Redesigning Pacific Place as offices is only the beginning of downtown’s comeback

I’d be blue imagining Pacific Place transformed from an urban retail center into offices, but I’m a kind, passionate guy. I was also told that most men do not like to shop, but that I never did.

After arriving here in 2007, I was amazed by the range of downtown shopping – the kind that has been dumped in most American cities since the late 1950s by suburban malls – especially the flagship Nordstrom connected to the Pacific Place area by a flyover.

I spent hours there shopping at its many stores, taking a movie at the AMC multiplex theater, and dining at Johnny Rockets (no judge).

However, Pacific Place is likely to be on its way out as a retail hub, According to a recent story Written by my colleagues Paul Roberts and Heidi Grover.

Hudson Pacific Properties of Los Angeles filed permits with the city to convert most of the center into offices. The filings also state that the developer is considering “adding 1 to 3 towers on top of the existing structure, potentially residential, office, and/or hotel.”

According to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, which first reported on the project, Hudson Pacific is the “potential buyer” of Pacific Place. Washington, DC-based Madison Market is still the owner.

Most of the downtown stores amazed me about Seattle. Most of all, I was impressed by the city’s extraordinary talent for renewal. An example is Pacific Place.

Downtown was in decline in the early 1990s, after the 1992 closure of the Frederick & Nelson Department Store. Within two years, the sophisticated I. Magnin store across the street had closed.

to me Article in HistoryLink“Nearby buildings that once housed small businesses… were vacant, covered in graffiti and housing a growing number of homeless residents. Crime rose, and city tax revenues declined.”

This renovation involved a complex series of redevelopments: Frederick was converted to flagship Nordstrom, the smaller old Nordstrom was converted to mixed use, Pine Street was reopened to vehicles, and Pacific Place was built across from the new Nordese. Mayor Norm Rice, city council and developer Matt Griffin and Associates, along with other civic leaders, have made it happen. Included was a Controversial underground car parkpaid by the city.

In August 1998, the new Nordstrom opened, followed two months later by Pacific Place. Both were a huge success.

According to HistoryLink, “Griffin notes that while local notables eventually made money from the Pacific Place deal, their willingness to invest in the mid-1990s was an act of faith and a great deal of love for their city. … They wouldn’t have taken that risk if it weren’t for Seattle. their hometown.”

Along with Benaroya Hall and the Washington State Convention Center, Pacific Place has been crucial to the downtown renaissance.

Now downtown is in trouble again, especially from the pandemic, but also from rising crime and neglect by the city council.

According to the Downtown Seattle Association Redemption scorecardoffice workers on May 1 were 33% of the equivalent week in 2019. This group is critical to segmentation with employees shopping during lunch or coming and going from work.

Even before the epidemic spread, Downtown retail was facing challengesMost notably, Macy’s and Bed Bath & Beyond have closed. The base was “over-stocked” and customers lost to University Village and Bellevue. Pacific Place lost Williams-Sonoma, Barnes & Noble, Victoria’s Secret, Coach, Restoration Hardware and Barneys.

Now, Amazon’s retail shopping penetration has increased exponentially due to the pandemic.

And although workers are slowly returning to the office, there is still demand for more office space. Hence the Pacific Place plan.

The optimistic view is that it will take some time for people to return. It’s a chicken and egg thing. But the key is to make downtown fun and inviting. Our leadership is the entertainment industry.

This, in general, is not only Benaroya Hall, Jazz Alley and Seattle Art Museum, but also Pike Place Market, sports and tourists. The completion of the light rail to the east side will bring the residents of Bellevue here.

Or this is hope.

In 2000, Edward L. Glaeser, Jed Kolko, and Albert Saez, an article for the Harvard Institute for Economic Research. It was titled Consumer Cities. It was the core of those places With so many amenities and intensity it was about to boom Compared to cities in the twentieth century that relied on industrialization.

They argued that “the future of cities increasingly depends on whether cities are attractive places for consumers to live. … If cities are to remain strong, they must attract workers on the basis of quality of life as well as on the basis of higher wages. It seems clear that some cities have been able to being successful consumer havens, but many won’t.”

This may be the future of downtown Seattle.

For retail, the ambition is to compete by offering a first class street level experience, not by offering the best mall. And we need to think about how we can extend the basic street-level retail experience geographically to Rainier Square and Pioneer Square.

For all this, it is necessary to build a first avenue tram. so it is Restore Third Avenuewhich has been hardest hit by crime, looting, and organized shoplifting (the latter also contributed to the closure of Macy’s and Bed Bath & Beyond).

People should feel safe in the city centre. So Mayor Bruce Harrell’s emphasis on tackling crime is more important to reinventing than anything else about the future of Pacific Place.

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