By KATHY DAY
LYNNWOOD – Nordstrom plans to take over the closed Lamonts store at Alderwood Mall and create a larger store with new design concepts, the Seattle-based retailer announced Monday.
The move, scheduled for completion in fall 2003, will involve demolishing the former Lamonts building and building a two-story store that is one-third larger than the existing Nordstrom in the mall, said company spokeswoman Paula Weigand. Demolition and construction work will begin in fall 2001.
The new store will occupy approximately 167,000 square feet, placing it at the upper end of the company’s stores in size, she said. They range from 140,000 to 175,000 square feet.
The expansion will be part of a planned renovation and expansion of the 21-year-old Alderwood Mall, according to Alex Liftis of General Growth Properties, the mall’s Chicago-based owner. He said it is too early to give specifics.
But, he added, the company, which owns or operates 136 malls, is eyeing entertainment opportunities as well as options for another major department store. Several years ago, the mall added a food court, and it now has 150 stores and restaurants.
"Alderwood is in a great area. As Nordstrom has indicated by its move, it has consistent and loyal customers. They see an opportunity to expand and we are looking at the same thing," Liftis said.
Detailed plans for the new Nordstrom have not been completed, although Weigand said the concept will "make it easier to shop."
Recently the company realigned not only its divisions and its buyers but also its store departments. Weigand pointed to remodeling at the Bellevue and downtown Seattle Nordstrom stores, where women’s fashions were consolidated on one floor and divided into two general areas. At those stores, women’s wear is split between classic, which Weigand described as "mainstream … everyday" clothes, and modern, which she called "more contemporary."
"This is our hometown so we have some older, more established stores here and we are looking at what to do with them," Weigand said.
At the same time, the retailer plans to expand into some of the 50 top metropolitan markets where it does not have a presence. Stores set to open during the next few years include downtown Chicago, St. Louis, downtown Cincinnati, Charlotte, N.C., and Boca Raton, Fla.
Krista Haverly, retail portfolio leasing manager for CB Richard Ellis in Seattle, said the Nordstrom expansion will be a good move for the mall, which has faced increasing competition from new stores on its perimeter.
The 1 million-square-foot mall is being challenged by the nearby addition of stores like Barnes & Noble and Old Navy, which is so pleased with its success that it is looking to expand, Haverly said. They will soon be joined by Pier 1, a Talbot’s outlet and a 45,000-square-foot Best Buys electronics store, said Haverly, a Lynnwood resident.
"Consumers have gotten so they like to be able to park just outside the store," she said, noting that mall developers are having to look at new ideas such as clustering similar retailers like children’s stores together to make the shopping experience easier.
The Lamont’s chain was recently purchased by Gottshalk’s of California, but the deal didn’t include the Alderwood location.
Haverly said the combination of a "strong trade area" and tight vacancy rates have store owners and developers alike doing what Nordstrom is doing: remerchandising, or looking for new ways to attract customers.
Haverly, who represents a lot of tenants including some entering the market for the first time, said she recommends Lynnwood as the No. 3 area her clients should be in, after Seattle and Bellevue.
You can call Herald Writer Kathy Day at 425-339-3453or send e-mail to