Ben Franz-Knight, executive director of the Pier Restoration Corp., is leaving his post to become the leader of one of Seattle’s most popular tourist destinations –the historic Pike Place Market in the city’s central business district.
Franz-Knight bid farewell to Santa Monica at the last performance of the Twilight Dance Series on Thursday, September 2. “I’m going to keep this short so I don’t cry – You have a real treasure here (at the Pier),” he said. “Maintain it so that 100 years from now, people can come here and enjoy great, free concerts like you are tonight.”
The 37-year-old has been credited with changing public perception about the Pier from a historic landmark into a destination, instead of just a driveby. Franz-Knight started at the pier as a temporary employee in 1999. Within three years he took over as acting director and was appointed full-time PRC director in 2003.
“I plan to return often as a visitor,” Franz-Knight concluded his farewell by saying.
The PRC board will discuss a possible replacement by appointing an interim executive director at the Sept. 8 meeting. Otherwise the group may conduct a search for a permanent position as soon as possible.