Seattle Airport’s North Satellite Modernization Project Opens in Conjunction with First-Ever Art and Cultural Festival

On November 4, 2021, travelers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) had the opportunity to participate in the airport’s first-ever art and culture-filled festival: Experience SEA @ N, which coincided with the opening of SEA’s new N Concourse, also known as the North Satellite Modernization Project. The airport debuted a dedicated performance stage on which artists performed live music, a poetry reading and spoken word. Other festival highlights included art tours, special promotions and samplings from Tundra Taqueria, SEA Roast Coffee House and Filson (opening in December).

“This event celebrates the natural and cultural richness of the Pacific Northwest,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Fred Felleman. “The building embodies our values of creating economic opportunities in an inclusive and environmentally responsible manner.”

With more room, more views and more Pacific Northwest feels, the North Satellite Modernization Project elevates the travel experience with the comforts travelers crave. The newly renovated N Concourse—by Design Architect Fentress Architects and Architect of Record AECOM with Construction Company Hensel Phelps—features modern amenities, seismic upgrades, sustainable features and improved building function. 

Curtis Fentress, Principal in Charge of Design at Fentress Architects, said “N Concourse is now emblamatic of the Pacific Northwest, its majestic sights and sounds. Every element of the design works in concert to orient travelers as it greets visitors and welcomes home residents.”  This bigger, brighter and bolder space betters travelers’ experiences with more dining and retail options, a diverse art collection that reflects the culture, spirit and history of the region, nature inspired design and a brand-new performance stage.

Workers logged more than 2.1 million labor hours to build the facility over four years, which includes ten new passenger gates, a spectacular Alaska Airlines Lounge, the airport’s first system to collect and reuse rainwater and many built-in amenities to make travel effortless for all.

“Hensel Phelps and our trade partners often come together to build complex projects, but the North Satellite Modernization Project was a unique opportunity to not only work through challenging logistics and safety, but to truly change the impression and experience of so many traveling to our area,” said Hensel Phelps Vice President Shannon Gustine. “This is a unique experience, and we are honored to have been a part of such an amazing team effort.”

Music at SEA

In 2012, SEA introduced live music at the airport to showcase the diversity of music culture in the Northwest and to better the travel experience. Since the program’s launch, over 115 musicians have performed a wide range of styles from jazz to blues, folk and acoustic pop.

“Live music has been a part of the SEA scene for many years, but we have never hosted a festival of culture and arts at this scale,” said SEA Managing Director Lance Lyttle. “The debut performances on this stage will be something to remember with three music sets, one spoken word artist and the state’s Poet Laureate. Listen in, lean in and experience SEA.”

Prior to COVID-19, the airport hosted live music seven days a week. Experience SEA @ N was the first-time music filled the terminal since the beginning of the pandemic.  It also inaugurated the stage in Marketplace at N, which lies at the heart of N Concourse.

Highlights of N Concourse

  • Iconic building design evokes movement of a naturally meandering river
  • 20 gates (8 new and 12 remodeled)
  • Ten new installations of museum-quality art, featuring local and nationally-acclaimed artists reflecting the Pacific Northwest’s diverse environment, culture, spirit, people and history
  • Triple the amount of dining and retail with offerings that include Tundra Taqueria, SEA Roast Coffee House, Pike & Pine, Filson and Wendy’s (latter two open December 2021) with more set to open in 2022
  • Plugin at every single gate seat
  • Rainwater captured from the roof is used to flush toilets, which will save 2.8 million gallons of potable water annually, equal to 4.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools
  • 76-percent—or 20,000 tons—of construction waste was recycled and thereby diverted from landfills, and nearly $21M of recycled materials were utilized on the project
  • Energy-efficient LED lighting, heating, and cooling methods save approximately 1.7 million kWh annually, which is equal to the annual energy usage of 170 homes
  • Out of 1.8 million labor hours expended on the project, more than 25-percent (462,000 hours) were performed by minorities and over 20-percent (415,000 hours) were performed by apprentices
  • Over 20-perecnt, or $100M, of construction was spent with small business enterprises, and $16.5M of that went to minority- or women-owned businesses.