Back in 2004, the producers of Grey’s Anatomy approached Fisher Plaza looking for a site to film a scene for the pilot episode of Grey’s Anatomy. There were actually 2 locations they were considering, Fisher Plaza and Harborview Hospital. Both locations had a helipad but we won out because of our vicinity to Elliot Bay and the Space Needle. A location scout took a complete survey of our space before determining this should be the site of their production. After securing permits and legal documents from the City of Seattle and Fisher Plaza, the production crew was assembled. It consisted of their core group from Los Angeles as well as freelancers from Seattle. Fisher Plaza was then transformed into Seattle Grace Hospital. Logos and other graphics were painted onto the helipad to complete the look.
The day before production, the crew arrived at Fisher Plaza to determine logistics and performed test landings of the Airlift Northwest helicopter. Director Peter Horton surveyed the location an blocked out the shots. On the day of filming, a second helicopter based at the Seattle Center parking lot provided air to air shots. Celebrities on set included Chandra Wilson, Ellen Pompeo, Katherine Heigl, Sandra Oh and T.R. Knight. The production photos were taken from the filming of the pilot episode in 2004.
In 2006, they returned to do additional filming for another episode which brought back another crew of over 90 people sandwiched into the Summit Conference Room and the helipad. If you look at the video at about 29 seconds in, you’ll see Khym Clark and I are right up there in the action… Really, we were just standing around observing the chaos. Enjoy this exclusive behind the scenes video montage.
The following photos capture highlights from the initial production for the pilot episode of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy back in 2004. Much work went into the preparation and tight timeframe of the production. We had help from EGIS who had to manually open and close the ventilation vents on the rooftop each time the Airlift Northwest helicopter took off and landed. In addition, EGIS also helped secure power and access to restricted areas of the roof. To this day, tourists and fans of Grey’s Anatomy stop into Fisher Plaza asking if this is the site of Seattle Grace Hospital. Shots of Fisher Plaza can be seen in the open of the show with the Airlift Northwest helicopter flying past the Space Needle towards Fisher Plaza. It was a great experience and opportunity to have the crew from Grey’s Anatomy here!
The crew arrives at Fisher Plaza to survey the location and to secure any special requests required before production day.
The Airlift Northwest chopper arrives and the crew heads to the helipad.
Playing with toy helicopters.
Director Peter Horton blocks out shots with the crew and pilots. 2 helicopters are used in the production.
The Airlift Northwest pilot performs several test landings to get familiar with the surroundings around Fisher Plaza.
Production day. 5am crew call. The sky is just getting light. I arrived at 4am to make sure everything is set and access badges are ready for everyone. Long day ahead.
Seattle Grace Hospital graphics were painted onto the helipad in the week prior to production.
The Airlift Northwest chopper arrives first thing in the morning.
Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh, Katherine Heigl, Katherine Heigl, T.R. Knight and Chandra Wilson.
Actors use a ramp that was constructed the week before production. The carpenters did a nice job blending it in to look like it was really a permanent structure on the helipad.
Director Peter Horton carefully screening shots in the Summit Conference Room.