Notes from the Field- 222 Market, a commercial renovation. During my time as a carpenter with the Artisans Group, I’ve mostly worked on Passive Houses, this has been my first commercial job with them. Renovation is always an adventure, but on a structure this old, you never know what or who you’ll find when you pull back the veil. Oddly enough, the 222 Market which was once an old Packard dealership, revealed itself in bottles. The plumbers found a dozen antique bottles in a perfect circle, 20” below grade and I discovered a stash of empty, cheap wine bottles hidden in the rafters. What goes up, must come down. We tore out the pioneer detritus from the earth and filled it back in with structural tie-downs. We demolished walls built with hand-banged nails and razor straight studs and replaced them with advanced framing and ring shank pneumatic nails. We built our structures on the backs of giants with 21st century know-how.
This was all back in the summer and early fall, when the 222 Market still belonged to the workers. Now I sit here in mid-December, sipping Bison Broth, less than a month since the Grand Opening on November 19th and the transformation is fantastic. It feels like an institution, like it’s been waiting for the people to pool in its open, warm spaces. Maybe it’s the novelty or maybe it’s the friendly atmosphere? Chairs and tables surround each entryway and the vendors are all accessible from the main atrium. This is a definite improvement from the chaos of the construction phase, the high ceilings and natural light commingle with the warmth of the vendors welcoming smiles. Olympia is no longer a pit stop for Seattleites and Portlanders, the 222 Market is a destination in and of itself.
A commercial renovation on this scale requires a lot of stress and finesse, yet when all’s said and done and the results are this satisfying, it makes me proud to be a part of a team of craftspeople and designers, who contribute to building a stronger community together. Here’s to more commercial renovation projects in the future!
Free holiday parking downtown Olympia
from December 12-24
Winter Wandlerland Festival
Sunday, December 18
from 12 – 4pm
samples, specials, live music
Notes from the Field is a semi-regular feature, showcasing the building process from a carpenter’s point of view. Dana Dickerson is a writer and carpenter, he’s been with the Artisans Group for two years.