Along with her deep liaisons in the neighborhood, Office Manager Nikki Somers brings organization and order to our team. Nikki manages our data, information, and financial systems. She’s part of our outreach to businesses, assists with events, and generally rolls up her sleeves and pitches in. Have a question? Chances are Nikki will have the answer.
Smith Tower is a neoclassical skyscraper in Pioneer Square, which was originally built in 1914 by Lyman Cornelius Smith. Smith Tower, located on 2nd and Yesler, stands a historic icon in our richly historied neighborhood. 1910’s Seattleites quickly recognized the engineering feat when the building opened to the public, with over 4,000 residents riding the elevator to the top floor. Once the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, Smith Tower is now a Seattle Landmark in the Seattle city skyline. In 1976, the building was purchased by Ivar Haglund of Ivar’s restaurant fame for $1.8 million. Since then, the building has passed through many owners. Currently the building is owned by Goldman Sachs, who purchased the building in 2018.
After walking along the observatory looking out and around Pioneer Square, we sat down to speak with Nikki on the 35th floor of Smith Tower. Right away, we dug into Nikki’s history working in Pioneer Square. “I first started working in the neighborhood in 2006”, Nikki says. First Nikki worked out of the Grand Central building and the eventually out of the Nord Building. In 2011, met Liz Stenning, our current Deputy Director, while working with the International Sustainability Institute. Little did Nikki and Liz know that eventually they would be working again for the same organization in the same Pioneer Square building? In 2015, Nikki joined the Alliance for Pioneer Square and has continued to serve as the cornerstone for the organization.
Over Two Decades in the Neighborhood:
Nikki’s history in the neighborhood lends her a long view of how Pioneer Square has changed in the past two decades. The conversation led us towards the changes in the public spaces- our alleys and the impact of the CAP bag program, along with the activation of Occidental Square with the entrance of Weyerhaeuser as a new business to the neighborhood. Nikki also noted that Pioneer Square is on the cusp of a major period of revitalization in light of the Waterfront update program- a change welcomed after the turmoil and steady economic growth following the late 2000’s recession. “The new Waterfront is going to be huge for Pioneer Square” Nikki points out while looking out on the new Port 46 site and northward along the Puget Sound.
Nikki This Week:
We briefly touched on Nikki’s current projects, including the implementation of a new CRM system intended to help the Alliance for Pioneer Square manage our district, before turning to the question of what Nikki loves about the organization. “We’ve got a really cohesive team- not too big or small, but now fully staffed” Nikki notes, “-also this is the kind of neighborhood I want to work in and the kind of impactful organization I want to support.” In addition to her role with the Alliance for Pioneer Square, Nikki also volunteers with Bulldog Haven NW where she wears many hats, including auction item procurer and occasional foster parent. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch one of Nikki’s Bulldogs Chelsea or Moses in the Alliance for Pioneer Square office.