Structure Type: built works - recreation areas and structures - stadiums

Designers: Erection Company, Incorporated (firm); Hunt, Huber and Nichols, Incorporated (firm); Kiewit, Peter, Construction Company (firm); Naramore, Bain, Brady, and Johanson, (NBBJ) (firm); Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire, (SWMB), Incorporated, Engineers (firm); William James Bain Sr. (architect); William James Bain Jr. (architect); Arthur J. Barkshire (structural engineer); Clifton J. Brady (architect); Perry Bertil Johanson (architect); Adam Jones (building contractor); Jon Magnusson (structural engineer); Floyd Archibald Naramore (architect); John Bower Skilling (structural engineer); William D. Ward (structural engineer)

Dates: constructed 1997-1999

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1250 1st Avenue South
SoDo, Seattle, WA 98134-1216

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Building History

On 09/19/1995, a King County referendum to increase the sales tax .01% was voted upon, and failed 50.1% to 49.9%. Subsequent maneuvering in the Washington Legislature got around the vote by creating a Public Facilities District (PFD) to that had the authority to levy tax money to get the stadium built. The stadium cost $517.6 million, the most expensive stadium in the U.S. up to that time. $380 million was paid by taxpayers (not counting interest) and $100 million by the Seattle Mariners, all for cost over-runs. (According to a Seattle Post-Intelligencer article of 07/14/1999, cost over-runs occurred for several reasons: "PFD blames redesigns, errors and omissions due to tight work schedule. Biggest increase is $13 million for structural concrete changes and $13 million for construction management." [See "Safeco Field Timeline"Accessed 08/27/2010.])

The Safeco Insurance Company announced its purchase of the stadium's naming rights for $1.8 million per year for 20 years on 06/04/1998. The first game was played at Safeco Field, 07/15/1999, against the National League San Diego Padres, a loss for the home team, 3-2.

Skilling, Ward, Magnusson, Barkshire, Engineers, acted as Structural Engineers for Safeco Field. The Erection Company, Incorporated, of Redmond, WA, served as contractor for the roof.

A 25-year lease was signed by the Mariners with the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District in 1995. As 2020 approached, the Seattle Times encouraged that this lease to be resigned for another extended period. It reviewed the lease's terms in 2018: "In 1995, a deal was struck to keep Major League Baseball in our community. King County, recognizing the importance of keeping the Mariners here, created the PFD to acquire land, construct what would become Safeco Field, own the ballpark on behalf of the taxpayers and act as the landlord overseeing the lease with the Mariners. For their part, the Mariners paid nearly 30 percent of the construction costs and signed a 20-year lease that included their commitment to maintain the ballpark in first-class condition. And our region's baseball fans made a compact of their own to support the team for years to come. All parties have kept their promises. As the tenant, the Mariners have spent $350 million on maintenance, operations, capital repairs and improvements over the last 19 years, creating a clean, safe and enjoyable facility that is the envy of the many cities." As part of a new lease, the Mariners would continue to pay the costs of maintenance, coming to about $10 million yearly, The Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District and the Mariners also agreed to set aside $15 million per year for repair of large structural/infrastructure elements, such as the retractable roof, signage, electrical and plumbing systems and seating. By 2018, more than 45 million fans had attended a game at Safeco, making it, next to the Pike Place Market, one of Seattle's most popular tourist attractions. (See "Safeco Field lease is a smalrt investment for the region," Seattle Times, 07/11/2018, p. A9.) This lease was extended for another 25 years by the Mariners and the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District on 05/23/2018.

Building Notes

Designed for the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District, the stadium holds 47,000 spectators.


In 2005, a fireproof zinc coating began to delaminate from steel beam, requiring repainting, which occurred a year later. The Mariners sued the contractors, Hunt Construction and Kiewit Construction, who, in turn, sued their sub-contractors, Herrick Steel and Long Painting. Eight Skyboxes were removed to make way for the All-Star Club, a luxury restaurant in Safeco Field for season ticket holders in 2007.

A large Safeco Field sign was installed in 02-03/2007 that was to be visible from Interstate 5 to the east.

During the 2010s, various changes were made to the electronic signage behind the outfield. The web site stated: "The LED Out-of-Town scoreboard was installed in left field before the 2010 season, and in 2011, LED ribbon boards were installed on the Terrace Club fascia. The in-house production, broadcast and entertainment systems are also being upgraded to high definition. The video screen and production upgrades are part of an estimated $15 million maintenance and capital improvement plan for Safeco Field to be completed before the 2013 season. The Mariners, who are responsible for maintenance, capital improvements and operations of Safeco Field, have invested over $80 million in the ballpark since 1999. The new video screen replaces the scoreboard that was built in 1999, the inaugural season of Safeco Field. Measuring 56.7-feet high by 201.5-feet wide and covering 11,425 square feet, the new video screen fills the same location and space as the old scoreboard, but because the entire thing is a high definition screen, the video space itself is nearly 10 times the size of the current video screen. The viewing area will be equal to about 2,182 42-inch flat screen TVs." (See, "New Safeco Field HD Scoreboard will be the largest in MLB," accessed 07/16/2018.)

PCAD id: 4552