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The Shopping Mall as We Know It is Dying

Marion Charatan

Posted on August 3, 2019 14:31

1 user

Seattle's Northgate Mall is being torn down to make way for a huge "urban center" that will include a $75 million 140,000-square foot hockey facility. Is this a new trend for developers?

I've lived in Seattle for over two decades now and thought it was rather provincial when I first landed in the Emerald City. I had come from the Trenton, NJ area and lived in New York before that. However, time changes many things - including the landscape of familiar surroundings.

Because I love to walk, in addition to taking exercise classes at a gym, I go to the Northgate Mall to stroll around. The large perimeter equals about a mile so I walk three to six times.

The reason for this is two-fold- walking in an enclosed environment provides shelter from the elements as well as a safer space than the street. Unfortunately, Seattle is a city that is hemorrhaging with homeless folks. Believe me, I am very sympathetic to those who find themselves living out of cars, tents, RVs or sleeping on concrete. It is a tragedy and travesty of civility. No one should have to endure this kind of harshness. It is unsafe and uncivilized. Even those who say that some people like to "live off the grid" don't have it right, in my opinion. If the homeless were rounded up and triaged, I would make a bet that the majority have mental health and/or addiction issues. These individuals need treatment; not lock up without health care services.

Nevertheless, "my" mall is closing. It opened in 1950 and was one of the first modern shopping centers built after WWII in the US. It had 125 stores including standards like Macy's, JC Penny, Old Navy, Bed and Bath, and the like. I enjoyed browsing the shops after my walk, even if I was not buying anything, or just sitting in the food court with a coffee before I went to work.

There was something comforting about knowing it was there. I guess it took me back to my childhood and teen years. We all remember the days when it was exciting to go with our parents to the mall to eat, shop, or see a movie. Although I did not cut school often, I recall occasionally hanging out at the mall during school hours.

Traditional shopping malls are like dinosaurs. They are becoming extinct. Many malls have gone belly up. People shop online.

Northgate Mall will be refurbished as an "urban center." This will include a $75 million 140,000-square-foot hockey facility funded by NHL Seattle, 400,000 square feet of retail space, 1 million square feet of office space, 953 residential units (including 200 affordable units), 400 hotel rooms, 7.5 acres of open space, and more than 5,100 parking stalls. The premise is to encourage the use of the light rail and make Seattle more of a "walking city." The renovation is the first "outdoor mall" in the United States.

Some aspects of the Northgate Mall like stores and eateries will remain - that's a good thing. I understand it did not have the business needed to thrive - but it still makes me sad it's closing.

 

Marion Charatan

Posted on August 3, 2019 14:31

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Source: FOX Sports
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