Our Iconic Sign is Getting a New Paint Job!
Don’t worry our famous Public Market Center Clock & Sign® isn’t being removed or changing to a digital clock — it’s undergoing a restoration and preservation project.
The sign at the corner of Pike Street and Pike Place (and the backdrop to billions of Market photos) will be covered for the next five weeks as local contractor NOVO makes our sign sparkle like never before.
When the scaffolding comes off, NOVO owner Cole Palea says, “You will see the letters pop more in the daytime. The sign will look shiny!” So mark your calendars to come down and see the rejuvenated sign.
It’s been more than 15 years since our ionic Clock & Sign has been painted, so we say we’re about due for a little TLC.
Starting Monday, May 9th, our Public Market Center Clock & Sign® will be covered and not visible to the public. The sign will remain that way until June 14th.
We encourage Market visitors to snap a pic with our other sign at the intersection of Pike Place and Pine Street –or visit the Gum Wall, Secret Garden or MarketFront for a unique photo backdrop.
While it may be hard to believe, our Clock & Sign® has not always been there. The Market was open for 30 years before the Clock & Sign was erected in 1937. Now we can’t imagine the Market without it.
Over the next 5 weeks, locals and visitors can come down and capture this historic moment when our famous sign is covered.
No, this photo isn’t Photoshopped!
This photo is from circa 1915 before our iconic sign was created by architect Andrew Willatsen.
Meet the Restoration & Preservation Team
Preserving a 114-year public market is a lot of work, and we are happy to partner with Seattle-based NOVO on this memorable project.
NOVO is a minority-owned painting company that has a history of working with landmark properties in Seattle, including the Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Aquarium, and various maintenance projects around Pike Place Market, including restoring the Corner Market marquee in 2018.
“There’s a sense of ownership and pride happening on our team. The Market means a lot to us too. It’s not just another paint job for us,” Cole said while talking about the project’s numerous steps.
Not a Simple Project
Restoring the Public Market Center Clock & Sign® is not a simple project. Our sign is three stories tall, with fragile neon lights, and challengingly positioned on our roof! To top it all off, it’s historic and part of the cultural fabric of Seattle.
“When you are trying to preserve the look of the sign and its intricate markings, that part really needs to get mapped out and it’s hand done,” Cole said. “From the street, those details don’t look like much, but up close you can see them.”
A three-person team will work to tackle this job, including setting up, prepping, cleaning, painting, and removing the scaffolding. NOVO will use a direct to metal enamel paint to restore our Clock & Sign so it can withstand the hot summer sun, rain and sometimes snow for many years to come!
Cole’s team is used to working in public places and enjoys working with Market businesses and Market security. “Working at the Market is like working at Disneyland. There are other things happening there that aren’t just painting.”
Cole started working on projects around Pike Place Market in 2007, before creating NOVO in 2012.
May 9 - May 14
This week, NOVO erected scaffolding in front of our three-story Public Market Center Clock & Sign® and began to remove the neon lights within the clock.
Neon lights are fragile so this process took several days and many hours of planning. (Photo by: Kelsey Lindblom)
Next, the clock was washed and prepped for new paint. (Photos by: NOVO)
May 15 - May 21
This week, NOVO finished cleaning our Public Market Center Clock & Sign and applied a white rust corrosion primer. For a minute there it looked like our sign had been painted the wrong color!
Thoroughly cleaning the sign is an important step of the painting process, it’s the gateway to a smooth finish and important for the paint and primer to correctly bond with the metal. (Photo by: Kelsey Lindblom)
After cleaning, NOVO reduced the level of peeling paint by carefully removing all old paint that was no longer sticking to the metal structure. Preparation is key for the longevity of this project.
The sign is heavily weathered from sun, salt exposure from the Puget Sound, and general weather conditions of the Northwest. (Photo by: Kelsey Lindblom)
The sign was prepped with a two-part primer to limit rust corrosion and to create a bonding surface for the paint. For a day, it appeared NOVO was playing a joke and painting our sign the wrong color! (Photos by: NOVO)
May 22 - May 28
This week, the Clock on our famous Public Market Center Clock & Sign got all the attention. Each number was taped, then handpainted by NOVO.
From the street, and behind the scaffolding the sign is already beaming! We can’t wait to see it fully finished. (Photos by: Kelsey Lindblom)
May 29 - June 7
Job complete! The restoration and preservation of our famous Public Market Center Clock & Sign is finished. This week crews took down the three-story scaffolding that covered the clock and turned on the neon lights!