05 February 2023

Northgate Station, Seattle, WA

Under development

One of the world’s first shopping malls built in the traditional way with which most of us are familiar is all but gone.  On the site of the old Bon Marche, the first of three in the metro designed by Seattle architect John Graham Jr, now sits a hockey training facility for the Seattle Kraken.  Not that I’m not a fan; hockey is my second favorite sport after football, but having grown up in North Alabama, the Predators are my team.

1- Chipotle remains toward the front of the old mall.  2- Former site of Jos A Banks,  In the background used to be Nordstrom.  3- Where the main entrance used to be located now serves as the western entrance to the Iceplex.  4- A board marking the construction site.  5- More of the empty storefronts facing the front of the site.  6- The only entrance to the last remaining enclosed section.

I was excited that Seattle’s Link light rail system would finally have a stop right at a shopping mall.  But a few years before the Northgate Station opened, this excitement turned to dismay when Simon announced that the old shopping center would be taking on the name of its transit-oriented neighbor and would be rebranding itself as Northgate Station.  Fortunately, this would include a complete redevelopment of the facility.  Unfortunately, it involved the elimination of the majority of the extant structure.

Scenes of the last remaining interior section of Northgate Mall.

Nordstrom and JCPenney were the first of the three full line department stores to shutter in 2019.  The iconic Macy’s store followed in in 2020.  All three buildings were soon demolished, as well as the entire middle section of the enclosed main concourse.  Most newer shops facing the front of the mall were spared, though most remain unoccupied as most of the site is still being redeveloped.

1- The north end of the mall remains largely unchanged.  2- More of the west facing outdoor storefronts.  3- Bed Bath and Beyond is still located in the former Gottschalk's building.  4- The small section of mall remaining on the south end.  5- The southern face of the old mall and parking garage.  6- Where the old mall ends.

Only one small interior section continues to exist at the very north end of the facility.  But it is largely unoccupied and perhaps only remains open while the few tenants inside serve out their leases.  A good portion of the southern end of the mall remains as well where the food court was once located.  It seems, however, that the old interior concourse is being restructured to host only tenants with outdoor entrances.

1 & 2- The Kraken Community Iceplex.  3- Where the center of the mall once stood will soon be an outdoor plaza.  4- The south end.  5- The old JCPenney lot.  6- The newly opened Northgate Station of the Link light rail.

The centerpiece is the Kraken Community Iceplex which, besides serving as the expansion NHL team’s practice rink, also functions as a community center with a full-service cafĂ©, team store and coffee shop.  More apartments and multi-family homes are also slated for the site, though none have yet begun construction.  It’s exciting to see what’s coming, but I’ll always lament the loss of an icon like Northgate Mall.

Northgate Station site plan, ca. 2021.  See the full PDF version here.

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