WSDOT has decided not to preserve the Montlake Market during the Montlake Phase of its SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program.

WSDOT spokesperson Steve Peer said the transportation department reached an agreement with property owner Kemper Freeman to acquire the Montlake Market and 76 station site for $16 million, and the building will be razed. WSDOT plans to use the site for staging construction equipment and materials.

The Montlake phase of the SR 520 replacement includes a new West Approach Bridge South for eastbound traffic that will connect to the floating bridge over Lake Washington, a lid over 520 and a bicycle/pedestrian land bridge east of the lid that connects the Washington Park Arboretum and East Montlake Park, and a major revision to Montlake Boulevard to accommodate the new bridge.

The Montlake Market was removed and later added back into plans for a reconfiguration of Montlake Boulevard, which caused an outcry from the neighborhood and legal challenges. The Legislature passed a proviso in 2018 directing WSDOT to preserve the market if possible.

Design-build contractor Graham Contracting Ltd was selected for the Montlake Phase in October, and in January WSDOT shared what potential preservation of the Montlake Market could look like.

Keeping the market building upright and operational was estimated to add 45 days to the project — about $50,000 more per day — or $15.3 million to $20 million in added cost. Just keeping the building, leaving it vacant and not operating during construction, was estimated to cost $7 million to $10.15 million.

WSDOT reports legislators couldn’t support the additional project costs.

An offer was extended to Montlake Market owner Scott Baker to have a popup location further away from the off-ramps on the property in a temporary building. If Baker declines, WSDOT would solicit offers for other pop-up market or food vendors to use that portion of the site. In any case, lease extensions for the market and 76 station are being negotiated. The Montlake Market is expected to continue operating through the rest of this year.

WSDOT has set a timeline to close the gas station sometime this summer to perform additional soil and groundwater testing after petroleum-related contaminants were found during soil testing in December.

Cleanup of the gas station site would likely occur in last into the fall, followed by the Montlake Market parcel after the building is demolished in early 2020.

The entire Montlake Project is expected to be completed in 2023, and more information about next steps will be shared by WSDOT and Graham during a preconstruction open house 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 6, at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 2100 Boyer Ave. E. The open house will be followed this summer by the start of monthly public meetings and a Montlake Project drop-in information center opening.