The Port of Seattle Commission this week approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with King County to explore the feasibility of an International Public Market facility located in South King County.

The proposed market would showcase local, artisan crafts and provide opportunities for South King County communities.

The Port said the intention is “to attract tourists and visitors, provide a gathering space, showcase local cultural attributes, and support economic development and entrepreneurship for small businesses, with an emphasis on supporting small ethnic businesses.”

“South King County has a diverse community, including immigrants, refugees, and working-class individuals near SEA International Airport. An international marketplace can boost tourism, promote sustainability, and support entrepreneurs while generating jobs and wealth for diverse communities,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Hamdi Mohamed. “By partnering with King County, we can evaluate the need and identify the most suitable location to provide new opportunities for a community in need.”

“An International Market would promote regional growth and benefit the Cities of Tukwila, SeaTac, and other communities in South King County,” said King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove. “The marketplace would spur economic development, generate jobs, and support small businesses.”

The MOU will identify preferred market attributes such as planning for size of market, number of vendors, parking considerations, and accessibility considerations. It will also look to identify market site requirements by identifying preferred size, zoning, proximity to infrastructure and utilities, proximity to transportation, proximity to other amenities, visibility, and aesthetics.

The proposed international market would be very accessible from SEA Airport, attracting residents, visitors from surrounding communities, and help advance this region as a leading tourism destination and business gateway domestically and internationally.

It would also help prevent some of the displacement of small businesses that result as the region continues to grow and change.

The study will start this summer and conclude in the first quarter of 2024, with the Port of Seattle providing $149,000 and King County providing $50,000.