Pacific Place Seattle, Ghost Mall

marshd1000
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Pacific Place Seattle, Ghost Mall

Post by marshd1000 »

I believe that COVID and riots have pretty much made Pacific Place into a Ghost Mall.

https://crosscut.com/culture/2021/11/gh ... lease-life

https://www.seattlemet.com/style-and-sh ... d-covid-19
SamSpade
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Re: Pacific Place Seattle, Ghost Mall

Post by SamSpade »

There are some great dining options leasing large spaces and the nicer of the two downtown cinemas. B&N did choose to close their store, but this is certainly not just a Seattle thing.

Barney's going into bankruptcy likely opened clauses in other tenants that allowed them to leave borderline profitable stores. Downtown Seattle is pretty healthy, especially in the core retail area. On my early autumn visit, I had seen some changes at Nordstrom but overall things are set up in a way much like they were prior to the pandemic and reduced downtown office worker load.

If anything, Seattle losing a year/season of cruise passengers probably impacted these luxury retailers more than some other factors.

EDIT: This is not to say I wasn't startled by the level of vacancy when I went in there, but I didn't feel unsafe lounging for a time while we planned what we were doing next and sipping on my eBar drink from Nordstrom.
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Re: Pacific Place Seattle, Ghost Mall

Post by BillyGr »

SamSpade wrote: December 13th, 2021, 9:02 am If anything, Seattle losing a year/season of cruise passengers probably impacted these luxury retailers more than some other factors.
Do many people actually go on cruises to shop at malls? Seems a bit different to shop when you are in an unusual location but in a US city, not so much.

They had (I believe) at least some cruises, as that was one way they could do trips to Alaska, without having to deal with stopping in Canada (as long as they start/end in the same place, that being Seattle in this case).
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Re: Pacific Place Seattle, Ghost Mall

Post by storewanderer »

I must be imagining something but I thought the light rail connected to this mall, as in you could access the mall via light rail from the airport without having to go outside. Is that not the case?

Only 25 stores over a 5 floor mall is awful and the future for this is going to need to be as something other than a retail mall. The exit of the luxury retailers- I am guessing the customers are simply buying online instead.

This was never exactly a busy mall. These luxury retailers typically do not have a ton of foot traffic. But the fact they exited shows the traffic was not buying enough to make it worthwhile. The loss of international travelers who tend to spend high ticket amounts could have very well been the tipping point but it sounds like the mall's troubles started before COVID. I have seen malls with a lot of luxury retailers in Hong Kong, etc., and wondered how they justify being open as there is not much foot traffic and stores are staffed heavily. Clearly they need a small number of transactions, to pay the overhead.
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Re: Pacific Place Seattle, Ghost Mall

Post by SamSpade »

storewanderer wrote: December 13th, 2021, 11:19 pm I must be imagining something but I thought the light rail connected to this mall, as in you could access the mall via light rail from the airport without having to go outside. Is that not the case?
Sort of. Westlake Center is fully connected to the metro tunnel mezzanine. Pacific Place has a skybridge connection to Nordstrom so that allowed a connection that way. Nordstrom has locked their Metro tunnel doors though, so you would have to briefly be at street level.

The former Macy's and Coldwater Creek (was Nordstrom before F&N move I believe?) buildings also had direct entrances into the metro tunnel mezzanine level.
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Re: Pacific Place Seattle, Ghost Mall

Post by buckguy »

The Alaska cruises are popular with Asian tourists for whom shopping is an important part of travel---even in Asia this is true. They also draw a lot of people from small towns and smaller metros in the US. I used to fly Atlanta to Seattle a couple times a year and the planes would be full of cruise travelers during the warm weather months and pretty empty during the winter. The cruise people seemed to be middle aged or older couples from places like Spartansburg, SC. Otherwise, the only connection between that Seattle and the Southeast would be people in health care professions and the IT industry which was evaporating in Atlanta at that time.

The other issue is probably the lack of convention traffic---the convention center is across the street and is flanked by a couple very large hotels. The Hilton is memorable because I was in an upper floor for a meeting when a minor earthquake rumbled the place. Downtown malls have tended to be failures regardless of climate and my recollection of Pacific Place was that the layout was confusing, in part, because they also wanted to have a lot of street access. Streetside retail in Seattle has been doing well for a long time and from downtown it's walkable to Pike/Pine, Belltown and Pioneer Square which have their own specialized retail and restaurant niches. One of the things that makes Seattle attractive as a destination is that it's easy and interesting to explore.
Last edited by buckguy on December 16th, 2021, 5:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pacific Place Seattle, Ghost Mall

Post by BillyGr »

buckguy wrote: December 14th, 2021, 6:36 am The Alaska cruises are popular with Asian tourists for whom shopping is an important part of travel---even in Asia this is true. They also draw a lot of people from small towns and smaller metros in the US. I used to fly Atlanta to Seattle a couple times a year and the planes would be full of cruise travelers during the warm weather months and pretty empty during the winter. The cruise people seemed to be middle aged or older couples from places like Spartansburg, SC. Otherwise, the only connection between that Seattle and the Southeast would be people in health care professions and the IT industry which was evaporating in Atlanta at that time.

The other issue is probably the lack of convention traffic---the convention center is across the street and is flanked by a couple very large hotels. The Hilton is memorable because I was in an upper floor for a meeting when a minor earthquake rumbled the place. Downtown malls have tended to be failures regardless of climate and my recollection of Pacific Place was that they layout was confusing, in part, because they also wanted to have a lot of street access. Streetside retail in Seattle has been doing well for a long time and from downtown it's walkable to Pike/Pine, Belltown and Pioneer Square which have their own specialized retail and restaurant niches. One of the things that makes Seattle attractive as a destination is that it's easy and interesting to explore.
That conventions thing makes more sense, given that people are often at an event for multiple days. If the event(s) are only during the day, they have the time free in the evenings and shopping may be more interesting than watching TV in the hotel room.
With the cruises, it would probably be more likely when people start/end there and spend some time before or after (to work schedules better to fly in/out), as if the ship was simply stopping there they normally only have a moderately short stop and people would (or it seems likely) be more attracted to other places to visit.
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Re: Pacific Place Seattle, Ghost Mall

Post by babs »

The lack of office workers and tourists is the issue. The locals who shop at these types of stores tend to shop at University Village or Bellevue Square, both of which appear to be doing just fine.
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Re: Pacific Place Seattle, Ghost Mall

Post by storewanderer »

SamSpade wrote: December 14th, 2021, 12:15 am
storewanderer wrote: December 13th, 2021, 11:19 pm I must be imagining something but I thought the light rail connected to this mall, as in you could access the mall via light rail from the airport without having to go outside. Is that not the case?
Sort of. Westlake Center is fully connected to the metro tunnel mezzanine. Pacific Place has a skybridge connection to Nordstrom so that allowed a connection that way. Nordstrom has locked their Metro tunnel doors though, so you would have to briefly be at street level.

The former Macy's and Coldwater Creek (was Nordstrom before F&N move I believe?) buildings also had direct entrances into the metro tunnel mezzanine level.
That must be how I ended up there. Macy's would have still been open when I was there too but I don't recall going there that time. I must have walked through the Nordstrom. I am more than somewhat intrigued by these light rail connections between airports and downtowns in cities where the buildings have connections so you can avoid going outside (Chicago and Minneapolis are fun ones).
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Re: Pacific Place Seattle, Ghost Mall

Post by Brian Lutz »

Pacific Place has been pretty marginal for most of its existence. It was mostly occupied, but a lot of the stores had very limited appeal. Over the past couple of years they have done a major remodel to try to revitalize the property, but it seems to have had little effect. Aside from the theater there is little reason to go there, and even a lot of the restaurants have closed down now.

Meanwhile, a couple of blocks away, Westlake Center has largely moved away from being a mall, taking out its food court in favor of a Saks "Off Fifth" store. Most of the lower level is now a Nordstrom Rack, and aside from those two stores there's not much of note there now. The Nordstrom (former Frederick and Nelson) is still there and connected by a skybridge to Pacific Place, but the former Macy's (Bon Marche) is gone.

It's hard to estimate just what impact cruise passengers have on Seattle, but what probably hurts more is that a lot of people from the suburbs now consider Downtown Seattle to be unsafe and will avoid it if possible. They can get the same stores at Southcenter or Alderwood without the risk of getting mugged by a drug addict, so why bother? I used to shop there occasionally when my job was in Downtown, but since I've been working from home for nearly two years I think I've been to Downtown once. Cruises and conventions are coming back (PAX and Emerald City Comic Con did take place this year, but with reduced capacity) but it will be a while. I just got off a cruise in Fort Lauderdale, and the ship had about 1/3 of it's usual passengers even though there are no capacity restrictions in place.
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