South Lake Union’s Budding New Market
A new community hub has blossomed within sight of the Space Needle. The Terry Avenue Saturday Market has been transforming the blocks between Thomas and John Streets since its early June debut. Now a pedestrian-only area from 10am to 3pm, it packs in stalls selling everything from produce to organic soda pop and Pacific-Oak-scented soy candles.
Once a forest—and then a sawmill district—South Lake Union later housed Seattle’s Model T factory and Boeing’s airplane test ground. By the 1960s, its low-slung, mostly pre-fab buildings were isolated by Interstate 5 and Highway 99. The area had become an industrial no-man’s land. But everything began to change in 2007, when the city opened a trolley line just as Amazon set up shop in the neighborhood. Car dealerships soon gave way to glossy mid-rise buildings as the neighborhood boomed into one of the hottest and most visionary real-estate ventures in America. With this runaway success came some serious concerns about authenticity and a lack of connection.
Enter the Terry Avenue Saturday Market, which hopes to “give residents a town square and place to meet their neighbors,” according to its Managing Director Ryan Reiter.
Part of the family behind the Fremont and Ballard weekend markets, Reiter brings a wealth of experience to the table. He said the new venture is off to a strong start with around 60 vendors. “South Lake Union isn’t yet known as a weekend destination,” he notes. “We’d love to remind our neighbors to come on out and support these local businesses, maybe get a bouquet or something for the kitchen or home.”
Options abound—from knit beer koozies to salt-and-black-pepper soap from Herb Instead, succulent-wine-cork fridge magnets (think tiny, adorable cactuses attached to wine corks) by Coloring Nature, and old thrift-store tees upcycled into clever bags at Lyanna’s Pretty Little Things. The modern haberdasher Pendleties has also taken off since its September 2014 launch. Designer Jill Rachel Evans handcrafts bowties and pocket squares, using fabrics from Pendleton, Ralph Lauren, and Oscar de la Renta, among others. “All of a sudden, it became a thing and I was featured everywhere from the Seattle Times to Seattle Met Bride & Groom,” she says. “It’s an exciting time, especially since I’m still a one-woman business.”
On the food front, indulge in everything from lavender lemonade to malasadas, Portuguese donuts filled with Bavarian cream. Also notable: The Knot & Twist pretzel bread puddings in flavors like Bacon Nutella and Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel, packed into ready-to-heat mason jars. Or go savory with a Samboroso’s Brazilian chicken-mango sandwich, Afghan Delicious boolani (bread stuffed with chives, potatoes, and green onions), or at Seattle Pickle Co, which brines and jugs everything from asparagus to green beans, depending on the season. “The neighborhood population is just exploding here,” says Chief Briner Chris Coburn. “I want the new locals to experience the flavors of the Northwest.”
The Terry Avenue Saturday Market runs from early June to early October. “We hope to be year-round within three years,” Reiter says. “And also to add more acoustic music and maybe craft-brewery tastings.”