The Seattle Public Facilities District leases Safeco Field to the Seattle Mariners which manage operations and maintenance for all events in the facility.



Safeco Field took just 27 months to build, a remarkable feat for such a complex project. 

Huber, Hunt & Nichols, Inc. formed a joint venture with Kiewit Construction Company to build Safeco Field. Together with architects NBBJ, the team came up creative construction techniques to complete the project in an amazingly short amount of time, leading the team to gain recognition in the industry and others to copy their methods. 

The site was former tidelands and the soil had the consistency of oatmeal — not solid enough to support a new sports stadium in an area known for earthquakes. Construction crew drove 1,400 pilings into the ground an average of 90 feet below the surface until the piles connected to bedrock.

Meanwhile the system that would move the retractable roof was being put in place, piece by piece.The roof moves on wheeled, travel truck assemblies driven by 96, 10-hp motors. The travel trucks were built at the former Ederer Inc.'s crane shop in Seattle just blocks from the ballpark.

Interfacing the construction of the ballpark with the largest span retractable roof built to date was a challenge. The 655-foot span of the roof is larger than many bridges. The roof and bowl were built as two separate, but integrated projects,

Cranes were another crucial construction technique. Rather than taking the typical approach of using mobile cranes, which must crawl around the site to wherever they are needed, the ballpark construction managers chose to use tower cranes that are mounted on high, fixed towers. Those created more flexibility in building the bowl because they could reach high places even without moving close to the building unlike the mobile cranes that must get closer to what they are lifting or they will tip over. Also important was that the tower cranes didn't need the kind of space to move around like a mobile crane does. That left the future playing field useable as a staging area for building the seating bowl.

Space was at a premium on the busy urban site. Surrounded by a state highway on the north, the railroad tracks on the east, and a busy major arterial to the city's industrial area along its western edge, the ballpark construction site was hemmed in. Using the playing field for staging and renting the space from the railroad for staging the roof were integral to completing the ballpark in the short time frame.

To further compress the schedule, select elements of the structure were erected on the night shift. This freed the cranes during the day to lift steel and foundation materials. Activities that required cordoning off areas of the work site also were done at night to avoid slowing daytime traffic. At its peak, the labor workforce soared to over 1,000 workers. Project partners co-located, with staff from Hunt-Kiewit, NBBJ, the Public Facilities District, and the Seattle Mariners all housed in the same buildings near people working on the same issues.

The ballpark was built, in essence, as seven separate buildings due to seismic requirements, so that the building could shift against itself without breaking during an earthquake. The separation of the bowl into several separate pieces had its advantages: work could be underway at the field level on one section while upper deck work could be underway at the next section. When one trade had finished its work, the next stage of work could begin in that section, allowing mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work to follow quickly after concrete had been poured. It was another of the innovative, timesaving decisions made by the design and building team.
Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District