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Fast Facts on the Central Marketplace

March 1, 2021

As the second phase of the North Satellite Modernization Project speeds toward the finish line, passengers will soon enjoy more dining and retail options and expanded gates in a space that opens up to natural light with airfield and mountain views. The expansion and renovation of the facility will be completed and opened to passengers this summer.

When the North Satellite’s Phase 2 is complete, passengers will discover:

  • Dramatic open space with natural light in a nearly 80-foot-tall Central Marketplace
  • More dining and retail spaces like Filson, Pike & Pine, and sodoPop
  • 213,000 square feet of added and renovated space, more than doubling the space in the entire facility
  • Giant window wall facing the airfield with ample seating to enjoy the views

Here’s what you can look forward to once the Central Marketplace opens to travelers:

1.    The iconic design of the ceiling evokes the shape and movement of a meandering river

NSAT river

Designed and constructed using natural wood and open space, the “river” winds through the entire North Satellite facility.

The North Satellite ceiling is made up of 21,500 square feet, equal to 3.8 times the surface area of a Boeing 747-400’s wings or 1.6 times the size of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The ceiling tiles are made of FSC-certified beech wood, which ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social, and economic benefits.

2.    The highest point of the ceiling stretches nearly 80 feet above concourse level


Did you know? Eighty feet is nearly the wingspan of a Boeing 737, the most common aircraft you’ll see at the North Satellite!!

One bend of the “river” curves into the highest point of the ceiling, referred to by project crews as the “eyebrow.” The soaring ceiling and window wall overlooking the airfield together create a dramatic, open space filled with natural light, giving arriving travelers their first glimpse of the Pacific Northwest.

Construction crews went to great heights to install the iconic ceiling — setting up and working from scaffolding 61 feet above the concourse floor, a technical feat that's not for the faint of heart.

3.    The North Satellite will feature the largest interior public art installation to date at SEA


Boundary, the creation of renowned Seattle sculptor John Grade, is sure to captivate travelers passing through the North Satellite, and once installed in the Central Marketplace it will be impossible to miss. The artistic representation of a tree trunk and root system is constructed of 8,000 pounds of Alaskan cedar and measures 80 feet wide and over 40 feet tall, extending more than 25 feet off the wall. The sculpture doesn’t portray the branches, but implies to viewers that above the roof there is more to see.

“It’s a monumental piece, with its rich wood, stylized version of a root system and tree trunk, and Pacific Northwest vibe,” said Tommy Gregory SEA Senior Art Program Manager. “It’s teasing you to get out into nature. Depending on if you are arriving or departing, it’s your first entry point to the city. Or it’s a reminder to come back and take in the great outdoors and art.”

Grade’s piece will be installed later this spring and will involve piecing together hundreds of units that must be transported separately.

Keep an eye out for two more pieces inspired by PNW nature that will help transform the North Satellite into a natural wonder:

  • Blackleaf by Montana sculptor Deborah Butterfield — a stylized horse sculpture created from driftwood cast bronze
  • Canopy by Krista Birnbaum — a living wall featuring plant life suspended 16 feet in the air

4.    The Central Marketplace just might be your new favorite music venue

performance stage rendering

Have a few extra minutes before boarding your flight? Why not catch some local live music in the Central Marketplace? It will soon host a 31-foot by 15-foot stage and sound system built for live music performances at the airport. Discover your next favorite local artist or reconnect with an old favorite, helping to bring the sounds of the PNW to the airport.

5.    The North Satellite is a SEA of green

NSAT phase 2 construction

The North Satellite Modernization was designed and constructed with environmental stewardship and sustainability top of mind as the Port pursues its goal to be the greenest port in North America.

Here are some highlights:

  • About 95 percent of construction waste will be diverted from landfill for recycling
  • 750,000 gallons per year of rainwater will be captured from the roof and used to flush toilets, which is equivalent to 500,000 flushes

These efforts and other sustainability achievements at the North Satellite Modernization project support the pursuit of a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification with the U.S. Green Building Council. The North Satellite is on track to be the third SEA facility to achieve the sustainability certification.

6.    Construction crews built around the existing structure — creating a new building and removing the old in one step

NSAT construction

To create the Central Marketplace’s high ceiling and create an open feel without the use of columns, enormous trusses were installed over the existing North Satellite structure. The old building was demolished down to its steel frame and was seismically strengthened, or given a “seismic hug.” To complete the seismic hug, crews worked in a phased approach to demolish the interior of the existing facility, construct new concrete building piles, and install structural steelwork. Through careful planning, project and construction crews created a new building and got rid of the old one, all in one step, allowing airport operations to continue as long as possible.




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