- One of the most recognized skyline landmarks in the U.S., the Seattle Space Needle, is getting a $100 million facelift, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. The structure, which was built for the 1962 World's Fair, has hosted almost 60 million visitors.
- A key element of the renovation will see the replacement of a portion of the observation deck with glass, which will give visitors a better view of the city. The Space Needle will also see the addition of a glass, steel and wood staircase from the observation deck to the restaurant, as well as a rotating glass floor underneath the tables.
- Project officials said the attraction is striving for LEED Silver energy efficiency and sustainability certification and that they have set aside $70 million of the work for local companies and workers. The renovation should be complete in the summer of 2018.
Attractions like the Space Needle provide an economic benefit for the communities where they're located, but they require substantial maintenance in order to keep tourists interested.
The Queen Mary, which is docked in Long Beach, CA, is expensive to maintain, and a $250 million proposed renovation could potentially fund a $289 million, five-year upgrade and repair plan. Urban Commons, operators of the Queen Mary, have suggested building a 65-acre entertainment complex around the ship to help supplement operating revenues.
The Gensler-designed Queen Mary Island, if it comes to fruition, would feature a 2,400-foot-long boardwalk, a small-boat marina, hotel, amphitheater, entertainment and restaurants, 700,000 square feet of retail space and a 150,000-square-foot Urban Legacies complex, which will offer up indoor, extreme-sport options.
The Houston Astrodome, once a major tourist attraction because of its size and its position as the first indoor, air-conditioned football and baseball stadium, could also see a major renovation. It now sits idle, but demolishing it isn’t an option because it has been designated a State Antiquities Landmark. So, county officials want to invest $105 million to turn 500,000 square feet of the building into rentable space and to add 1,400 parking spaces.
In addition, the Blackstone Group is planning a $500 million renovation of Chicago's Willis Tower, which will include improvements to the Skydeck Chicago tourist attraction, 300,000 square feet of new commercial space, a 30,000-square-foot deck and garden and a 460,000-square-foot redesign of existing space. The renovation marks the largest investment ever from Blackstone for an office rehab and is part of a concerted effort to draw more tourists to the former Sears Tower.