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Shivangi Mishra looks through boxes of shoes at Forever 21 on Monday, July 22, 2019, at Northgate Mall in Seattle.
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Shivangi Mishra looks through boxes of shoes at Forever 21 on Monday, July 22, 2019, at Northgate Mall in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

As NHL moves in, Seattle's Northgate mall is clearing out

It’s a new beginning for Northgate, the oldest mall in the region. But it feels like an end to many shoppers, walking into familiar stores like Eddie Bauer or Famous Footwear, only to find final sale signs and thinning stock.

“It’s sad,” said Darlene Hodges, who comes to the mall to walk. “Especially when you go into Macy’s and you remember what fun it was. The clerks are even sad.”

But Northgate is on the edge of a major transformation. It has been the home of Nordstrom, Macy’s and JC Penney and the destination of many buses headed north from downtown and the University District.

Now it will be home to the practice rink of Seattle’s new NHL team: three ice rinks in total, as well as new offices and places to live. The place where Nordstrom and Forever XXI sit will be a grocery store.

A sale sign hangs in the window of Forever 21, next to Nordstrom, on Monday, July 22, 2019, at Northgate Mall in Seattle.
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A sale sign hangs in the window of Forever 21, next to Nordstrom, on Monday, July 22, 2019, at Northgate Mall in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Construction is expected to begin in August. It will focus on the middle of the mall. That’s why those stores are clearing out.

Macy’s, which announced its departure months ago, is nearly empty. Nordstrom is holding its final Anniversary Sale at the location and looks much fuller. It will be gone by August 9. Around them are stores in various stages of closing up and moving on.

The closures raise questions for the stores that remain at the extreme ends of the mall. At the north end, Bergman Luggage says it has been told by owner Simon Property Group, Inc. that it can stay for a year or more. However, Sue Larsen, who has worked in the store for more than a decade, said the company can’t bear the loss of the stores nearby. It is looking for a new home.

Yellow sale signs are shown inside Nordstrom on Monday, July 22, 2019, at Northgate Mall in Seattle.
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Yellow sale signs are shown inside Nordstrom on Monday, July 22, 2019, at Northgate Mall in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The two closest malls now are University Village, which is expensive, and Alderwood, which is farther north in Lynnwood. Staff at several other stores said they were considering the same options.

But Alana Jewelry is closing for good, and its founder is retiring. Alana Fornoni said it would take a year to rebuild a store in a new location.

“I was just not willing to allocate a whole year toward building another store knowing the stress that’s involved in that,” she said. “It seemed like this was a good time to just pick up our marbles and go home.”

A truck advertising 70% off for items at Alana Jewelry is parked on Monday, July 22, 2019, at Northgate Mall in Seattle.
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A truck advertising 70% off for items at Alana Jewelry is parked on Monday, July 22, 2019, at Northgate Mall in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer