior of the building to much the way it looked in 1906. The ornamental plaster ceilings and terrazzo floors are beautiful. Given Seattle’s reputation for innovative culinary ideas, the City of Seattle, which owns the building, and its main tenant, Amtrak, should be able to come up with equally-classy concessions.
A Chinese bakery, perhaps? Or takeout salads and sandwiches from Pioneer Square’s Rain Shadow Meats? Even an espresso cart would do for now, but it looks like this is one train of thought that’s not quite ready to leave the station.
The city won’t be ready to put out a request for proposals until early next year, says Ethan Melone, rail transit manager for the Seattle Department of Transportation.
“We felt we had to have the project completed before we could evaluate what the opportunities might be.’’
With the main hall and passenger waiting area (lower King Street level) leased to Amtrak, the city is eyeing the upper Jackson Street level for possible office and retail use, as well as working with Amtrak on future use of a former women’s lounge near the King Street entrance. The latter space is large enough for a restaurant.
“The reality is that this is not something that’s going to happen very quickly,” says Melone. “We may be talking anywhere from a year to two years.’’
Revenues will go toward building upkeep, but for a while at least, it looks like neighborhood delis and cafes will benefit instead.
Ideas for airport’s North Satellite
Meanwhile it’s good to see that the Port of Seattle is soliciting ideas for new shops, restaurants and services at Sea-Tac Airport’s North Satellite as it moves ahead with design work on renovations for Alaska Airlines.
Have a suggestion? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, a special address the airport’s concessions team has set up to collect comments.
Ideas so far include requests for a book store, wine bar, yoga room, another Starbucks, a fresh-food option, such as a PCC Natural Markets outlet; another Anthony’s restaurant, and fast-food chains such as Chipotle and Jimmy John’s.
Construction isn’t scheduled to begin until 2016, but with new projections for passenger growth, the airport is considering expanding the “N” gates beyond what was originally planned. That should mean more room for improved food options, and maybe a relaxation lounge area similar to a new one in the South Satellite.
Sea-Tac planners tend to favor services that appeal to the 75 percent of passengers who begin or end their trips in Seattle, while other airports cater more to those with long waits between connections. This pretty much rules out a fitness center, pharmacy or a medical clinic. Food trucks, however, could be rolling into the cellphone lot soon.
Mobile carts are dishing out wraps, panini and Mexican food at airport cellphone lots in Tampa, Tucson, Long Beach and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, CBS News reports.
Sea-Tac spokesman Perry Cooper said the idea is under study for a new cellphone waiting area set to open next spring.
Cyber Monday discounts
Ready. Set. Start booking a winter or spring getaway. Provenance Hotels is inviting travelers to shop online for room discounts on Cyber Monday, Dec. 2.
Starting at 10 a.m., the first 100 people to book prepaid reservations via links emailed to newsletter subscribers or posted on the hotels’ Facebook pages will be offered a 35 percent discount off the best available rate through March 31, 2014. Some blackout dates may apply. The offer ends Dec. 5.
Properties include the Hotel Max in Seattle, Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Hotel Preston in Nashville, and Portland’s Hotel deLuxe, Hotel Lucia and Governor Hotel.
Carol Pucci is a Seattle freelance writer. Contact her at email@example.com. Web/blog: www.carolpucci.com. Twitter: @carolpucci.